The spiral saw is a specialized tool--it's basically a router with a 1/8
inch collet. Trouble is that between the wobbly base and lack of any kind
of precise depth adjustment it's a lousy router. If you need to cut drywall
or plaster that's on the wall it's your tool, no question, because you can
set it to go through the plaster without chewing up the studs or grabbing
any wiring that's in the wall. But that's it's only real strength.
Since it does have a 1/8 collet it will take Dremel bits, so if you ever
need Moby Dremel it will do the job but so will a ten buck die grinder from
Harbor Fright (if you have a compressor).
For the tasks described it wouldn't be the best option IMO. With the
standard bits it does OK on plaster and drywall but it's horribly slow on
wood thicker than 1/8" or so and doesn't give a smooth cut either. Most of
the rotary saws will take a 1/4" shank router bit and have enough power to
swing one if it's not too big-with one of those it will zip right through
wood but the base is really too narrow to get a good vertical cut and it
tends to march to its own drummer unless you have good jigs constraining its
For what was described, I'd likely use either a jigsaw or a Fein Multimaster
depending on what was behind it and how close it was to obstacles. The
Multimaster is near its depth limit at 1-1/8 (blade geometry limitation, not
power) but it will do it--if I had to get only one tool for what was
described, and not having eyeballed the situation, the Multimaster would
likely be it.
I've not used the Rockwell that nailshooter mentioned--if it had been out
when I got my Multimaster I would likely have given it a good hard look
though. The oscillating tools are the opposite end of the utility scale
from the rotary tools--they have so many tricks they can do that you wonder
how you got along without them.
A consideration though--the blades for all the oscillating tools are fairly
expensive--if one is using it heavily then it's going to be cheaper to get a
jigsaw for the grunt work than it is to keep using up 20-40 buck blades, and
reserve the oscillating tool for the jobs where its unique talents are
Yes. I have a crosscut saw. I figure the jigsaw is gonna be the best
choice, as I need to cut a radiused leg hangover cutout, like on a boat
berth, in the 1-1/8" particle board. The roto-zip doesn't seem to be
getting a good rap, but I see one of those multi-tools down the road. The
sanding option really looks handy.
Thank you all who provided valuble information on this. I'll be lurking
about for more great info.
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