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The reciprocal saw is a powered version of the

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For larger cutting jobs, the reciprocal saw is useful because it can be used where other power tools cannot.

What Is a Reciprocal Saw

The reciprocal saw uses a reciprocating (alternating direction) motor to move a blade back and forth. It is a larger horizontal version of the electric saber saw. Blades are available for cutting wood, metal, plastic, and drywall/plaster. Weighing 6-8 pounds, the reciprocal saw typically has a second handle near the front for steadying the saw as it cuts. The 4- to 12-inch blades are inserted in the holder and held in place by the blade lock. Some reciprocating saws offer variable speed controls.

How to Safely Use a Reciprocal Saw

It is especially important to wear eye protection when operating an electric reciprocal saw. To safely use a reciprocal saw, select the blade appropriate to the job, firmly attach it in the blade holder with the blade lock, then adjust the shoe for proper height and bevel for the job. If necessary, cut a starting hole in the material and insert the blade.

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When ready to cut, plug the saw in to an electrical outlet, firmly hold the handle, align the blade near (not touching) the mark to be cut, press the safety switch, then press the trigger switch. Slowly follow the cut mark. When nearly done, make sure the end of the material being cut is held and will not splinter due to the unsupported weight. For safety, remember that the teeth are sharp and should not be placed on surfaces that they could damage.

How to Maintain a Reciprocal Saw

Reciprocal saws need periodic cleaning with an unused paintbrush or an air supply to remove sawdust. Better-quality reciprocal saw blades can be professionally sharpened as needed. Less-expensive blades are more economical to replace.

Tools Related to the Reciprocal Saw

Other useful saws include various handsaws, circular saws, and saber saws, or jigsaws. The reciprocal saw can be modified to cut several materials by selecting specialized blades.

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