How the Reciprocating Saw Works
By: The Working Man
The reciprocating saw is an electric or battery powered saw
that cuts through material by the push and pull motion of
the blade. This type of saw is typically used in
construction or demolition work because it can be used
easily on vertical surfaces.
Besides construction, reciprocating saws are also used for
HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work. A reciprocating saw can
cut through metal, drywall, stucco, wood, plaster,
fiberglass, masonry, and composites.
Reciprocating saws come in both corded and cordless
versions. Depending on the brand and size of the saw the
power levels vary, but most reciprocating saws with cords
will supply five to fifteen amps of power. If the job you
have to do requires lots of power you should look for saws
of 10 amps or more.
Overall power is not as good with cordless saws, but your
range of movement will be much better and easier. If you
need to do heavy-duty work but need to use a cordless
reciprocating saw, buy a model with a higher voltage. If
your job site requires cord-free sawing, have additional
battery packs on hand.
To operate a reciprocating saw you must brace whatever
material you are cutting to counter the push and pull action
of the blade. The reciprocating saw has a foot at the base
of the saw that slides across the surface as the saw works
and make it easier to grip and pull through the material you
Types of reciprocating saw blades vary widely when it comes
to size, power and features. They come in sizes from small
handheld battery powered saws to corded, high speed, and
power models. The reciprocating saw today usually comes with
the ability to turn the speed of the cutting up and down
through a trigger, a dial or lever/trigger.
A newer feature that has become important in the use of
these saws is the orbital action of the saw. The orbital
action oscillates the cut up and down perpendicular to the
motion of the cut. This causes the tip of the blade to move
in an oval pattern, back and forth and up and down. This is
primarily used to cut through wood for quick cuts.
Here are the different models of saw that fall under the
category of reciprocating saw or oscillating saw:
- Scroll saw
- Sabre Saw
- Rotary Reciprocating saw
These types of saws can also be found in surgery rooms and
dental surgery rooms where the operation would require
cutting or grinding of bones.
You can find these saws for woodworking at any general
hardware store or lumberyard. They are good for cutting
through drywall, wood and metal depending on the blade you
get for the saw. Reciprocating saws are also good for making
cuts through the middle of something in order to cut out
patterns and designs, so often these are used in
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