A friend told me about an oscillating blade tool he used to undercut his living room baseboard so that he could slide new flooring boards underneath rather than pull the baseboards and have to deal with all the re-nailing, patching and painting.This tool is so new that it hasn’t yet earned a nifty name like “sawzall” or “circular saw”, and is simply called “Oscillating Tool”. They can be rather pricey and I held off on purchasing until I saw the Master Mechanic 129315 2.5-Amp Oscillating Tool with Tote Bag and 34-Piece Accessory Kit on sale for $47.49 at Amazon.com, (sometimes less, with Amazon Promotional Codes). The day it arrived it helped me made quick work of removing “brick mold” window trim. I simply pried the boards out 1/6″ from the sheathing , cut the nails with the metal oscillating blade and pulled the window out without having to remove the casings.

On a bathroom tile job yesterday I used the oscillating tool to cut out the bottom 3/8″ of drywall so I could slide the tiles underneath, as shown in the photo above. The other reservation I had about picking up this tool was the exorbitant prices I’ve seen for the blades. The Master Mechanic oscillating tool comes with a nice tote bag full of blades,but just like a sawzall, you’ll go through blades when you discover how handy this tool is. Metal-cutting blades wear quickly, especially if you hit a hardened sheetrock screw. There are a lot of mounting systems but Versa-Tool makes quality universal oscillating tool blades that fit most systems including the Master Mechanic model. At $39.95, the price for the 1-3/8-Inch Wood Cutting Universal Oscillating Saw Blade 10 Pack, and Bi-Metal Universal Oscillating Saw Blade 10 Pack is what you would pay for just a couple of these blades at the big box stores.

Update: I used the Master Mechanic oscillating tool to undercut about 20 ft.of baseboard so that I could slip new oak flooring underneath it.  This took over an hour, and left my hands tingling the rest of the day. The tool also quit running shortly afterward, but I was able to find a loose wire connecting to the field coil.  It’s running well again, and I still recommend the oscillating tool, though perhaps a better brand if you have the $$.

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