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Powered Hand Tools - Saws - Sabre, Jig and Reciprocating

What should you do before start cutting with powered hand saws?

  • Wear safety glasses or goggles, or a face shield (with safety glasses or goggles).
  • Disconnect power supply before changing or adjusting blades.
  • Use lubricants when cutting metals.
  • Keep all cords clear of cutting area.
  • Position the saw beside the material before cutting and avoid entering the cut with a moving blade.
  • Make sure guards, if present, are installed and are working properly.

What should you do to work with powered hand saws safely?

  • Hold reciprocating saw with both hands.
  • Remember sabre saws cut on the up stroke.
  • Secure and support stock as close as possible to the cutting line to avoid vibration.
  • Keep the base or shoe of the saw in firm contact with the stock being cut.
  • Select the correct blade for the material being cut and allow it to cut steadily. Do not force it. Clean and sharp blades operate best.
  • Set the blade to go no further than 0.32 to 0.64 cm (1/8 to 1/4 inch) deeper than the material being cut.
  • Do not start cutting until the saw reaches its full power.
  • Do not force a saw along or around a curve. Allow the machine to turn with ease.
  • Do not insert a blade into or withdraw a blade from a cut or lead hole while the blade is moving.
  • Do not put down a saw until the motor has stopped.
  • Do not reach under or around the stock being cut.
  • Maintain control of the saw always. Avoid cutting above shoulder height.

How should you start an external cut?

  • Place the front of the shoe on the stock.
  • Make sure that the blade is not in contact with the material or the saw will stall when the motor starts.
  • Hold the saw firmly down against the material and switch the saw on.
  • Feed the blade slowly into the stock maintaining an even forward pressure.
Starting an External Cut

How should you start an inside cut?

  • Drill a lead hole slightly larger than the saw blade. With the saw switched off, insert the blade in the hole until the shoe rests firmly on the stock.
  • Do not let the blade touch the stock until the saw has been switched on.
Starting an Inside Cut

Refer to Powered Hand Tools - Basic Safety for Electric Tools for general safety tips.

Document last updated on December 20, 2013
Document confirmed current on August 15, 2019

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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.