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Reciprocating saw blades for thick metal

Bill D

Apr 1, 2004
Modesto, CA USA
I found TPI details for bandsaws and hacksaws but nothing spelled out for reciprocating saws AKA sawsall. Mainly I would use it for cutting 1/4-3/8 mild steel. I also need a few to cut 1+1/2 inch steel bar.
Any recommendations for TPI? I know many folks use much too high a speed and cook their blades fast with little or no oil. In bandsaw and hack saws a common thought is no more then three teeth in the cut. But I do not see reciprocating blades below 10 TPI or so. I think most users do not understand much about tooth count and why it matters. I think many figure the more teeth the better to spread out the wear.
Bill D.


Oct 20, 2005
Wilmington DE USA
10 tpi slow with oil and "rocking" the cut on thicker material
I see guys chopping 20' stock at the steel yard with battery powered sawsall's to save a shearing charge
any courser a blade will take you for a ride if the teeth drop in to the final edge of the cut



Oct 12, 2021
3 teeth is the suggested minimum. IMO recip saws like sawzalls & jig saws are not really metal working tools. That is unless you are trying to open up your fender wells for big mud tires :)

BT Fabrication

Nov 3, 2019
Ontario Canada
sawzall doesn't work well for thick metal cutting, main reason is feed consistancy. it bounces all over and you either get too much pressure and rip teeth off, or not enough and it gets hot and wears the teeth off. bandsaws with coolant feed is a common thing because they work the best for most cutting.


Hot Rolled
Aug 9, 2011
new plymouth id
I have used the carbide tipped sawzall blades in a spot i could not throw sparks.down in a pit, inside a building, cutting off a well casing. but even those it was very expensive cutting i think i got 20” of cut on 3/8 material per blade a sawzall is a horrible way to cut unless its the only way.