Make the cut

Agriculture.com Staff 12/06/2007 @ 10:00am

A reciprocating saw is a powerful, specialized saber saw with a horizontal, rather than vertical, blade. The saw's elongated design and horizontal reciprocating blade movement allow it to get into hard-to-reach places and power through some of the toughest material on the farm.

Before you head to the tool section, Will Robinson, product manager of DEWALT cordless tools, says there are specific features farmers need to consider before they buy a reciprocating saw.

1. Corded or cordless. "A key decision from the beginning is if a person needs corded or cordless? If you're looking for major portability and may not have easy access to AC power, a cordless model may be more convenient," Robinson says.

2. Size. Don't buy more saw than you need. The size you choose depends on how often you'll use the saw and how heavy its applications. Cordless voltages range from 14.4 to 36. Corded versions are measured in amps and range from as low as 4 amps to up to 15 amps.

3. Jobs. Reciprocating saws do a lot more than just cut back and forth in a straight line. Make sure the saw you choose has the cutting action to perform the particular jobs you plan to tackle.

4. Users. If you won't be the only one using the saw, consider potential users and their abilities to safely operate it.

5. Variable speed. The stroke-per-minute helps determine how fast a reciprocating saw can cut a material and perform an application. Slower speeds are better for cutting metals and along curved or angled lines. Faster speeds are better for wood materials or demolition. A variable speed saw offers more versatility, especially when starting a cut in materials such as metal.

6. Blade. "You'll choose your blade depending on what you're cutting. A lot of it has to do with a tooth count and blade length. For example, a blade for wood has fewer teeth, more aggressive whereas metal blades have more teeth. The most common lengths are 6-, 9- and 12-inch blades," Robinson says.

7. Keyless blade clamp. It allows the user to insert the blade into the front of tool without having to use an allen wrench or separate tool.

Corded saws range from $89 to as high as $249. Cordless saws will cost anywhere from $169 to $369.

On the following page is a list of manufacturers that offer cordless reciprocating saws.

A reciprocating saw is a powerful, specialized saber saw with a horizontal, rather than vertical, blade. The saw's elongated design and horizontal reciprocating blade movement allow it to get into hard-to-reach places and power through some of the toughest material on the farm.

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