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What is a Sawzall®?

By Nychole Price
Updated May 17, 2024
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A Sawzall® is a power-driven reciprocating saw that is used for major construction jobs or household projects. A reciprocating saw can be corded, or battery operated, making it a universal tool for many small and large jobs. They are simple to use, making them a great asset to the average do-it-yourself homeowner.

When choosing a blade for your Sawzall®, you must first consider the material that you are cutting. A fine-tooth blade is used to cut metal and smooth woods. Use a coarse blade if you are working with rough-cut woods. If the wrong blade is used for the job, the material can be burned and the reciprocating saw damaged.

The blade is installed on the Sawzall® by lifting up the release lever on the blade clamp. Insert the blade into the saw, shank side first. The blade is locked into place by pushing down on the blade clamp release lever.

When cutting wood, use an anchor to secure it in place and prevent it from slipping. If you are cutting metal, lubricate it with a thin layer of oil to prolong the use of the saw blade. Clamp wood to the underside of the metal to prevent it from bowing or tearing during the cutting process.

A Sawzall® is often used to repair things around the house. When doing this type of work, it is recommended to turn off the electricity to the house and use a battery operated reciprocating saw. This will prevent electrocution should you accidentally cut a wire.

Sharpening a Sawzall® blade results in a cleaner cut. This can be done by securing the blade, teeth up, in a in a vice. Use a flat saw file to trim the top of the blade teeth until they are even in height. Sharpen the blade teeth to a point by running a three square saw file between each individual tooth.

When the Sawzall® is not in use, remove the blade and store it in the case. Humidity can damage the electrical components of the reciprocating saw. Storing the reciprocating saw with the blade in place can result in damage to the saw or harm to an unexpected person.

Every six months, take your reciprocating saw to a tool service center to be inspected, cleaned and lubricated. This will extend the life of the power tool. The trigger switch of this device tends to stick when it becomes clogged with debris, resulting in a choppy movement.

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Discussion Comments
By Oceana — On Feb 29, 2012

@shell4life - Another cool thing about the Sawzall that makes it ideal for using in tiny spaces is that you can adjust the blade to be horizontal when you need it to be. This is really helpful for making cuts under walls, or even into walls when making a space for a window.

I’ve never used one myself, because I am afraid of the blade and the power behind it. I have watched my cousin work with his, though, and I have to say it appears to be a very handy tool.

I think that all handymen are probably familiar with the Sawzall. Just about every worker on my cousin’s team owns one.

By shell4life — On Feb 28, 2012

@lighth0se33 - They probably all do love their Sawzalls. My brother tells me that this type of saw is the best for fitting into tight spaces.

Since the blade sticks out like a long, sturdy finger, you can stick it in between just about anything to cut. My brother has used it to cut off tree limbs that were growing so closely together that using any other type of saw would have been awkward, if not impossible.

Since the Sawzall is great for cutting wood, he uses it when building houses, which is what he does for a living. I don’t think he could do without one, now that he has become accustomed to it.

By lighth0se33 — On Feb 27, 2012

My husband works in construction, and he always carries his Sawzall in his toolbox in the back of his truck. He does work for various people, and he even does a little demolition work.

I think he uses the Sawzall on just about every job he takes. Whatever he spent for it, he has gotten his money’s worth.

I’ve often heard him telling people over the phone, “That job is going to call for the Sawzall.” On occasion, I have asked him to do a little remodeling on our own house, and he usually winds up saying, “I need to go get my Sawzall.”

Do all construction and demolition workers rely so heavily on the Sawzall? I had never even heard of one before I met my husband, and his has become his trusty sidekick.

By Perdido — On Feb 26, 2012

My uncle called my husband when he needed help cutting up an old mobile home. My great-aunt had lived there, but she had been dead for years, and my uncle wanted to sell the home as scrap metal.

After trying different methods, like using torches and other saws, my uncle could see that he needed something more powerful to cut up the trailer. My husband had a Sawzall, and he brought it over for the job.

They had it cut up in no time. My uncle was only frustrated that he had wasted so much time with other tools that couldn’t cut it. After seeing how well the Sawzall performed, he decided to buy one for himself.

By jonrss — On Feb 26, 2012

I have a cordless sawzall that is not currently working. I think I can fix it myself but it has been hard to find the sawzall parts I need. It seems that there is not really a home repair market for this kind of stuff.

Does anyone know where I can buy power tool parts? I also need to get a new drill battery because my current one barely holds a charge. Thanks for any info guys!

By Ivan83 — On Feb 26, 2012

There is a reason that sawzalls are so popular and widely used. They are a great tool. A reciprocating saw is nothing new but sawzalls are some of the best made and most adaptable saws on the market. They are a great all purpose tool for anyone who needs to cut things up.

I bought a sawzall about 10 years ago and it still works great. I don't use it often but I am always grateful to have it when I need it. I've used it to cut up tree limbs, to cut sheet metal and plastic and even to do some artistic carvings. It is incredibly versatile. After a cordless drill I think it is the best power tool to have on hand.

By tigers88 — On Feb 25, 2012

When I was in high school I would usually work for my dad during the summers. He owned a small business that made commercial cabinetry. I was strong but not particularly handy so he usually just gave me dirty or hard jobs that no one else would be willing to do. I was the bosses son, what was I going to say?

I remember one of the worst was when he gave me a sawzall and told me to cut up what seemed like a mountain of old pallets. There were easily over 100. So I spent almost an entire day running a sawzall non stop. My arms were like jelly by the end of it. Sawzalls make a pretty violent reciprocating motion and it is killer on your arms, chest, back and upper body. Cutting up those pallets really took it out of me.

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