You know you’re a true DIYer when you’re ready to move on from mere paintbrushes, hammers and screwdrivers to the really fun stuff: power tools. One power player that you’ll need for doing serious business such as cutting into plaster, drywall, wood and metal is the hand-held electric reciprocating saw, commonly referred to generically as a “Sawzall” after the popular brand version of the same name manufactured by Milwaukee Tools.
The blade of the recipro saw moves up and down rapidly, and its portability, strength and short stroke length make it the preferred power saw for cutting into heavy-duty materials such as pipe, especially in very tight spaces.
You’ll find many uses for the recipro saw, but be mindful of the dangers. Though it’s small, the thing can kick back on you and knock you backward (been there), raise sparks (I never operate mine with short sleeves anymore) and cause debris to fly off into your face (I never operate mine without safety goggles anymore).
And whatever you do, don’t use the saw on old, unused oil pipes and then accidentally cut a gas line, especially on a Sunday evening. The on-call guy from the power company will be very unhappy with you, and your house could explode. I never do that. Anymore.—Katherine Ludwig