• Joseph

Short Cuts: Reciprocating Saw Tip

I love my reciprocating saw! It’s versatile, powerful, cuts lightning fast, and when fitted with the appropriate blade, it’ll slice through virtually any building material. However, the recip saw’s long blade makes it challenging when executing very shallow cuts.

Case is point: I was renovating our bathroom recently and had to remove the shower walls, which consisted of ceramic tile over drywall. But rather than bust up the walls with a hammer and pry bar, I thought it’d be faster, easier and much neater if I used my recip saw. However, I hesitated using even the shortest blade for fear of cutting into a hidden electrical cable, plumbing pipe, or even wall stud. So, I modified the blade and it worked great!

First, I put an old, dull blade in the saw, plugged in the saw, and squeezed the trigger until the blade was fully extended as far out as possible. I then unplugged the saw, measured ¾ in. from the saw shoe, and drew a line onto the blade (as shown at right). The distance of ¾ in. represents the thickness of the shower wall: ¼-in. tile + ½-in. drywall.

Next, I clamped the blade in a vise with the ¾-in. line flush with the top of the vise jaws. Then I slowly bent the blade until it snapped in two (below, left). I loosened the vise, removed the small end of the blade, and locked it into the recip saw (below, right).

Now, with this shortened blade, I was able to quickly and safely slice through the tiled walls in a matter of minutes, without creating any choking dust or sharp tile shards (below, left). I guided the short-cut saw blade along the grout joints, and sliced the walls into manageable 2-ft. x 4-ft. sections, which I was able to yank off the walls—with the tiles intact (below, right).

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