• Reciprocating Saws: Do You Need One?

    Ridgid Reciprocating SawThe reciprocating saw is one of those tools the DIY home renovator doesn’t usually buy right off the bat, but I think they should. The reciprocating saw is a tool that has many practical uses around the home. These tools cut pipe (pvc, emt, galvanized and copper), wood, tree limbs, tree roots, nail embedded wood, like fences, etc. They will do a good job on plaster and lath (either metal or wire lath), although this does eat up blades. You’ll buy a reciprocating saw for one specific purpose, and then find yourself finding other uses for it.

    The most important thing to keep in mind when using a reciprocating saw is utilizing the correct blade. There are blades for metals and blades for woods, and it is generally not a good idea to mix them up.

    A reciprocating saw is a powerful hand-held electric saw. It must be held with 2 hands. The blade can be inserted into tight spaces and used in much the same way as a jigsaw. Its foot does not need to be resting on the material in order for it to work.

    Some features worth looking for are:

    1. Variable speeds are well worth having, since this allows an appropriate cutting speed to be selected for the material in question.
    2. A “tool free” blade change mechanism is also highly desirable (budget saws tend to require an Allen key for blade changes).
    3. A cordless version is ideal for helping you get into places the other saws cannot reach.

    Important Safety Tips:

    • Before operating your reciprocating saw, take a few minutes to read the owner’s manual. Familiarize yourself with hazards and recommended operational procedures.
    • Do not remove the blade guard with which your unit is equipped.
    • Hold the saw only by the provided gripping areas. Grabbing it by the front metal parts can result in electrical shock if you accidentally cut into live electrical wires when sawing into walls or floors.
    • If the handle of the unit is cracked or broken, don’t use it. Electrical shock could occur if you touched anything metal that is grounded.
    • Do not use if you or the reciprocal saw are wet or while standing on a damp or wet surface.
    • Always wear safety glasses and earplugs.
    • Keep children and pets away from all power tools.
    • Protect the cord. Keep it away from heat, and don’t yank on it to disconnect it from an outlet.
    • When not in use, disconnect from power source.
    • Ensure the switch is turned off before you turn the tool on. Don’t carry it with your finger on the switch trigger.
    • Keep your hands away. Do not reach under your work while the blade is moving.
    • Do not use the unit if the cord shows any sign of damage. Maintain a safe distance at all times between the cord and the machine when you’re operating it.
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