A reciprocating saw, also known as a sawzall, is a very handy tool to have around. Unlike saws with blades that rotate, the reciprocating saw has a blade that cuts by moving back and forth. It is ideal for cutting drywall, wood, metals, tubing, plaster, and other similar objects and substances. It is most often used in construction, electrical, and plumbing applications, but is useful for a wide variety of DIY tasks.
As with any power tool, there are many safety issues to keep in mind when using a reciprocating saw. There are also some handy things to know that will make it easier to get your job done. Here are some tips and tricks for properly using a reciprocating saw.
Always wear safety glasses when using a reciprocating saw. There is a chance that small particles of the material you are cutting could fly up and become embedded in your eyes, casing pain, discomfort, and possibly do permanent damage. Even of you wear eyeglasses, you should wear safety glasses over top of them, as most prescription glasses to not provide adequate protection to the entire eye area.
Always keep a firm grip on the saw. There is a possibility of kickback, where the saw will try to jerk backward. This often happens when cutting harder materials, and if you are unprepared to keep the saw under control, this could cause injury.
Most reciprocating saws are variable speed; the harder you squeeze the trigger, the faster the blade will move. Some models may have a lock on the trigger to keep it on for prolonged use.
Before beginning your cut, make sure you have the trigger squeezed tightly so that the blade is moving at maximum speed. Prolonged use at slow speeds has the potential to damage your blade or worse, the saw itself!
Different materials should be cut using different blades designed specifically for that material. Read the packaging on your blades carefully and make sure you are purchasing the right one for the job. If you are cutting multiple types of material, you may have to buy more than one blade!
Always make sure you have stable, secure footing before you start to cut. Keep your feet spread to shoulder width for maximum balance and stability.
When cutting wood, anchor the piece of wood firmly in place. Rest the cutting edge of the blade lightly against the edge of the wood and allow the blade to reach maximum speed before applying pressure to make a cut.
Do not remove the blade guard on your saw! This safety feature is designed to keep you from losing fingers or having other unfortunate accidents, and removing it is not a good idea under any circumstance!
When changing the blade on your reciprocating saw, make sure that the unit is turned off as well as unplugged, If it is a battery operated saw, remove the battery pack.
Make sure that you only use blades designed specifically to fit your model of saw. Using the wrong blades can cause damage to the saw and can also increase the risk of injury.
Taking a few safety precautions will help ensure that your project is completed on time and according to plan, without any emergency visits to the hospital!