I need to cut out some rotten house framing. It is an exterior wall with stucco attached. The challenge is in cutting through the top plates. Since I cannot cut them at the same location, I need to be able to cut each without cutting the other and without extending any tool beyond the far edge of the 2x4. My assumption in the title is that an oscillating saw is the only way but I am open to how it's otherwise done. Thanks. enter image description here

  • 2
    Multi-tools would not be my first choice for cutting 2x4s. Pictures of the space you do have to cut will help, but reciprocating saws should work with a long blade. Most blades cut length is usually shorter by an inch or two.
    – crip659
    Commented Mar 14 at 21:18
  • Imagine 2x4s that are house framing, with exterior siding attached. In particular, the top plates, which means I can't use a circular blade as I can't cut both top plates in the same location. The blade cannot go beyond the far edge of the wood. A reciprocating saw therefore can't work. Since what I'm doing -- exterior wall framing repair -- is very common, I know there must be a method.
    – drt33ts
    Commented Mar 14 at 21:27
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    You're asking an XY question. Maybe revise to ask about your actual problem and show a photo.
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 14 at 21:29
  • Thank you for the XY question comment, I hadn't known about that. I'll edit the original post.
    – drt33ts
    Commented Mar 14 at 21:52
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    How can a reciprocating saw work for this? However careful, its blade will hit up against the exterior stucco and I expect that's dangerous.
    – drt33ts
    Commented Mar 14 at 22:24

1 Answer 1


The way to cut lumber witout damaging adjacent or abutted lumber/stucco etc.. is to

  1. insert/slide a piece of metal, like a 16 gauge "4in flat blank electrical box cover", between the lumber to be cut and the adjacent members to be protected
  2. use a power tool for part of the way, staying well clear of the other members. The reciprocating saw is excellent for this.
  3. cut the rest with a a chisel, or tear it by wedging & ripping using a crow bar, You can also use an oscillating tool for this part.

Sometimes you have to cut a V-shaped notch out with the power tool, rather than just cut a slit, to make room for access with a chisel or crow bar

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