How to Use a Reciprocating Saw on Different Materials?

How to Use a Reciprocating Saw

Whether intending to do a plunge cut or going for a large-scale construction project, you certainly need heavy-duty gadgets. When it comes to cutting, a reciprocating saw tops the list. Reciprocating saws provides the right strength and sharp edges to cut any object with a few strokes. If you are a beginner and have never used a reciprocating saw, this guide will surely help you learn how to use a reciprocating saw.

What Is Reciprocating Saw?

Before moving to its practical application, let’s have its brief overview. A reciprocating saw comes with a high grip handle and a sharp cutting blade at its distal end. This horizontal blade conveniently moves back and forth to facilitate the cutting process. Moreover, it easily cuts through different materials, irrespective of their densities. 

It is also a household tool as it executes plenty of heavy-duty tasks. Whether doing a plumbing task or building an accessory dwelling unit, it is a perfect tool for all the challenging cutting processes. Therefore, several reciprocating saw uses can help people in their construction tasks.

A Step-By-Step Guide

A reciprocating saw is designed to perform a variety of tasks conveniently. There are corded reciprocating saws and cordless reciprocating saws as per the user’s preference. From cutting a log to old cast iron, it perfectly cuts even hard-to-reach places. But before using it, you must be aware of its appropriate usage. Any slight error can have severe consequences. Here are some guidelines on its usage. 

Select the Right Blade

First and foremost, you must start by selecting the right blade. Sometimes you need a blade just to cut a metal strip. In that situation, you need a high TPI blade for a cleaner cut. There is a rule of thumb. Always ensure that the blade length is two inches longer than the material’s thickness you want to cut. Overestimating the length can result in serious harm. 

Therefore, choose the blade’s length and type depending on the material and its thickness. For instance, you need a sharp blade to cut a large log. 


The next step is assembling the blade on the reciprocating saw. For that purpose, disconnect the power supply. Afterward, adjust the blade to the designated spot by lifting the “blade release.” Depending on the feasibility, you can either place the teeth up or down. You can also remove the broken reciprocating saw blade if you are using an old gadget.


After installing the blade, you need to re-adjust the reciprocating saw. You need to adjust the shoe and orbital action to be efficient. This adjustable shoe reduces the vibration if you place it against the cutting material. For instance, if the blade gets stuck or produces unnecessary vibrations, you can adjust this spot. 

“Orbital action” intends to produce more aggressive actions. It increases the elliptical motion for a quicker action. However, not all reciprocating saw has this unique feature. 

Grasp the Saw

The next step deals with properly handling and positioning the reciprocating saw. The saw accommodates a handle for firmly holding the saw—experts advice holding the saw with both hands for a much firmer grip. Moreover, the correct position is placing a dominant hand over the other. Besides, you can also tie down the cutting material for a more efficient cut. 

Starts the Cutting process

After making all the necessary preparations, you can start the cutting process. The trigger present on the saw controls the blade’s motion. You can also adjust its back-and-forth motion through the trigger. For a more accurate cut and positioning, place the saw on the ROI. Ensure to press the shoe against the material to damp vibrations. 

Gradually, move deeper when you see a groove on the material. Meanwhile, you can also enhance the speed by slowly moving across the material. Hold firmly and keep going until you make a fine straight cut. A little advice: wait for the blade to stop before you lift it away. 


Working with a reciprocating saw is relatively easy and practical. You can easily handle the instrument without any significant training. Moreover, reciprocating saws are great for plunge cuts or heavy-duty construction work. The sharp blade penetrates through quickly to make a fine cut. Therefore, follow safety guidelines while using a reciprocating saw to execute tasks rather efficiently. 

Matt Hardy

Hi, this is Matt and I've been working in construction for over 10 years. I'm a big fan of power tools and I love nothing more than testing and reviewing them to help others make informed purchasing decisions.