Reciprocating saw blade choices

graywings123May 21, 2010

Blade length - is it preferable to use the shortest blade necessary for the job when using a reciprocating saw?

I have a metal - maybe iron or steel, I don't know - piece of fence or gating that I need to cut up. A tree that I want to save has partially grown into it. I have to cut the fence into pieces in order to extract it.

I'm looking at buying Tungsten Carbide Sawzall Blades. They come in 6 and 9 inch lengths. The 6 inch should be enough since the area is exposed - or is there some other factor involved. Or what about a Diamond Grit Torch Sawzall Blade? Would that make it easier for me?

Here's what I am dealing with:

Here is a link that might be useful: 6 inch diamond grit torch sawzall blade

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I would use a $5 metal cutting abrasive blade on a circular saw.

It will cut faster.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 6:29PM
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Thanks, but I don't have a circular saw. I have the recip saw, an old jig saw and a dremel tool.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 7:22PM
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I'd use a metal cutting blade, bi-metallic, no longer than 6". Use a very slow speed on a variable speed sawzall. A short-stroke saw is best, like the classic milwaukee. At a slow speed it will cut like butter. At high speed you will burn up blades as fast as you can change them. Wrought iron work is made from mild steel. IOW very soft and malleable (for steel, anyway).

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 7:23PM
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"Wrought" iron is actually mild (soft) steel and pretty easy to cut. Any old metal cutting blade will work just fine, although a bi-metal blade will last longer. Buy a couple.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 6:46AM
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The issue wot cutting metal is having enough blade teeth in contact with the material being cut to avoid breaking off the teeth.

The lower limit is three teeth in contact with the metal being cut, so choose a high enough tooth count blade to achieve this.

Slow speed and solid blade contact are also needed.
Starting the cut is a little harder in metal.
The contact area can be small resulting in the blade slipping on the material and losing teeth until a decent kerf is established.
Using a triangular file to start the kerf works well.
A few quick strokes with the file and the saw blade can settle in and get to work.

A circular saw would not work well for this job.
You need to be able to get close to the tree without tearing it up.

This job should not need a carbide grit blade.
Just buy a 5 or 10 pack of blades and go to town.
The blades need to be long enough to cut close to the tree without the saw shoe and body hitting it and damaging the bark.

If you start with a file kerf a longer blade length is not nearly as important and can make the job easier.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 9:40AM
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Not to be to retro, but this job wouldn't take long with a hacksaw and a good blade or two. You might want to have one at hand even if you use the recip.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 3:16PM
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Well, I wish you were nearby with your hacksaw and blade. My Sawzall and 6 inch Diamond Grit Castiron blade took forever to get through the first three pieces. I'm going to be at this all summer, I fear.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 6:56PM
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Grit blades are not known for speed.

They are usually used only when the material is so hard a regular blade cannot cut at all, and at that point the grit works well.

On softer materials grit blades are very slow since they spend a lot of time smearing the material back and forth before it breaks off.

Soft but 'gummy' material can even rip the grit off the blade in short order (like a concrete diamond blade hitting rebar).

Soft steel just needs the correct tooth count bi-metal blade.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 7:34PM
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You guys were right. The bi-metal blades worked much better and faster. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 2:42PM
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