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How to cut straight with a reciprocating saw

When working with a reciprocating saw, you’ll likely have to cut into concrete or masonry at some point. Its a little tricky to cut in straight line on these type of hard surfaces. Here we are going to share our experience about how to cut straight with a reciprocating saw.

Concrete is both hard and chock full of rebar, which makes it difficult to cut without the help of diamond blades.   However, there are still times when you need straight cuts in concrete or masonry surfaces.

For example, if you need to cut out a section of concrete for a patio, or you need to make cuts in the flooring so that it can be removed.

You could drill the holes with hammer drills and twist extensions into them with an adjustable wrench, but if you’re only making one cut this is not practical.   An easier way is to use any best reciprocating saw. Before you start the saw, however, there are some tips and tricks to cutting straight with one.

How to cut straight with a reciprocating saw

cutting straight with a reciprocating saw

Tips and Preparation

The first thing you need to do is set up your surface so that it’s supported properly.   This will ensure that the cut will be nice and smooth without any wobbling or bowing.

If you’re going to be cutting a straight line, the best method is to create a guide with chalk or a chalk line.   You can do this by clamping two pieces of wood together at 90 degrees from each other.   The boards should be about as wide as your saw’s blade and about six inches longer than the desired length of the cut.   Make sure that the boards are secure and won’t move around as you make the cut with your saw.   

If you don’t have any boards, you can use a piece of rope or string to create a guide instead.     Tie one end securely to something solid, like a ceiling joist or another stud within the wall.   Run the other end along the chalk line that you’ve drawn on your surface.   

Procedure of cutting in Straight line with reciprocating saw

Before you start sawing, make sure that your blade is parallel to the guide or chalk line. The best way to do this is by marking off a point about six inches past where you’ll be cutting and lining it up with the guide.   You can use another piece of wood or a nail to hold it in place.   

Any saw will work, but if you have a choice between a cordless and an electric reciprocating saw, go with the corded version.   The reason for this is that most cordless ones are designed more for convenience than they are for power.   This means they won’t provide the best results when it comes to sawing through concrete.

Start your cut by placing your blade on top of the surface you’re cutting into at the very edge where you’ve marked off your line.   There should be enough room so that there’s an inch between the blade and your guide or chalk line.

You should have a steady hand when you’re positioning your blade. If the saw jumps, then it’s going to create an uneven line or veer off course.   Another thing that’s important is not to press too hard on the saw as you cut.  As long as your blade stays in place and makes its way through the material, you shouldn’t need to use that much pressure.

Cut in a smooth and even motion without stopping or slowing down.  Don’t try to take the material out in chunks, but instead let it fall through or slide out on its own. This way you’ll avoid losing control of the blade or having it move in an uneven manner.

Once you’ve cut your line, remove the guide or rope.   

The next step is to make a second pass on the other side of your cut, but this time it won’t be straight across.   Instead, you’ll have to angle the blade so that it ends up being at roughly 45 degrees from where you started.   

If you’re going to be making a second cut on either side, then make sure that the first one is as straight and even as possible.   This will prevent you from having to saw any more than is necessary.

Once you’re done cutting, let the surface dry out for a few days before walking on it or adding materials such as mortar, grout or tile on top.   This is because it may be a bit slippery when wet and can pose a safety hazard if it’s not given enough time to dry out.


So, now you know how to cut straight with a reciprocating saw. It’s an easy process that requires minimal effort and makes for smooth cuts without any accidents.  However, it helps if your blade is sharp so that you can use as little pressure as possible when cutting through the surface.


What can I use to measure and cut straight?

The best thing that you could use is a guide, such as a chalk line or rope.  If you don’t have these available, another option is to use two boards with nails driven through them at the end (it’s important that these points stay on the solid part of your guide).

How do I cut through metal?

While it may be possible to use a reciprocating saw on metal, it’s not recommended.  Instead you should use a hacksaw or metal shears.   It is also a better idea to have two people present when cutting this material.  This will help give the person doing the cutting more stability and control and is a good safety measure.  The person doing the cutting can also hold one of the boards mentioned above in this article to help keep the blade from slipping out of place.

Is there any material that I can’t use a reciprocating saw on?

It’s best not to try using this tool to cut through metal or hard stone.  In addition to being too hard for this saw, it’s also a much slower process so you might as well use other tools that are designed for these materials.

How much pressure should I put on the saw when cutting?

When making straight cuts with a reciprocating saw, it is best not to apply too much pressure or to use any sudden movements when cutting.  This is because it may cause the blade to slip out of place and/or move erratically.

What type of blades can I use with this tool?

You will be able to cut through many different materials using a reciprocating saw, including wood, plastics, and metal.  You can use a carbide-tipped blade, which is designed to cut through dense material such as steel and should be able to cut through wood with a diameter of up to three inches.

I’ve finished cutting what can I do now?

Let your surface that you have just cut dry out for a few days before walking on it or adding grout, mortar or tile to your surface.  This is because the surface may be slippery when wet and can pose a safety hazard.

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