The reciprocating saw holds a variety of types of blades, ranging from four to twelve inches long (most are six inches long). Like a jigsaw, the blade is held only at one end and is moved back and forth by the saw’s motor, much like the action used for any number of manual saws. However, being a power tool, it moves the blade back and forth much faster than a human can, thereby cutting much faster than any manual saw. Unlike a jigsaw, it has a lot more strength and a much stronger blade.
Since the blade is located at the end of the saw, it has a very small “footprint” on whatever is being cut. So, even though the saw itself is rather large and heavy, it can fit into incredibly small spaces. Once in those spaces, it can devastate just about anything.
The combination of a small footprint, lots of power and a good assortment of blades makes this saw extremely versatile. Not only can it be sued for demolition, but for rough cutting just about anything. A few examples include:
- Cutting dead limbs off of trees (cheaper than a chainsaw)
- Cutting tree limbs into firewood (assuming you don’t have a chainsaw)
- Trimming hedges
- Cutting steel pipe for fences
- Cutting a steel drum to make a barbecue grille
One of the premium manufacturers of reciprocating saw blades has a number of videos on their website of demolition work done with their blades used in a Dewalt Sawzall. Included are videos of cutting cars in half, tanker trucks, houses and even a jet airliner. There’s really very little that can’t be cut through with this type of saw.
Another nice feature about reciprocating saws is that they plunge cut very well. If you need to cut a hole in the wall, to put in a window or doorway, you don’t have to drill a hole to start with. You can just lay out the size of the opening and start your cut with the saw. To do so, lay the foot down on the surface, with the blade horizontal to it, but not quite touching. Turn on the saw and gradually move the point of the blade into the material, until it cuts through. Once through, the foot can be rested on the surface to complete the cut.
The only limitation to a reciprocating saw is that they really don’t work well for fine, accurate cutting. This is a saw for rough cutting, there are no two ways about it. If you try and cut out the pieces for making your grandson a wooden rocking horse with it, you’re going to be severely disappointed. On the other hand, if you need to cut a 4”x 12” beam, this saw won’t have any problem.
Adding a reciprocating saw to your toolbox really can open up some new worlds of work for you. Once you have one, you’ll find more and more uses for it, especially in places where your other saws won’t work.