A reciprocating saw is one of the most reliable power tools you can buy – yet they are ineffective without blades.
The blades are what cut through the material and get the job done – whether it’s for precision or power.
What types of saw blades are available for the reciprocating saw? There are almost a limitless amount of blades you can choose from, made for a variety of applications. Whether it’s wood, metal, pvc piping, bushes – from the standard blades to specialised blades – you name it, there’s a blade for it.
Your starting blade will often be a blade designed for wood cutting, a generic blade inclusive within a reciprocating saw kit.
Blade: Teeth & Design
As blades are made differently, each design – whether it’s blade composition, blade material, TPI, etc – to cut through any material, no matter how powerful or light your saw may be – you will need an effective blade to get the job done.
A blade contains teeth, which are the sharp indents on the blade. Different materials will require a different set of teeth, and like you would your own, it’s important to take care of them.
A blade’s teeth are grouped by the number of teeth per inch, TPI.
TPI ranges from 2 to 24. The higher the TPI is, the smoother but also slower your cut will be.
The lower the TPI, the faster your cut will be, however it will be rougher than a higher TPI.
A blade with a lower TPI is more suited for wood, whereas a higher TPI would be more suitable for cuts involving metal.
Reciprocating saw blades are usually found in the two following compositions, high carbon steel, and high-speed steel. The two can be mixed to create a Bi-Metal blade.
High Carbon Steel
High carbon steel is the most common blade you will find, and is also a very cost-affordable blade. It’s an extremely flexible blade, allowing for bending without breaking.
Used specifically for softer materials, such as softwoods and plastics, high carbon steel blades are also the least durable out of all blades, becoming blunt when used on hardwoods and metals.
High-speed steel blades are harder than high carbon steel and are also less flexible. This means that they are more likely to break when forced to bend, so it’s important to choose the correct blade for different material.
The sturdiness of the blade allows for cuts on hardwoods and some metals without dulling of the blade.
Bi-Metal Blades are a mix of both high-speed steel and high carbon steel blades.
Combining both durability and flexibility, these blades can last up to ten times the lifespan of a carbon steel blade. They are the blade of choice for many contractors due to their longevity, however, they’re a little pricier than the alternative blades.
If you compare the benefits of the blade, the price is well worth it, don’t you think so?
Using The Wrong Blade: What Happens
As each blade is designed for a specific application, it’s best you use this solely for that application, interchanging between blades when necessary.
Remember, safety first.
Using the incorrect blade can have many consequences, which primarily include damage to your blade. Blades can bend, often becoming broken when used at the wrong speed and on the wrong material.
This not only damages your blade and also your reciprocating saw itself, but it can also cause an accident which could prove fatal.
This is also can add up to create an expensive replacement, as many blades designed for specific applications, such as masonry and nail embedded wooden blades, are often expensive.
You should now be aware of the amount of blades available to you for cutting materials, which will increase the knowledge and also the techniques of your trade.
We’ve hammered this home in this article, yet the main reasons to pair up an application with the correct blade will benefit your quality of work, your saw and blade – and also yourself, both physically and financially.
It can never hurt to have too many blades available to use.
I’d like to hear your thoughts, though.
Perhaps you have a favorite blade you like to work with, or a specific brand in mind?
Leave your comments and thoughts below.
What are some examples of different blades and attachments I can use?
There are many to list, however here are some specific blade applications, which are just the he tip of the iceberg:
- Nail-embedded wood
- PVC piping
- Tile and clay
- Wire brush/sander attachments
Are reciprocating saw blades universal?
Yes – all reciprocating saw blades are universal, which adds to the versatility of these power tools.
From different manufacturers and designs, the reciprocating saw’s universal shank allows for all blades to be used with your model of saw.