The tool I want to cover in today's Toolbox Tuesday, the Fein MultiMaster, is what I like to refer to as a "wonder" tool. What I mean by using the word "wonder" is not typical of what you would normally think of. When I say "wonder," I mean:

  • Before you own it you wonder why you or anyone would possibly need this  niche tool. 
  • As you research it or stumble on it for your needs, you realize it's one of those infomercial "all in wonder" type tools. You know, the ones where the Sham-Wow guy shows you how it does 9,000 things and there's no way you can live another day without it. But it's not a cheap plastic piece of crap that will break when you use it. It's a Fein tool, which tends to have a great reputation, albeit pricey.
  • Then when you finally decide you absolutely need it, after working on project after project where you realize how handy it would be, you wonder how you can justify the cost to yourself. 
  • Then you wonder how you can possibly convince your spouse that it's not only a reasonable idea, it's a good one too. 
  • After you purchase it and use the tool for the project you needed it on, you wonder how you conducted life without it prior to ownership. 
  • Finally, once you're done with your first project, you wonder where else you can use this tool in your house, both because you need to live up to the purchase justification, and because it's simply a versatile tool. 

See? It's a "wonder" tool.

Beyond being a wonder tool, the MultiMaster is a simple variable speed oscillating multi-use tool that acts as anything from a sander of wood to cutter of metal, and everything in between. We purchased this tool about five years ago after a contractor broke a piece of our siding corner board (sore subject there and a completely incompetent contractor, but I'll fill you in on that story some other time).

After breaking it, the contractor simply tacked the broken piece of Azek board back in place and called it a day. I was furious to say the least. I had installed and perfectly caulked that board the year before, and there was no way I would be leaving it looking like crap. Can you see how horrible it is? Exposed nail heads, bad patch job with caulk, even the siding was removed and then poorly put back in place. This is "professional"? I think I'll stick with DIY.

I knew I would need to somehow cut the now jagged board's broken piece at an angle to fit a new piece below it, but I needed to do it without disturbing the siding around it, sparing the Tyvek and tar paper behind it from damage, and leaving a nice clean cut with overhang angle for the replacement piece. Unfortunately, the circular saw, plunge router, sawzall, jigsaw, and pretty much anything else I could think of would have done more harm than good on the siding.

I had been looking for a good excuse to buy an oscillating cutting tool for quite some time, and this opportunity seemed to be as good a time as any. I picked up the basic tool package with a handful of attachments and got to work.

Using one of the standard saw toothed cutting attachments, I was able to easily cut through only the board I needed, and it left a pretty good cut. I was then able to cut a new piece at with the proper angle I had cut (since you shouldn't just do a butt joint on a vertical exterior board) and attached the new piece below the corner board and called it a day.

The MultiMaster had worked great, and I had visions of all of the amazingly useful things I could do with it. Since that first project I've used the MultiMaster for dozens of other minor and major tasks throughout the house. From cutting out sections of hard wood flooring or baseboards, to sanding intricate details of furniture.

The key to this tool is the fact that it has dozens of attachments for whatever needs you have. From cutting heads to sanding disks, and grinding tools to grout removal tools, you can purchase and attach pretty much what you need for your job.

Lately I've been using the precision cut blades to allow me to get a good start on any holes I need to cut in plaster. 

This tool does a great job cutting the plaster without over vibrating the wall and crumbling adjacent plaster. Once I cut through the layer of plaster, I can remove it down to the lath.

Then I can cut away the first piece of lath with this tool. I find that after removing the first piece, it is still far easier to just use the jigsaw on the remaining pieces. The major drawback to the MultiMaster is how loud it is, and how long it can take to cut through material that's more dense. For this reason, it isn't going to be your every day cutting tool, but it is great for those instances where you need a specific cut in a very tight space.

Have you run across any needs for the MultiMaster? I know I kept seeing ads for it in various home improvement and restoration magazines that initially whet my appetite for the tool, then I just kept running into places where I could have used it. Is this a dream tool for you, or just complete overkill for the price? The jury's out for me so I'd love to hear your take on it.

Did you enjoy reading this post? Want to learn more about our first-hand experiences with other tools, devices or items used throughout our renovation? If so, check out our complete list of product reviews in our Toolbox Tuesday section

Note: We weren't compensated for this review. We simply want to share good products when we see them, and hope that learning from our mistakes can help save you time, money and frustration.

Comments 2

Comments

JC
4/3/2012 at 6:44 PM
We have the Fein Multi tool at work and I can vouch for it's durability. We use it OFTEN, and we more or less "put it through hell" like cutting through solid maple, several layers of particle board and MDF, drywall, etc.

When I bought my house, I knew I'd need one (not just want, but NEED), but I couldn't afford the price, so I originally cheaped-out and got a Mastercraft (Canadian Tire brand) cordless one, and it was a total piece of garbage. Thankfully it was under warranty and after a few months I had enough and I returned it (got store credit only).

I decided to replace it with a better one, and I had flipped through an annual tool guide and as far as price & quality, they recommended the one by Rockwell. It was 130$ (I think), and so far it seems just as tough and durable as the Fein.

This really is an absolutely fantastic tool, and as cabinetmakers, myself and coworkers just can't understand why more trades people aren't using them on site (like plumbers, electricians, and general contractors). You'd be surprised how often other workers will stare in amazement as some of the stuff we can do with it (like cut a perfectly nice receptacle hole in the back of a finished cabinet).
max1023
4/5/2012 at 12:34 PM
Being a DIY enthusiast myself I had been yearning for this tool for quite some time but couldn't justify its purchase until I bought my 1900's colonial. I have used it for making precise cuts in drywall, removing the difficult areas of a glued down cork board floor and also cutting out old faucets that seemed to be spot welded in place with rust and verdigris. I know I have barely scratched the surface of this amazing tool and look forward to putting it to use for various projects throughout the house.
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