Toe Kick Saws
Toe kick saws are not a required tool. However they work ideally if existing flooring or plywood being removed runs under cabinets or drywall. Additionally, toe kick saws are used for underlayment removal often found in kitchens that may have vinyl floors installed above. The saw will cut flush up the walls or baseboard on a 90 degree angle. Maximum clearance of this tool under toe kicks is 3 1/2 inches combined with a maximum cut depth of 3/4 inch.
In earlier days the only solutions for removal that this wonderful power tool provides, was either removal of cabinets or painstaking hammering and chiseling to remove the underlayment. Now if they just invented a tool to remove staples in one quick flash!
Serious Safety Concerns For Amateurs
This is not a tool to be taken lightly. Kick back can occur if you don't have a firm grasp or are unfamiliar with it's capabilities Our suggestion would be to experiment with it at first and always pay heed to tool safety. On the other hand, we recommend having a professional handle this kind of work more than anything.
Our Test On The Habor Freight Tool
We checked out a solid ¾ inch oak floor removal in May of 2014 to see how the Harbor Freight toe kick saw measured up. The saw performed very slowly even while using a brand new carbide blade. It also cannot work non stop, otherwise it will probably burn out the motor. On this job there was about 40 lineal feet in cutting around cabinets. The saw needed a rest every ten feet or so.
At $ 70.00 you may be one of the luckier ones to get this tool to perform as expected. It may work well for cutting thin engineered flooring or thin plywood. However, it does not compare to the industry work horse manufactured by Crain. Crain has a 2 ½ horsepower motor while the HF only one. Neither tool has an adjustable cutting depth.
Can They Be Rented?
In our latest check (May 2014), finding a place to rent these great gizmos will require some in depth research as they are a tool with limited visibility nor do people know they exist. There are some smaller rental companies offering the Crain at about $35.00 per day, but no big box stores.
From Our Readers:
Tool For Cutting Tile Under Cabinets
Question: I'm trying to take out the tile in our kitchen and want to make a nice clean cut at the cabinets so I can install some wood flooring. The tile was installed over the whole floor before the cabinets were put in. I've looked at your toe kick saw, but can't find the proper blade to cut ceramic tile. Any help?
Reply: I've seen some new products come on stream for this purpose. Crain has just added a special diamond blade that works on their saw shown above. I wish that beauty was available when I was an active installer! Sure makes for a nice clean cut around the cabinets. Before it was always a hammer and chisel, a problem existed if you took too much tile from underneath the cabinets. The cabinets could sag. This method leaves the tile alone.
Cutting Out Underlayment In Corners
Question: The toe kick saw works great for ripping out old underlayment except for the zillions of staples the guys put in the floor. What's the best method for cutting into the corners?
Reply: It's either hand chiseling or if you want to add another cool tool to the toolbox try the Fein Multimaster or any other multifunction tool. Check out the video demo at the link.