A Reciprocating Saw, typically known as a Recip saw or a Hognose is a hand power tool. It has a motorized blade that follows the push-pull method to cut through woods, metals, PVC, and other hard materials.
Reciprocating saw is probably the most effective tool for electricians, homeowners, plumbers, and remodelers. Milwaukee Sawzall became a trademark for their Recip saws that they manufactured in 1951.
The reciprocating saw which is a motorized hacksaw is nowadays made by many manufacturers.
Recip saws are mainly used to cut wood with nails, drywall, and pipes because no other tool can be used to do these works more precisely and easily. Like all other power tools, you must take some safety precautions.
A Step-by-Step Manual for Beginners:
This handheld tool is small in size but if you know the proper way to operate a reciprocating saw, you can get your toughest work done effortlessly. On the contrary, the rapidly moving sharp blade can injure you badly if you are unfamiliar with the operating manual of this tool. So before you harm yourself, know the operating manual today!
Choose the Right Blade:First of all, carefully select the right Reciprocating Saw blade for the right cut. Though reciprocating saw is the perfect tool to complete your cutting job, if you fail to select the right blade, the tool becomes useless. Select your blade according to the material that you are going to cut.
There are tons of blades for all-purpose/multi-purpose similar to the circular saws. It is recommended that you use the blade according to your material-specific. You have many choices, from the Milwaukee Ax & Torch blades to carbide-tipped Diablo blade and Milwaukee blades to cut thicker metals.
Put the Blade into the Chuck:While the saw is unplugged, insert the blade into the chuck. Nowadays, most of the reciprocating saws support a tool-free chuck, where a quarter to half-turns releases the blade. The blade is secured by allowing the chuck to get back to its previous position.
You must carefully tug the blade to secure it properly in the chuck. When you finish cutting use gloves as the blade becomes hot from frictions.
Beware of Accidents!Master the cut and know what’s behind it! When your attention is lying between the blade and the material, the blade is extending far beyond your attention point. Check whether the blade hits anything else except the material when it’s rapidly moving back and forth.
This is necessary when you plunge-cut through drywall where you are unable to watch behind the wall. Carefully drive the saw so that you won’t cut plumbing or any electrical wire.
Maintain the speed:Operate the saw with variable speed according to the material. You will gradually learn to use the correct speed from your intuition. Generally, you have to start cutting slowly before you open up the saw for doing the bulk work to achieve more control. Gradually slow down when the blade reaches the end edge of the cut.
Learn about the Multipurpose Shoe:Every saw has a shoe. And, remember this shoe is a friend of yours. The shoe is said to be the nose of reciprocating saw. The flat surface of the nose serves different purposes and it is more or less the basis for the craft of operating these kinds of saws.
Some shoes are adjustable to move forward/back which helps the blade to last longer. The blade works as a stabilizer for the saw as well as for the material. To reduce the vibration while cutting any material, you need to push the shoe as firmly as possible against that material you’re cutting.
A shoe also acts as a fulcrum when you need a plunge cut. The shoe can be used as a pivot point and raising the saw from the back end, you can get full control while plunging into any material.
Tips for Cutting Thicker Objects:In thicker objects use the blade slowly and move it like a see-saw. If you think the progression of cutting is slower than it should be, there must be a couple of reasons. Maybe the blade is too dull and needs to be replaced.
Or maybe you’re not relying on the saw completely to do the heavy lift. You must use the blade gently in a see-saw pattern while cutting a denser or thicker material to make faster progress as you reduce the load from the blade and the teeth of the blade can cut smaller sections while having a focus.
By following this process, you can master the art of operating a reciprocating saw, and eventually, you will be a Pro. This handy tool is really very useful and one of its kind.
Although it is a reliable tool, when you are using a reciprocating saw, it’s really important for you to observe your environment so that you can minimize or reduce the probable harm you can get by this tool.
Just learning to operate a reciprocating saw should not be your only concern. You need to be sure to operate it safely. So, what can be the potential hazards, and what can be done to avoid those?
The following safety strategy will surely increase the lifespan of your Recip saw.
Identifying Potential Hazards
First and foremost, when you finish your work with a saw, always turn off the device and unplug the cord. Make it a habit and it will prevent unnecessary injuries from happening unexpectedly. Remember, the injuries may range from damaging other materials to losing your fingers. So, beware!
