I'm looking to cut through a standing pantry for an electrical box. The pantry panel is made of 3/4" plywood. I attached a proper HCS blade to an oscillating multitool (Ryobi) to start with but it's very difficult to cut through. I was able to finish the job with drilling multiple holes and hammer it through. The result is very rough with this method and I'm hoping to find a better solution. Is there a better mobile tool that could help in such cases?

  • 2
    You must be using a very dull blade or not the proper woodcutting blade. I have used the multitool in cutting out outlet holes in cabinets with no issues. Used the same types of blades to cut out sections of 2x6 treated lumber without issues. Aug 9 at 19:55

A cutout tool like the Dewalt DW660 works amazingly well for cutting out holes for things like electrical boxes. I can't remember if it comes with bits for wood, or only for drywall, but wood bits are readily available, like these ones: RotoZip SC16.

You just plunge the bit into the material and move it around the outline you want cut. Very similar to using a jigsaw, except it can make hairpin turns.

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    Great idea. Also available in cordless for those already invested in yellow & black batteries. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Aug 10 at 12:53

I'd be looking at either a reciprocating saw or a circular saw. Both come in cord and cordless models and can be rented at most home stores. If using a circular saw, set the blade to the depth of the wood you're cutting.

  • you must have a tiny tiny circular saw. Might I suggest - 3dprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/…
    – DMoore
    Aug 10 at 18:51
  • @DMoore Does it run on a AAA battery? :-).... I do have an old 4-1/2" one from back in the stone age.
    – JACK
    Aug 10 at 19:38
  • AAAAAA - I have a 3 1/2 cuttoff saw that is pretty dangerous but I bring it out for things like this or things like cutting a floor at a door threshold.
    – DMoore
    Aug 10 at 19:42
  • @DMoore A lot of my tools are from before the cordless age and were made so well that they're still good. You young folks wouldn't know about them.
    – JACK
    Aug 10 at 19:46

As noted in the comments, I'd suggest a jig saw.

You can get a fine tooth blade that should give you a reasonably nice finish on the cut (though it will cut slower) and it will be easier to control than a reciprocating saw (Sawzall™ type saw). In my experience, plunge cutting with a reciprocating saw usually gives me a bent blade (I'm sure if I had more experience, I'd do better).

Using a circular saw will work, but plunge cutting can be difficult if you're not used to it especially if you're cutting a vertical surface and cramped inside a cabinet box with little room to work and limited lighting, and by the time you've got the blade set shallow enough to not go too deep past the other side of the plywood box, you're really not going to be cutting too much of the wood (due to the arc of the blade vs the flat wood) and will probably need to finish with a jig saw anyway.

  • Second you on using circular saws for small cuts like electrical boxes, should be last choice, but better than a chainsaw.
    – crip659
    Aug 9 at 19:39

For a homeowner to get a precise cut I would use a rotary saw.

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And then a basic drywall saw to help/finish cuts at corners.

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