I own a lot of tools. And I mean a lot. But I am now faced with a project that I can’t complete because I don’t own the right tool.

In creating a new office for Sue, I have demolished a coat closet and now want to remove the sill plate (or sole plate) for the former wall in order to make a doorway to the office. But I don’t want to damage the existing floor on either side of the sill plate and don’t want to remove the entire wall. What I want to do is cut the sill plate flush to the existing stud.

I can’t figure out an easy way to do it. A standard flush cutting saw (of which I own several) won’t fit because on either side of the sole plate the floor has been raised to a finished surface. On one side is a Pergo laminate floor, on the other is ceramic tile, see photo below. I could use a chisel to cut out the sole plate, but that would take a long time, and there is a chance I could hit a nail and ding my chisel point.

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How can I remove this sill plate? Photo by George Taniwaki

I’ve seen infomercials for a tool called the Fein Multimaster that can do the job. The Multimaster is a hand-held oscillating tool that looks like a detail sander. However, it has more power and can take a variety of attachments. You can watch the video on YouTube. But it is really expensive. It’s available at Amazon for $389.00. (By comparison, my Ryobi detail sander cost about $35.)

The Multimaster will also be handy for removing the tile from the floor and for cutting out pieces of the of Pergo flooring around the new door. I’ll have to think about it before plunking down cash for yet another tool though.

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[Update1: I bought the Fein Multimaster and I use it all the time. It’s great. However, the tool is expensive at almost $400 and the replacement blades are too at $20 each. The patent just ran out in early 2009, so I expect clones to be available soon from competitors like Ryobi, Ridgid, Craftsman, etc. I haven’t seen them yet, but once they do, prices should drop.]

[Update2: I just saw an infomercial for the Rockwell Sonicrafter, available at amazon.com. It’s only $179.00, but the tool is heavier, doesn’t have variable speed control (which makes it hard to handle), and doesn’t have a quick release blade attachment (which makes it hard to switch back and forth between cutting and scraping). Bosch has a their own oscillating tool called the Multi-X, but is only available as a 12V cordless tool. It’s also available at amazon.com. Dremel (which is owned by Bosch) makes a less expensive oscillating tool called the Multi-Max, available at amazon.com for only $90.]

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