Archive for Saturday, April 9, 2016

Fix-It Chick: Reciprocating saws are handy for a variety of jobs

You can literally cut a car or a house in half with a reciprocating saw

You can literally cut a car or a house in half with a reciprocating saw

April 9, 2016


Reciprocating saws are powerful tools for both homeowners and contractors alike. Given enough wherewithal you can literally cut a car or a house in half with a reciprocating saw. Using the saw properly and choosing the right blade can turn many jobs into simple tasks.

Step 1: Wear eye protection and appropriate safety gear when operating the saw. Avoid loose-fitting clothing and always maintain a solid footing.

Step 2: Check for wiring, plumbing and duct work before cutting into an existing structure.

Step 3: Reciprocating saws are powerful. If a blade gets stuck, the saw will keep moving. Hold the saw with two hands, one on the back handle and one on the front throat of the tool. Keep the blade shoe tight against the material being cut. Apply constant pressure. Use an up and down rocking motion to cut through thick material.

Step 4: Reduce the chance of getting the blade stuck by selecting the shortest blade possible for the job at hand.

Step 5: The more teeth per inch on the blade, the smoother the cut will be. Choose 6 to 12 TPI for rough wood cuts and choose 14 to 24 TPI for smooth cuts in wood, metal or plastic. Choose a variable pitch blade to cut a wide range of materials without changing blades.

Step 6: Choose a high carbon steel blade for cutting new wood, but choose a more durable bi-metal blade to cut wood embedded with nails or screws.

Step 7: A bi-metal blade will cut through most metals, but choose a carbide tip blade for cast aluminum and a diamond grit blade for cast iron.

Step 8: Choose a carbide grit blade for cutting through masonry, brick, fiberglass, plaster and tile. Choose a curved head carbide grit grout rake to quickly remove grout between tiles.

Step 9: Move outside and choose a deep tooth multidirectional cut pruning blade to make quick work of branches and green wood.

Step 10: Skip cutting altogether and choose one of many scraper blades available in several widths to remove tile, paint, carpet adhesive and a wide variety of other hard-to-remove materials.

Step 11: Choose a double truss flush cut Sawzall blade for easy cutting of door and window jambs.

Step 12: Always unplug the saw before changing blades and try installing the blade upside down when cutting in tight spots.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


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