Blade Work

7 Steps To Get The Most From A Saw


Some auto recycling pros spend more time with their saws than they do with their significant others. It is common for anyone in such a close relationship to experience a little friction once in a while. In the interest of maximizing the good times, we have prepared these steps so you can get the most from your saw.

1. Choose a good saw.
Today’s reciprocal saws have a lot of features that are useful to the heavy-duty user. You want a saw that will have adequate power. Another feature to look for is a clutch that will save the saw (and the operator!) from kicking back when the blade gets stuck in the middle of your cut. Vibration control is a very welcome feature offered on higherend saws. If the saw calmly executes its duties, you will experience less fatigue at the end of the day. Some people point out that this feature adds weight to the saw which can also add to your fatigue, so be aware of the tradeoff . Lately there have been some powerful saws introduced that run on battery power. It’s very handy sometimes to go where you gotta go without needing a place to plug in. Some saws have a rotating front end so you can set your saw to perform in an up, down, left or right position. This is extremely useful in the kind of tight situations experienced by auto recyclers. One saw feature that is less useful to an auto recycler: orbital action. This is a greater benefit to wood sawing than metal.

2. Don’t modify your saw to try to gain maneuverability. 
Removing the shoe might help you get into tighter spots, but it makes sawing less efficient and will lead to the premature breakdown of your saw.

3. Select the best blade for your job.
You don’t want to be using any more effort cutting through that catalytic converter than is absolutely necessary. Choosing the right length blade with an effective tooth set that is neither too thin, or thicker than necessary, is going to get you through the cut with a lot less unpleasantness than if you choose unwisely. If you need help selecting the right blade for the task, consult a blade specialist.

4. Let the saw do the work.
The harder you push, the more heat you will create. Heat interferes with efficiency because it deforms and weakens the saw blade and can even melt the material you are sawing. To prevent that from happening, back off on the pressure and let the saw cut and shed chips as it goes. Chip removal is critical for heat dissipation.

5. Use the shoe correctly.
As stated above, the role of the shoe is a key component in effective sawing. The shoe should be positioned against the object to be sawed. A rocking, “seesaw” motion with the shoe as the pivot point improves heat dissipation.

6. Start slow and ramp up to the appropriate speed.
The saw’s trigger allows you to regulate the speed of the stroke; make full use of this feature for optimum sawing. Use a light touch to get a groove started that the blade will follow. Once the cutting path is created, you can ramp up to full speed, but often a slower speed does the job just as fast or faster with less overheating of the blade.

7. Take frequent breaks.
Even the best relationships benefit from a little breather now and then.

Stuart Johnson is the vice president of Hub Industrial Supply (, located in Lake City, Fla.


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