Power tools are fun. Power tools that can destroy a piece of lumber in seconds are even more fun. With this sentiment in mind, Functional Rustic is proud to present this week’s DIY Tutorial teaching you the basics of a reciprocating saw and how to safely use a reciprocating saw to break apart a wooden shipping pallet.
The reciprocating saw is a small yet powerful tool that will make quick work of any boards that need to be rough cut. In addition to being effective it is also fairly straight forward to work with.
There are three main parts to a reciprocating saw.
3 Main Parts of Reciprocating Saw
1. Saw Blade
There are different sizes and uses for reciprocating saw blades. Some saw blades are intended for metal while others are better for wood. Also, you will find that the blades come in various sizes. Use which ever blade is most appropriate for your project.
You many notice that my saw blade is silver and white. When new, the blade was white. However, the paint wears away the more it is used and that is why my blade has two colors.
When I first started cutting pallet wood with the reciprocating saw I used the longer saw blade. The blade became bent and unusable – I suspect that my body movements in reaction to the force of the saw caused the longer blade to bend. For that reason, I plan to only use the longer blades for thicker pieces of wood instead of on the thinner pallet boards.
The typical reciprocating saw uses an 18.0 volt battery or has a power cord attached. Battery operated saws allow for more mobility than the corded saw but have a limited supply of energy and need to be recharged often. My battery usually dies after a couple pallets so if I am breaking down more than two or three pallets than I need back up batteries. Fortunately it was not difficult to find multi-pack replacements online.
Once I learned how to attach and remove the 18.0 volt battery using the saw was quick and easy. Before I was taught how to do it though, I had quite a bit of awkward fumbling.
First, not all batteries look the same. The ones I have pictured have two different colors which make finding the release buttons easy. The first battery I encountered was solid black and the button was not as obvious.
Second, not all 18.0 volt batteries are the same size. In fact, the replacement batteries I have shown are rather large and awkward to handle with my hand size – perfectly normal hand size – compared to the original Ryobi batter that came with the saw.
The black portion of the battery is the bottom and the yellow part is what is inserted into the saw. Inserting the battery simply involves putting the yellow part into the battery hole in the bottom of the saw.
To remove the battery from the saw you need to press both of the release buttons on the battery and pull the battery out of the saw. The release buttons are yellow on my batteries. As pictured above, to remove the battery I squeeze both the yellow buttons while also pulling up on the battery.
There are five components of the reciprocating saw that you need to be familiar with in order to use it.
5 Reciprocating Saw Components
1. The Battery Location
The battery is inserted into the bottom of the saw handle. There will be a hole for the 18.0 Volt battery to plug in.
2. The Power Button
The power button is located on the handle of the reciprocating saw. To turn the saw on and move the blade you squeeze the button. The harder you squeeze the button the faster the saw cuts.
3. The lock button
The lock button is an important safety precaution. This button slides back and forth and allows you to lock the blade in place. For safety reasons it is always recommended that the saw be locked when not in use. The button is located on the top of the saw and slides right and left.
The picture above shows a saw that is locked as demonstrated by the closed lock icon. When the button is moved to the right the saw becomes unlocked as show by the open lock icon as demonstrated below.
4. Saw Blade Release
The saw blade is attached to the reciprocating saw with a saw blade release located toward the front of the saw.
As pictured above, when the saw blade release is folded upward the lock is open and the blade can be inserted or removed. As pictured below, when the saw blade release is closed the blade is securely attached to the saw.
5. Saw Blade Location
The saw blade is inserted into the front of the saw. Only when the saw blade release is open can the blade be successfully inserted. The part of the blade that has a hole in it is inserted into front of the reciprocating saw. The teeth, or sharp edges of the saw, should be facing downward. Once the saw blade is properly inserted into the hole the saw blade release can be closed to lock it in place.
In addition to knowing about your saw it is also important to practice basic safety anytime you are working with power tools.
1. Wear protective eyewear to keep your eyes safe from flying debris.
2. Avoid baggy clothing so it does not interfere with power tool usage.
3. Wear work gloves to ensure a firm grip on the machinery.
4. If saw dust will be developing than be sure to wear breathing masks.
5. Always cut away from your body to minimize risk of injury.
Now that you know the basics of how the Reciprocating Saw works watch the video below to see how I use it to cut a wooden shipping pallet.
Use the comment section below to provide your feedback.
Written by: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic
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