When you’re using a model that is corded, it’s important that you keep the cord of the saw at a safe distance from your cutting line.
Accidental cutting of line can make the saw unusable and may cause electrocution which can lead to fire damage.
Make sure space, where you are cutting, is completely free from any kind of obstacle as they can obstruct, such as debris, live wires, and water. Carefully sweep the space and observe the area to ensure your complete safety while working with a reciprocating saw.
Moreover, if you are working in a place that is centered on electricity, make sure to switch off any circuit right before you start working. (Read this related article about Best Cordless Reciprocating Saws)
Safety Equipment that You Must Wear
The percentage of getting injured is relatively low when you are wearing all the safety equipment while working with any power tool. You must wear correct safety equipment according to your work and it must be equivalent to your work setting as well.
Hi-vis clothing is well-known as a piece of complete safety equipment that you can wear on any working site.
Some generic equipment is enlisted below:
- Safety gloves
- Dust masks
- Safety goggles
- Steel-capped boots
Correct your technique
Generally, people follow their own ways to use a reciprocating saw; some techniques are not completely safe. You can operate your Recip saw in many different but safer ways. So, let me mention a conventional way of operating a Recip saw which I follow.
Draw a line on the material:Mark a line on the material. You will cut through this line. This will help you ensure a precise cut. Use a permanent marker and tape measure.
This line will give you a visible guide, although it is not possible to use this technique in all conditions. Hold your reciprocating saw in front of you with a good grip, firmly press the shoe of the saw against the material that you are about to cut, align the blade with the marked line you just made, and keep the blade close to the line.
Move your body, not your hands!Hold your saw in a slightly downwards angle and the blade will start to cut through the material with its rapidly forward and backward movement along with the pressure you are applying. Don’t let your hand guide the saw while cutting.
Your hands are not stable enough to hold the power tool with full grip and guide it to cut an object. Rather use your whole body to guide the saw. It will give you a stable and steady cutting experience as well as precision to your cut in fatigue.
If you follow this method, you will be able to reduce fatigue that can naturally occur. It will also help you to provide even weight distribution throughout the Recip saw, the material you are going to cut, and yourself.
Every blade of Recip saw is designed for individual and specific applications. So you must interchange the blades according to the application.
Changing the blade of your Recip Saw
Remember that safety is the number one priority.
If you use an incorrect blade, you can face many consequences. You can damage your new blade. As blades are more or less bendable, using the blade in an incorrect manner can bend the blade permanently. Even the blade can break if it is not properly maintained.
And not only does it damage your blade but also your entire Recip saw. Moreover, it can cause a serious accident which can be fatal.
Nail embedded wooden blades are expensive as they are designed to serve special purposes. Failing to use an appropriate blade can raise your cost drastically.
Recip Saw maintenance after work:
Cleaning up every time:Do a regular cleanup of your saw and all other tools and accessories to increase their longevity. It also helps your devices to minimize any kind of potential damages.
Follow the procedure for using a blade:You are now familiar with the importance of using the correct blades for their individual applications. This is really important that you should follow the blade drill so that you can get your cut correctly and increase the lifespan of your blade.
Clean up the dust and debris:In case your reciprocating saw contains a brushed motor, the protective casing can be unscrewed. Remember to switch off the device in the first place and you can vacuum the dust as well as debris.
Lubes for blades:Don’t forget to lubricate your blades from time to time especially when you are cutting a metallic object. High speeds make the blades hot and thus they get damaged over time.
Lubricating regularly of your metal blades will ensure the sharpness of the blades help you to cut any material as smoothly as possible.
Some Pro Tips that you are not familiar with
- Use dull blades to cut plastic
- Protect the surface by covering up the shoe of your recipe saw
- Lubricate and extend the blades life
- For cutting flush, bend your blades longer
- For getting down close, you can flip your blade
- Setting your saw to orbital gives you a faster cut through the wood
- To cut faster, change the angle of your saw
- To extend the blade life further, adjust the shoe of your saw
- Use relatively smaller blades avoiding waggle
- You can use the framing as a guide for your blade
If you have read this article carefully, I think you have learned all the safety protocols and procedures of using a reciprocating saw.
In the end, if you are a regular user of power tools, make sure you have a safe working environment. Don’t forget about the injuries that may entail due to poor safety measures.