Between Loppers and Chainsaw: Using a Cordless Reciprocating Saw as a Garden Tool

Posted by @evermorelawnless on
Using a cordless reciprocating saw with a pruning blade is often easier (and safer) than using a chainsaw or even loppers. This article describes how we use a recip saw around here as a garden tool and provides several illustrations.

One of our favorite, go-to yard tools is a cordless reciprocating saw. It's powerful, lightweight, and easy to use. One of the greatest benefits is that the blades are inexpensive and are very easy to replace, ensuring that the tool is always sharp. I cannot say that about my chainsaw. It also might be a little safer for pruning in those awkward places that are a little scary with a chainsaw (up a tree or up a ladder with that awkward, long lean...).
Thumb of 2015-02-25/evermorelawnless/73715c

Apart from the obvious uses as a pruner for larger, thicker branches, we've also used it for:

Cutting roots during stump removal. It's been my experience that trying to cut through roots can be a real challenge. There's not a lot of room to work with a conventional saw, the dirt ruins a $20.00 chainsaw blade almost instantly, the loppers either cannot be used because of the working space or because the darned thing is too thick...so enter the reciprocating saw with a 12" blade. The working space is incredibly small - anywhere you can get a 1" blade, you can cut. It's inexpensive - you may or may not end up ruining a ~$2-3.00 blade at the end of it. And it's just quick.

Pruning/cutting back fibrous plants (a yucca in our case). We have a couple of yuccas by our front porch that are VERY enthusiastic growers...and may or may not be plantivorous in that they sure seem to want to eat (or overwhelm) their neighbors. So every now and then we need to give them a "haircut." The leaves are so fibrous that they're fairly tough to cut cleanly (except maybe individually with a razor knife). But with the recip saw, one person holds a bundle of leaves while the other makes the cut. (Protip: do NOT put yucca cuttings into a chipper/shredder. Bad things happen.) It's a really quick solution to what was once a tedious task.
Thumb of 2015-02-25/evermorelawnless/9d298f Thumb of 2015-02-25/evermorelawnless/249e66

There are various blades available for the saw and they can be purchased at any home improvement store. For general pruning, I use this blade, which is designed specifically for the purpose:
Thumb of 2015-02-25/evermorelawnless/28e276

For the fibrous stuff, I use a 18tpi (tooth per inch) blade that was designed to cut metal, but makes a pretty clean cut on the yucca.
Thumb of 2015-02-25/evermorelawnless/08e748
Whereas the pruning blade just shreds it and pulls it apart.

For finer pruning (with a cleaner finish to the cut), you can use a blade designed for wood and cut more slowly than you would with the pruning blade (such as a 14tpi wood blade).

I'm sure that there are a lot of other gardening uses for the cordless reciprocating saw. It doesn't need to sit on the shelf awaiting construction/demolition jobs.

 
Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Untitled by lauriebasler Aug 12, 2016 11:22 PM 0
Thank you for this Asa by flaflwrgrl Mar 31, 2015 10:21 AM 3
I love my cordless reciprocating saw by SongofJoy Mar 14, 2015 12:38 PM 15
The one thing I failed to mention - DOWNSIDE to this... by evermorelawnless Mar 9, 2015 6:27 PM 5
Another landscape use by ctcarol Mar 9, 2015 5:41 PM 0



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