Toe Kick Saws - Cuts Plywood, Flooring Under Cabinets
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 (see the video) 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. Unfortunately it did not survive the job and the rest of the toe kick cutting was finished with a multifunction tool and sawsaw.
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 very thin plywood, engineered or laminate flooring. 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 (January 2015), 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 multifunction tool. Check out the video demo at the link.
View The Video
See the other job video
Transcript of the video
In previous years before all sorts of cool power tools became available this kind of project basically took hard chisel work by hand…or you could remove the cabinets. Bring on the toe kick saw, or sometimes called a flush cut saw, but don’t use a worn out blade like the one shown here. You’ll see why.
I’ll bet you can see already. At least the smoke alarm didn’t go off! This is the first time we saw this tool in action and the biggest problem was cutting all the way through the existing material, but we didn’t notice why until the film was being edited.
The first example is pretty obvious, but you know some guys that just want to crank that nifty tool up and let ‘er go. Folks it needs a flat surface to glide on. The second example shows why the cut wasn’t going all the way through. Had a piece of plywood or something similar that matched the thickness of what was being cut was laid next to it, the tool would have glided like a charm easily, making the cut necessary.
Other complications that will affect how the tool works is taking care of any obstructions before the work starts. Here some screws had to be set deeper. This tool is a life saver once all the proper preparation is out of the way shown here. Had a sharp blade and an experience operator been at the helm this area could have probably been removed in five minutes. Instead it took about 15.
If you’re up against areas with this tool that have a finished surface it’s a wise choice to protect it. Here we see blue painters tape is used to help guard against any potential scratching this tool can cause. The toe kick saw won’t get everything especially corner and other problem areas. This is where a multifunction tool comes into play.