I like cutting stuff off walls
June 28, 2008 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Home Improvement Filter: why is it so hard to find an offset tool to remove stuff that is mounted on the wall? What do you use for that purpose?

example: A while back I mounted my wifi router on the wall so the ethernet jacks would be easily accessible next to my desk. I used a whole bunch of extra strength foam sticky pads. When I had to move apartments, it took me forever to get the wifi router off the wall (that is, without ripping off half the wall plaster with it). All I needed was an offset saw or offset knife (like a spatula; the spatula was too dull so I needed a knife or saw, but offset like a spatula. I even tried a frosting spreading knife which was again too dull though had a nice offset).

This problem has come up often enough in my life (what can I say-- I like affixing things to walls) that I went looking for an offset kninfe or saw. To my amazement, in this age of home depots and tools for every imaginable thing, I simply could not find the tool I envisioned.

The tool I envisioned is:
--a simple knife or high-teeth-count saw
--offset like a spatula or frosting spreading knife
--no more than $15 or so (ie, something reasonable that one would expect to pay for a very simple knife or hand saw)

I imagine such a tool would have a dozen other common uses, anywhere something flat is attached onto something else flat and needs to be either cut or sawed off. Floorboards, tiles, door and window framing, or whatever.

So does a tool like that exist? Am I using the wrong keywords? Thanks
posted by jak68 to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
Could you just use a knife sharpener to sharpen the spatula or frosting knife?
posted by winston at 8:23 PM on June 28, 2008

I believe this is what you want.
posted by phunniemee at 8:26 PM on June 28, 2008

In fact, what you seek is called an "offset saw"—just as you imagine. Here's one.
posted by adamrice at 8:26 PM on June 28, 2008

(It's called a reversible dovetail saw, for future searching.)
posted by phunniemee at 8:27 PM on June 28, 2008

When I need to get something flat off of something else flat, and may need to dig my way in, I pull my Putty Knife out.
posted by phredgreen at 8:28 PM on June 28, 2008

Offset saw from Rockler Woodworking.

Or... Perhaps try a replacement blade from a coping saw or hacksaw (hacked!) bent into the desired offset with tape wrapped as a handle?
posted by bonobo at 8:31 PM on June 28, 2008

I use a fully extended snap off box cutter for this purpose at work and a 4" flexible putty knife that I sharpened the edge on at home.
posted by Mitheral at 8:50 PM on June 28, 2008

Your nearby decent hardware store should have a nice selection of putty knives and scrapers; they vary a lot in width and flexibility, because sometimes you want to be able to work it in under something, and other times you need a stiff blade for scraping. For $15 you should be able to buy at least three, if not more, to get a variety for your future scraping needs.

I have two different offset saws, and neither is well-suited for removing adhesive or tiles, though they are great for cutting wood flush with a surface.
posted by Forktine at 9:06 PM on June 28, 2008

Response by poster: winston: re: sharpening a frosting knife or spatula, thats a thought though it would involve extra work on my part ;) I'm hoping to part with $15 and be done with it.

phunniemee/adamrice re: an "reversible/offset dove tail saw", Hmmmmmm. Its the right idea, though its a little big in size, also since its single-edged i wouldnt be able to 'cut through' all the way, but definitely the right idea and the price is in the right range. Searching on that though brought me to this, a "flush cut dowel saw" which isnt offset but has a highly flexible blade made to cut things flush, and is double sided and would allow 'cut through'. Its also about the right size and price (tho i'd prefer an offset to a flex blade, it might do the trick too).

phredgreen: re: putty knife -- never thought of that; my only concern here would be whether or not it would be sharp enough. I could check one out at the hardware store. If its sharper than a spatula it might work.

bonobo: re: a coping saw blade, I dont doubt I'd cope my finger right off! ;)

Thanks for the ideas, all. I think the flexible dowel saw might do the trick, with the offset reversible dovetail saw and the putty knife on standby as backups. ;)

yay, the borg-mind comes thru again! I cant wait till we're all wired thru the network via cybernetic means.
posted by jak68 at 9:16 PM on June 28, 2008

Well, the thing with reversibility is that it has the capability to cut from both sides...
posted by phunniemee at 9:21 PM on June 28, 2008

Response by poster: (phunniemee - I meant I wouldnt be able to pass it under something all the way from one side to the other because the handle/edge gets in the way, its reversible but its a one-sided blade with a thick end on the other side of the blade).
posted by jak68 at 9:32 PM on June 28, 2008

The best post-and-beam builders I ever saw used a flexible Japanese saw (similar) to flush cut the trunnels in their constructions. The blade bends so you can press it against the wall (or beam) while cutting.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:42 PM on June 28, 2008

Hacksaw handle. Cost is two bucks. The flexible hacksaw blade extends beyond the handle and can slip behind whatever you need to slice through.
posted by JackFlash at 11:03 PM on June 28, 2008

For slicing through foam tape try a long piece of dental floss. Just slip it behind the router or picture and move it back and forth.
posted by tronec at 12:35 AM on June 29, 2008

Response by poster: troniec, never even thought of dental floss- I believe that would probably work pretty well! Great idea.
posted by jak68 at 11:49 AM on June 29, 2008

Seconding, thirding, whatever the Japanese flush-cut saw. This is one thing that they're for -- they have flexible blades that will allow you to "offset" them however much you want.
posted by delfuego at 12:09 PM on June 29, 2008

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