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HOW TO


SABERSAWS


Lightweight and portable, the sabersaw is perfect for both curved and straight cuts in hard-to-reach places.

Whenever a woodworking project has you in a tight spot, reach for your sabersaw-the tool that combines the ease and accuracy of a power saw with the portability of a handsaw. Use the sabersaw to cut curves and irregular shapes, make interior cuts, and trim large workpieces that are too big for your stationary saw tables.

Features
Sabersaws are available from light-duty to heavy-duty or professional strength, generally ranging from 3.0 to 6.0 amps. The amperage of the motor affects the longevity of the saw, but the cutting power of the saw, for short bursts, is better measured by the stroke length. The sabersaw works by plunging the blade up and down in the same manner as a reciprocating saw, and saws with longer stroke lengths (up to 1") can cut harder, thicker material more easily.
Sabersaws are small enough to hold and operate with one hand, although it's recommended that you use two hands whenever possible, especially when cutting freehand. Some sabersaws have a handle mounted to the top of the body, while others are designed with a saw body meant to be gripped. Note: When holding the body of an operating sabersaw, be careful not to cover the motor vents in the sides-overheating of the motor can result. Some saws have a handle mounted above the blade or on the side of the body for applying steady pressure. Sabersaw blades cut on the upstroke, usually with an orbital cutting motion. Saws with orbital action push the blade into the workpiece slightly on the upstroke, where the cutting is done, then retract the blade from the kerf on the downstroke, making cleaner cuts and preserving blades. Some sabersaw models have variable orbital action settings, allowing you to set the blade forward for making fast cuts in soft materials, and at a near vertical position to make fast cuts in hard materials.
The scrolling sabersaw has a pivoting chuck, so the saw blade can be turned from side to side, usually by turning a knob located directly above the blade. The scrolling sabersaw is good for cutting tight curves.

BUYER'S TIPS
-A good sabersaw, has at least a 3.0-amp motor. with an adjustable stroke rate ranging, from 500 to 3, 000 strokes per minute (SRM).
-Look, for a sabersaw with a stroke length of at least 3/4"-longer strokes are more powerful.
-Saws with "orbital" or "oscillating" cutting action, make cleaner cuts and preserve blades.
-A scrolling saw has a knob that can be turned to adjust the blade from side to side to make tight cuts. Sabersaw blades
Sabersaw blades are usually categorized by the type of material they're designed to cut. Wood, metal, laminate, fiberglass, leather, and ceramic are common blade types. Blades can be as narrow as %" (scrolling blades) and as wide as 1" (offset blades).

A standard blade is is" wide. Typical metals used include inexpensive highspeed steel and more durable carbide-tipped blades. The number of teeth per inch (TPI) for wood-cutting blades ranges from 5 to 15-lower TPI results in faster, rougher cuts.

Basic sabersaw use
With sabersaws, it's very tempting to try to speed up a cut by pushing the saw forward with too much force. As when using any power tool, forcing a cut with a sabersaw will result in uneven cuts, burning, and undue strain on the saw and the blades. To make sabersaw cuts, clamp the workpiece to a worksurface to minimize vibrations. Always cut on the waste side of a marked line to allow for the blade kerf.
Straight cuts: The most important aspect of making straight cuts is to keep the saw straight and even, preventing the blade from wandering. Use a guide when making straight cuts with a sabersaw. Most sabersaws will accept a ripping guide (see photo, right), similar to a router edge guide, that attaches to the shoe. Otherwise, secure a straightedge to the workpiece or the workbench to guide the shoe of the saw. Use at least a %"-wide saw blade, because wider blades are less likely to wander.
Turn on the saw before contacting the workpiece with the blade.

WOODWORKERS TIP
Because sabersaws cut on the upstroke, prevent tear-out by cutting with the good side of the workpiece face-down. Another solution is to sandwich the workpiece between two scrap pieces of wood. Make sure the waste material is supported as you near completion of the cut. To reduce the chance of tearout, finish the cut working very slowly.
Curved cuts are easiest to make in multiple passes. Use the first pass to cut away excess waste, but leave the hard-to-reach sections for last.
For cutting tight curves, make relief cuts through the waste areas of the stock, just as you would for similar cuts using a bandsaw or scrollsaw.
Circle-cutting can be done freehand or by attaching a ripping guide to the shoe, then securing the guide around a pivot point at the centerpoint of the circle. For larger circles, simply tie a string to the pivot point, attach the other end to the shoe, and make the cut, keeping the string taut.
Bevel-cutting: Most sabersaws have an adjustable shoe that can be positioned from 0° to 45° on either side of the blade, making it ideal for bevel-cutting. Always make a practice cut first on a piece of scrap wood to make sure the angle of the bevel is correct.

Plunge-cutting: With its short, stiff blades, the sabersaw is capable of making plunge cuts, which are interior cuts started without a blade start hole. Plunge cuts are especially useful for interior cuts on plywood and other softer materials.

To plunge-cut, position the tip of the saw blade just above the workpiece, inside the cutting line;

then tilt the saw forward so the tip of the shoe rests on the workpiece. Hold the saw firmly, and, with the blade in a horizontal position, turn on the saw. Slowly pivot the saw downward, using the the shoe as a pivot. As the blade moves up and down, it will "drill" its own guide hole. Let the blade work its way through; then finish the cut. Scrolling simple curves can be cut with a standard sabersaw and blade. Work slowly, and make sure the kerf is kept clear of sawdust. A scrolling sabersaw with a 1/4"-wide blade is a better choice for tighter, more complex curves.

Prices subject to change.
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Updated: 11/2017   copyright 2012 U-Repair.com