A reciprocating saw is not made for constructing or finer crafting. It is used for demolition – the breaking down of materials. It is also designed for getting into those tight areas with an exposed blade and different positioning for precision angle cutting. Depending on the project and the material, there are several types of blades that are used with a reciprocal saw.
For instance, using a fine-tooth blade that resembles a hacksaw is for cutting though metal pipe and nails; a coarse blade is is used for cutting wood; a super-coarse blade for plaster; and a “toothless” blade for cutting stone – which are specially coated with a tungsten carbide abrasive grit.
You will become more familiar with what your reciprocal saw can handle as you work with it, and what you can accomplish with this saw. Once you’re more experienced, you will have more confidence in choosing a blade that will do a specific task.
You will find out that you can actually use one type of blade for several different projects, depending on how that particular blade functions. For example, you can certainly use a nail-cutting blade to work with shingles or plywood. Most reciprocal saw blades sizes range from three to 12 inches in length but the standard size is six-inches.
There are the jig-saw types that are available as well. The 12-inch blades that are useful for getting into deeper crevices or even cutting through thicker timber. Although they are tough, these blades are not indestructible. Rather, they are disposable, and should be replaced when you notice that they are getting dull and slowing down the job.
Teeth: The number of teeth per inch (TPI), combined with the gullet size – which is the depth of the space between the teeth, and the kerf – the slit made by the blade, all determines the material the blade can cut.
- Blades with a low TPI deliver faster cuts and rougher edges, ideal for wood.
- Blades with a high TPI deliver smooth, slow cuts, ideal for metal.
- The number of TPI ranges from 3-24.
- To reduce snagging, try to have at least three teeth come into contact with the material at all times.
There are three facets to a reciprocating saw blade: Length, width, and thickness.
- The longer the blade, the deeper the cut.
- Wider blades will reduce bending and wobbling.
- Heavy-duty blades are typically 7/8-inches wide and 0.062-inches thick.
- Blades that are 0.035-inches thick provide sufficient strength for standard cutting.
- Blades that are 0.05-inches thick are for enhanced stability.
- For plunge-cutting jobs, short blades with tapered backs do the best work.
With a little knowledge in the specific reciprocal saw blade types and how they function on different materials, you will be able to make an informed decision on which blade(s) will work best for your own project needs. Here’s to a great cutting experience!