Sometimes I see a project and think: “There must be a better tool for this.”  Let me introduce you to a toe kick saw.

For this recent project in Bloomington, Indiana I needed to cut the laminate flooring that was installed under the cabinetry.  I wanted to cut it right next to the cabinets, and not damage the cabinets in the process.  After a little research I found the toe kick saw and knew I needed one for myself.

I bought a used one on Ebay because I knew I wouldn’t need it very often and the person I was buying it from had bought it for one project and no longer needed it.  Why buy it new?  Of course, there are more heavy duty versions of this tool out there if you are a contractor that needs it a lot.

Anyway, the tool is basically a small circular saw, except the blade is small and sticks out a few inches on a ‘neck’ that allows it to reach under the cabinets.  As many of the reviews will tell you, it can have a lot of kick back so you want to keep both hands on it and try to cut in a straight line.  If you twist a little, it will spring up quickly and potentially hurt something.

It cuts at 3/4″ deep and mine wasn’t adjustable.  To cut only 3/8″ deep (for laminate flooring) I rested the saw on a piece of 3/8″ plywood as I was cutting.  That worked great.

Since it has a circular blade it won’t be able to cut all the way into the corners, but it takes care of most of the work.  I just needed my Rockwell SoniCrafter (oscillating multitool) to cut the flooring in the corners.  I’ve read about guys that just use a reciprocal saw to do all of this, but I don’t think it will give you as nice of a cut or be nearly as fast.