You may have heard of a saber saw, a recipro saw or even the brand name “Sawzall”, but those terms all mean the same thing: Reciprocating saw.
A reciprocating saw is a hand-held power saw, and in some ways, it’s a portable jigsaw. The body of the saw resembles any other power tool, and the tool has a comfortable grip for working on vertical surfaces. There is a foot at the base of the saw blade to help keep the blade steady and deter it from kicking back while you cut.
What is a Reciprocating Saw used for?
Reciprocating saws are great for sawing through walls of sheetrock or anything else you want to tear down, and are thus mostly used in demolition. Reciprocating saws are also used in the medical field, as surgeons may use them for cutting through bone.
Some Tips for Using a Reciprocating Saw
These type of saws aren’t good for fine, detailed work. The reciprocating saw is helpful to pare down larger pieces of material to smaller, more manageable sizes. Consider it the workhorse of the workshop.
What makes this saw so versatile is that it can be used at any angle; even upside down as you hold it over your head to reach those tough spots no other saw can get into.
As with any other power tool, reciprocating saws come with or without a cord and in a range of size and strength. Not only can the reciprocating saw be used on wood and sheetrock, you can use it to cut through tree limbs, PVC, metal pipes and tile, depending on what type of blade you buy.
While there are general-purpose blades on the market, abrasive blades are used for cutting tile and those with finer teeth are used for cutting metal.
One very important bit of advice to remember when working with your reciprocating saw on demolition projects: think before you cut. Your saw can easily slice through pipes and wires, so before you chop apart a wall between the guest room and the kitchen, make sure you know what’s hidden in between the layers of sheetrock!
Before You Buy
Before you buy your reciprocating saw, consider the amount of abuse you will put this tool through. It often doesn’t pay to buy a cheaper model. You want a brand that’s going to be reliable and last through all your projects, no matter how difficult.
Most reciprocal saws offer variable speeds from 0 to 2,400 strokes per minute, and the speed you need depends on the type of material you will be cutting. The best choice is to purchase a saw that offers options for you to switch to the speed you want or need for the type of job you’re undertaking.
Image by Wil