How To Use a Reciprocating Saw To Cut Wood (Technique)

Last Updated on December 8, 2023 by Web Operator

A reciprocating saw is one of the most handy power tools you can have within your kit.

Powerful and built for cutting through a variety of materials, reciprocating saws allow you to get the job done efficiently.

So, how do you use a reciprocating saw to cut wood?

Switch your reciprocating saw on, allowing it to reach a maximum speed after a few seconds. If you have a variable speed dial/trigger, utilize these features. Next, you’ll need to press the shoe against the wood and begin cutting through the wood, applying pressure as you angle it in the direction you choose.

cutting wood with a reciprocating saw

Reciprocating Saw

If you don’t have a saw, you can’t make a cut!

There are a number of reciprocating saws available, with affordability options across all classes.

A reciprocating saw can last a number of years with the proper care and maintenance, like all things – so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have a durable tool with an impressive lifespan.

If you’re cutting different materials, the only thing you’ll need is a change of blades.

This is one of the most important things to keep in mind.

Reciprocating Saw Blade Type

cutting with a reciprocating saw firewood

To cut through wood, you’ll need a blade designed to cut through this material.

Each material that can be cut has its’ own design, and are built for cutting through specific material. It’s vital that you use the correct blade for the material – otherwise you’ll end up with broken blades, and your hip pocket won’t be too fond of you.

When purchasing a reciprocating saw, many manufacturers will include a wood cutting blade – however, if you purchase a bare tool, you’ll have to purchase one yourself.

These blades, being the most common type of blade, are relatively cheap – which is a bonus.

reciprocating saw inserting the blade

Besides, you can never have too many blades.

Here is a list of the blade types available:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Masonry
  • Nail-embedded wood
  • Plaster

These are just a few of the blade types made available, as there are many.

Let’s look closely at the design that helps the blade cut through wood.

Blade Design For Wood

reciprocating saw blade

The number of teeth per inch (TPI) on a blade is a key term to note.

The more teeth on a blade – the less suited the blade is for wood. Typically, blades with up to 8 TPI are the best for cutting through wood – with a higher TPI suited for material such as metal, where a smooth finish is necessary in a slower cut.

Wood can be ripped through quite quickly, if your reciprocating saw allows.

Cutting Technique

showing reciprocating saw cutting technique

As I described at the beginning of this article, it’s simple to make your first cut.

Once you do so, it will become easier as you become more experienced.

Once you’ve pressed the saws’ show against the material and have switched your saw on, it’s best to choose the highest setting if your model comes with a variable speed dial. With a variable speed trigger, simply squeeze the trigger for the maximum speed.

Once you’ve completed this and have your blade ready to cut downwards on the angle you’ve chosen, bring down the blade slowly – and you’ll find that the blade almost glides through the wood, even with a slight pressure applied.

You’ve now completed a cut – and it’s as easy as that.

Of course, there are so many ways you can cut, and so many materials to cut through – but now that you know the basics, you can expand your knowledge further and finish the job effectively.

Final Thoughts

There you have it – a guide on how to cut wood effectively using a reciprocating saw.

Don’t forget the importance of using a specifically designed wood blade for this tasks, and alternative blades for other applications.

Your blades and wallet will thank you.

By following this guide, you’ve learned the ropes and can learn more difficult cults with tighter angles – depending on how often you’d be cutting.

Always wear safety equipment relative to your surroundings – for your sake and your colleagues.

Did I leave anything out? Or perhaps you’d like to share some tips with readers?

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I use another blade to cut wood with?

You’ll notice that the blade won’t give an accurate cut, and there is a high likelihood that you’ll damage the blade and material you’re using.

It’s always best to use a blade for the application it’s designed for.

Is cutting wood the same as other materials?

Good question. You’ll find that you use a similar technique cutting all materials as you use with wood. This is through both the positioning of the saw and the motion you do so.

The only thing which will vary is your speed. Materials require different speeds, as you’ll find when cutting through metal and aluminum in comparison to cutting through wood or PVC.

For wood, however – it’s safe to use the fastest speed to cut with. For thicker pieces of wood, higher speeds are recommended to cut through the wood.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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