Everyone seems to want the best reciprocating saw, but even the top models can be slower than others if used incorrectly. Professionals find reciprocating saws extremely useful as demolition tools. At its core, the recip functions as an electric hacksaw that cuts through wood, metal, nails, pipe, and just about anything you can throw at it. You just need to use the correct blade. These saws cut through wood fastest when using an aggressive orbital cutting action. But how do you know when to use orbital action on a reciprocating saw? We have some basic guidelines you can follow.
Table of contents
- What is Orbital Operations?
- When to Use Orbital Action on a Reciprocating Saw
- When to Use Orbital Actions
- When Not to Use Orbital Actions
- wrap it all up
What is Orbital Operations?
We have a more in-depth article detailing what orbital effects are, so if you want a more in-depth look, check out that article. You may not be able to find a place to work without at least one reciprocating saw. The blades on these tools move rapidly back and forth across the cutting surface. You might think that the size or cost of a tool determines how fast it can cut.
Maybe…but more than that.
You may have noticed another setting on some reciprocating saws: orbital action, or orbital mode. While this sounds hollow, it's actually a useful, down-to-earth feature that can help clips in certain situations.
Orbital action describes the movement of the blade in a reciprocating saw. Most basic saws use a straight stroke, which means the blade goes straight in and out of the saw. A straight stroke is good for certain types of cutting, such as rolling on wood or cutting hard materials like steel. However, the orbital action moves the blade in a slight circular motion as it moves in and out of the tool. This allows for faster cutting of softer materials and helps remove chips from the blade path faster.
Orbital action is good for powerful cuts in wood when a rough cut is required for quick material removal. However, it is not recommended for cutting metal, or for high-precision cuts where the blade must remain perfectly perpendicular to the work surface.
Using an orbital action is especially useful with a reciprocating saw when doing demolition work. You can cut faster and with less effort. Better quality saws give you the option to adjust the saw with a lever, knob, or switch to go from a straight line to a track or something in between. While you can choose your level of orbital action on these reciprocating saws, most pros will usually turn it on or off. in conclusion:
When to Use Orbital Actions
- Make imprecise cuts on clean wood
- demo inlaid wood
- Cutting multiple layers of material for demolition and renovation
When Not to Use Orbital Actions
- cutting PVC
- Cutting EMT or other metals
- Make more precise or exact cuts in wood
wrap it all up
Knowing when to use orbital action on a reciprocating saw really doesn't take much thought. It really does work faster. We're still amazed how many cordless chainsaws lack this feature. However, it does appear to be present in many flagship models.
If you are a pro and have reciprocating saw tips, please add them in the comments below or leave them on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.