My New Favourite Power Tool!
Introducing my new favourite thing… the Fein Multitool! I’ll admit it right now, I’m a strange girl – ask me what I want for Christmas and I’ll tell you I’d like a circular saw. But I’m nothing if not a feminist, and I love having good quality tools to hand – knowing I have exactly the right piece of kit for a particular house/garden task. I think I must get it from my Dad – which is no bad thing 🙂
So when I decided we needed a better way to chop things up in the house, I took to learning all about the different types of electric saw. Richard says I’m a Maximiser – I will scour the net for hours to find out all the pros and cons of each type of tool before I even start thinking about what brand or model I want. But as with everything about this renovation project, I had to start from the beginning, and that meant looking up definitions for circular saw, reciprocal saw and oscillating saw – most of which I’d never heard of before.
After much research, I decided that what I needed was an oscillating multi-tool. I didn’t yet need the accuracy of a circular saw (I’m not at the stage of making shelves and things yet – far from it!), and I needed something portable, which I could use to cut freehand at various angles. This would enable me to cut out sections of skirting board and holes in boarding to see what’s behind. But I also needed something strong, so I could cut through the thick kitchen worktop counters, and chop off the various bolts and screws which had rusted and permanently wedged themselves into the walls. I also liked the idea of the versatility of a multi-tool, of being able to sand, cut, scrape and polish with the same tool.
Right, easy part done, now which one do I buy?! I toyed with the Dewalt range since I have their screwdriver already and it’s lasted me about 7 years now, and I was seduced by the cheaper Bosch range. But in the end I decided we’d have lots of work for it over the coming few years, so I’d plump for the best. All the blogs and internet chat / reviews suggested that this was the Fein Multimaster, since Fein are the manufacturers of the original oscillating multi-tool, and they seem to do it well. I decided to go for the corded version because it had a long cord and I wouldn’t need to take it far from a power point (and it was much cheaper than the cordless version). When Richard’s builder uncle saw our new purchase he commented, “well you guys don’t mess about do you?!”. Enough said.
I bought the FMM350Q MultiMaster Top Kit with Accessories 240V from the UK Tool Centre for £215 (the cheapest place at the time), bagging myself £8.60 cashback through Quidco (a good way to save a bit of extra money – every little helps with so much work to do!). It arrived by post 2 days after, which made me very happy. I’ve never seen anything so well wrapped up (in layers and layers of tape), so I had a bit of a battle to get in (I now appreciate the reasoning behind Amazon’s “Frustration-Free Packaging”). But it was very well protected, and I liked the tough plastic box the kit came in. I’d ordered the Top Kit which came with various blades and attachments to get me going, which I worked out would be cheaper than buying them separately.
We dived right in with our first test – chopping through the thick wood of the kitchen counter, and into the plastic and metal trimming at its edge. It had no problem at all, slicing through like butter – which both terrified and impressed me in equal measure! The tool was noisy, but not nearly as bad as I expected – it’s the slicing through the material that makes the sound. It was very comfortable to use too and I appreciated the separate housing on the tool’s body, which reduces the vibration. This was particularly noticeable on my second test of sanding down some wood. The old Bosch sanding mouse I was given by my Dad shook my whole arms so vigorously that I couldn’t hold on to it (Note: the newer models may be better, it is several years old). But the Fein was very easy to use – the odd break to recover the blood-flow in the hands is nice, but not really necessary because its fairly smooth.
Over the past couple of days we’ve also successfully used it to cut through some metal bolts and scrape paint off wood. I’m surprised by the accuracy of the tool in both instances – it’s very easy to control once you know how. I’ve also tried sanding using the attachment for the vacuum cleaner. This essentially involves using sanding pads with big holes in and attaching the tool to a vacuum, so that the vacuum can suck the dusk that is created through the tool, reducing the amount of dust that spills into the surrounding area. This works very well, although I couldn’t get our cheap vacuum cleaner nozzle to fit properly on the Fein attachment. I’ll try it with our Dyson, once I’ve fixed it (I’ve bunged the poor thing up with dust, wood, and bits of cement, and I’m feeling very guilty for it now!).
Changing the blades is also very easy – you just snap the metal level on its head back to release the pin which holds the blade in. I find it a little hard at times (I need more muscles!), so I lean the tool on the floor when I do (switched off at the plug!), so I can get more purchase on the lever. It’s not too difficult though, and I find it reassuring because it means the blade is less likely to fall off in the middle of cutting. Once open, it’s a breeze to change the attachments over.
So, all in all, 5 stars from me… I love the Fein Multimaster and can already think of plenty more uses for it during the renovations! Now I just need a big enough tool chest to store our growing collection of tools!