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A Generic Hand Tool: You May Use It For your Almost Every DIY Project

Updated on January 21, 2016

Various uses of reciprocating saw

Removing the backer stud

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Are you searching for a hand tool that you can used it most of your home DIY work. Have you ever thought of the uses of a reciprocating saw? If you didn’t know, this type of cutting tool can be used in quite number of projects around the home, workshop, office and other situations. As a Do-it-Yourselfer (DIYer) you may use it as follows:

1. Trimming Bottom Plates off The Door Openings

If you have ever installed a wall that comes with an opening that serves as the doorway, you must have noticed a piece of wood that runs at the bottom. This piece which usually measures 2 by 4 or 2 by 6 inches is referred to as the bottom plate and needs to be cut to ensure the doorway flashes with the floor or deck.

This is done as follows:

Step 1:

Select a good wood-cutting blade (comes with big teeth) and fit it into the recip saw with the teeth facing forwards.

Step 2:

Fairly hold the reciprocating saw with your two hands, one near the front and the other at the end next to the trigger.

Step 3:

Place the blade’s right side against the left surface/face of the jack stud or framing member. The blade’s teeth are then lightly pressed against the bottom plate’s upper surface.

Step 4:

Gently pull the trigger to start the cutting process. The harder you pull it the faster the saw will cut. However, you may experience some vibrations or erratic behavior at first-this is normal.

Step 5:

Trying rocking the saw up and down as this minimizes friction, helps clear debris, and improves the cutting speed. Continue doing this until the blade is level with the deck’s surface.

Step 6:

Repeat the same procedure on the other side.
NB: Finding the right speed and best rocking movement is a matter of trial & error and improves with experience.

2. Creating a Window Opening

usually, you will need to create a window opening from a solid surface. In this process, we start with what is known as a plunge cut. This is cutting a small hole in the middle of the wood where the blade of the reciprocating saw needs to be inserted. The following steps are essential in curving out the window:

Step 1:

Choose the right wood cutting blade which usually comes with fairly large teeth and insert it inside the saw. Don’t use fine-toothed blades as they cut rather slowly and waste energy as well as time.

Step 2:

Identify the best edge to start with. Right-handed people should begin from the window’s right side while left-handed individuals should begin from the left edge.

Step 3:

Firmly hold the reciprocating saw with both hands and place the blade on the edge of the vertical framing member (jack stud). Start from top and find the best height that is most comfortable for you.

Step 4:

Ensure the blade’s tip is nearly touching the board and is as vertical as can be, and using your left hand to gently press against the board, pull the trigger to start the cutting process.

Step 5:

After cutting through the board, raise the saw’s handle upwards for a more deeper and aggressive cut. Continue until you nearly reach the marked corner and start tilting the blade at a 90 degree angle.

Step 6:

Follow the same process on the other sides.

3. Cutting Walls

if you are thinking of demolishing a wall, then you need to think of a reciprocating saw. This tool is known for its versatility and speed. It can easily fit into tight areas where a chain or mitre saw can’t fit. Also, the reciprocating saw is more effective especially when cutting through plumbing, circuitry, or surfaces with nails or screws. The cutting process is as follows:

Step 1:

Start by removing any loose debris, furniture, and other objects. Spread a plastic cloth so as to contain the dust and minimize the mess.

Step 2:

Ensure the region to be sawed is free from plumbing, electrical wires, and other hidden objects. If not sure, call in an expert to verify.

Step 3:

Mark the areas of the wall that need to be removed using a marker pen or any other utility tool.

Step 4:

Use a sledge hammer or screwdriver to create a plunge cut on the wall.

Step 5:

Insert the right blade inside the reciprocating and start cutting from the edge of the marked region. It’s always advisable to start from top moving downwards.

Step 6:

Carry on with the process until the entire wall is down.

TIP: Always hold the reciprocating saw firmly and use the right blade since there is a possibility of hitting a nail, plumbing, screws, and other hidden objects.

4. Cutting PVC

You can quickly and effectively cut Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) using a reciprocating saw. These pipes are found in many areas of the home and office and come in form of pipes, decking boards, and other products. The following are the main steps to cutting PVC-

Step 1:

Choose the right blade. The right blade for cutting PVC should have 10 teeth per inch. This isn’t too fine or too course. Very fine blades get clogged up with plastic chippings while very course blades shatter or chip the edges.

Step 2:

Ensure the PVC is properly secured so as to minimize vibrations. If cutting on a bench, use clamps to hold it firmly. It also pays to maintain a firm foothold especially if you are cutting pipes inside walls.

Step 3:

Fit the blade inside the saw making sure it is facing forward. Hold it firmly with one hand near the front and the other near the trigger.

Step 4:

Place the saw on the targeted area and pull the trigger. Always start slowly and once you have made a cut you can increase the speed.

TIP: Cutting PVC produces lots of flying debris and it’s important to protect your eyes, mouth, and nostrils by wearing face masks and goggles.

5. Sawing a Post

you may need to remove or cut off a wooden post which is 4 by 4 or 4 by 6 in length. Rather than using a handsaw, chain saw, or miter saw, you may opt to choose a reciprocating saw. It is more user-friendly, versatile, and doesn’t require lots of experience. Follow the steps below to achieve good results:

Step 1:

Start by marking lines on the post and always make sure you use the right blade which in our case is a wood-cutting blade.

Tip: Measure twice, cut once.

Step 2:

Firmly hold the saw with both hands and place the saw’s blade on the edge of the cut some few millimeters above the markings.

Step 3:

Apply some pressure and pull the trigger while ensuring the cut is following the markings. You can correct this as you move along.

Step 4:

When you reach the mark, gently rotate the saw till the blade lies horizontally to the face being cut.

Step 5:

Use a rocking motion to speed up the process and also reduce friction or chances of the saw binding while cutting. You also need to keep an eye on the blade since there are high chances of missing the marked lines.

If you are also planning about HVAC career this tool will help you a lot. A reciprocating saw is a very versatile cutting tool and comes handy in not only the above but many other situations as well. It is also seen as much safer and more effective tool compared to a chain, mitre, circular, or any other tools. You will find cordless system of reciprocating saw as well. Nonetheless, it is paramount to observe safety when using the recip saw. You need to remove any obstacles, wear protective gear, and also avoid being too aggressive.

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      Evan Taylor 20 months ago

      Thanks! I know the usage of Reciprocating saw a little bit . It is not perfect for all job u have shown above but you can do with it. Thanks for sharing the last photo that's showing the different use of recip saw.