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#406 - Knockin' Down Walls

Featured Tool - Reciprocating Saw

A reciprocating saw is a heavy-duty hand held power saw that can literally cut its way through just about anything. We found it essential for some of the bigger jobs we have tackled this season. If any kind of demolition is needed during a project, the reciprocating saw is a must have! The first time I ever used one was about 12 years ago when I remodeled our kitchen - used it in removing a wall and the laminate countertops. It has quickly become one of our favorite tools, making many tough jobs much easier.

This week we used this tool to remove the wood studs in a wall that divided two closets. We also used it at the beginning of the season when cutting a hole in Angel's roof to install a tubular sky light; and to cut away the metal frame around the old window at my home where we installed a garden window. That's one of the great things about this saw; with its' many different types of blades it can cut through a variety of different materials from wood, to metal, to shingles on a roof.

Make sure you're comfortable with this tool before you start your project! You'll notice that a reciprocating saw has a great tendency to vibrate and can kick back if not handled properly. So take a couple of practice cuts on some scrap material to get a feel for the tool. Make sure that you use a strong grip, one hand holds the body, and the other holds a handle at the back and operates the trigger switch. As always with any power tool, make sure to wear your safety glasses!

The back trigger switch controls the speed of the motor. The nosepiece towards the front pivots as you move the tool. In this way it can be kept flat against the surface that is being cut. Blades are attached in the spindle and can face a variety of ways - up, down, right, or left. You lock the blade in place by screwing it into the blade clamp (most require an Allen wrench). As with many power tools, the reciprocating saw is available corded or with a battery.

There are various types of blades for cutting various types of materials. Most blades are 4 to 6 inches long. As a general rule it is best to pick the shortest, thickest blade for the material to be cut.

Some Helpful Hints…

When prepping for a cut into a wall or, in our case Angel's roof, we drilled a hole first so that the saw would have something to grasp right away. Start the saw slow … lowering the blade into the work; pivot the nosepiece until it's flat against the surface.

Once you have the hang of this tool, it becomes a valuable part of your "tool box" and can bring you into the world of more advanced do-it-yourself tools!

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