What does a reciprocating saw do? (Reciprocating saw uses)

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It’s one of the popular saws but what does a reciprocating saw do exactly?

There are plenty of ways in which you can put a reciprocating saw to use, thanks to its innovative design.

Read about what this unique type of saw can do and a couple of jobs it cannot do below.

You will also learn why this is one of the handiest tools to have in your workshop.

Perhaps I should explain what really a reciprocating saw is before getting into its abilities and limitations.

What is a reciprocating saw (hognose, Sawzall, or simply a recip saw)?

A reciprocating saw is nothing else but a powered saw used commonly in construction projects and demolition jobs.

What differentiates this increasingly popular type of saw is the push-and-pull motion or strokes (hence the use of the term reciprocating) made by the blade when cutting through materials.

A world of blades is available for this fantastic tool –both toothed and abrasive blades- so it cuts just about everything you can think of – some even like calling it a demolition saw!.

Something else:  The blade is typically exposed meaning that you can easily direct it into spaces other saws struggle to reach.

Plus, the high-end reciprocal models have a sea of lovely features including an ability to select the cutting speed.

I know you’re anxious about its jobs so let’s proceed to its recommended applications..

What does a reciprocating saw do?

So here is what a reciprocating saw does…

  • Pruning jobs

You can use your reciprocating saw to cut overgrown trees and flowers and trim them beautifully too.

First, the saw is extremely portable- they’re built lightweight and easy to carry – so you can bring it to every corner of the yard.

Perhaps the key reason users find it great for tree and flower pruning is its toothed specialty blades (with deep gullets) which let it saw branches brilliantly while leaving precise cuts behind.


  • Can be handy for decoration purposes

Instead of throwing away those unused small wooden pieces, you can shape and trim them into decorative timber works with a reciprocating saw.

All you need is to employ a bit of creativity to make absolutely gorgeous pieces of decoration for your sitting room or home office.


  • Used for roof repair projects.

Reciprocating saw can also be ideal when repairing worn out shingled roofs – it slices through old composition shingles with ease due to the design of the blade teeth.

Indeed, some blades have super sharp flex-shaft-ground teeth for faster cutting and are exceedingly easy to cut shingles with.

Besides, the performance-optimized geometry in some blades make life easy for you when repairing roofs.


  • Plumbing work

In addition, you can use this saw when doing your piping work if you’re a plumber or just a passionate homeowner who prefer DIY stuff.

The secret is once again having the right reciprocating saw blade.

Take for example this wonderful blade set with patented tooth technology which not only enables it to cut cast iron and heavy metals fast but also ensures the blades don’t bend or break when sawing such tough metals.

You now understand why most plumbers will never miss a reciprocating saw in their toolboxes.

  • Use it for electrical works

Reciprocating saws have been indispensable for electricians for generations and are excellent for routine tasks such as cutting conduits, cable tray, etc.

Blades are provided for cutting all these.

Then, you can operate with one hand leaving the other free to hold the pipe or conduit for accurate cutting.


  • It useful when fitting windows and door frames

Still, you can use these types of saws when removing and fitting windows and door frames.

It cuts and rips out the excess materials around doors and windows while cutting relatively cleanly.

Of course, the blades make mincemeat of the screws and nails in walls, frames, or fixings making the job less tedious.

  • It used by emergency rescue operators (reciprocating saw cordless)

Cordless type reciprocating saws are the tool preferred by firefighters and law enforcement personnel when looking to cut their way through enclosed spaces to save lives or fight fires.

Emergency rescue services also favor them when extricating occupants from crashed vehicles and applications such as HVAC duct cutting, wall panel breaching, and many more.

The biggest attraction is how fast they’re able to cut through the obstacles to gain access.

Tip: The cordless bias for rescue missions is because there is no cord to hinder the operation at remote/confined locations.


Comparison with other saws

1.   Reciprocating saw vs jigsaw saw

Some craftsmen are unable to select between reciprocating saws and a jigsaw.

Here is what you should know:

Jigsaws are a better fit for lighter materials because of their design and mode of operation while reciprocating saws are tougher and best for a vast number of jobs including demolition works.

2.   Reciprocating saw vs circular saw

The other saw that brings a bit of confusion when a reciprocating saw is discussed is a circular saw.

And again it doesn’t come anywhere near a recip saw in terms of applications despite being okay for some heavy-duty tasks.

In a nutshell, you’ll find it more satisfactory in carpentry and general woodworking projects while the reciprocal saw is outstanding for more taxing renovation and demolition duties.

What does a reciprocating saw do: Conclusion

So, what does a reciprocating saw do again?

Summarized answer: The cutting style of a reciprocating saw makes it useful for an avalanche of functions.

Indeed, you could use it to sand holes and cutting out sill plates to add to what we have highlighted above.

All you have to do is fix the right blade and it will be all set for whatever you throw at it.

For example, it’s wise to use a fine-tooth blade for cutting metals and nails, a coarse blade for wood, coarsest-tooth blades for plaster, and toothless blades (added with tungsten carbide grit) for stone, ceramic tiles, or cast iron.




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