What is a Sabre Saw? [aka Saber Saw]

What is a sabre saw? Can you tell your reciprocating saw apart from your circular? There are so many saws out there. And, so many of them are specialized.

Now, before you go run out and buy the finest mechanical Hackzall saw you can find. There are things you should know about reciprocating saws. That is what a sabre saw is also known as.

Let’s start with the basics. Before you can cut, you need to know what you are cutting with. By the time you are done with reading you will be ready for that next step: purchasing.

What Is a Sabre Saw?

Is there a difference between a sabre saw and a jigsaw? Sometimes you see the same saws sold under either name. But, in the past there was a distinction between the two.

Both the jigsaw and sabre saw came from a variation of a scroll saw. Scroll saws are tabletop saws that fasten at both ends. The blade moves vertically, up and down.

The variation came with the blade mounted on only one side. When this started, it was called a jigsaw. The jigsaw turned into a hand-held tool a little later.

And, due to its popularity manufacturers began making a variation of it. More specifically, they put a knob on the top of the saw. This knob turned the blade into one that could handle intricate cuts.

what is a sabre saw or saber saw

As time went on, the model with the knob on the top was called a jigsaw. And, the ones without the knob were known as sabre saws. They are essentially the same, except one can handle intricate cutting.

Eventually, the sabre saw was also called a reciprocating saw for its blade. The reciprocating saw and the sabre saw refer to the same thing.

And, to make matters more confusing sometimes they are called a “Sawzall.” That is a term trademarked by the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company. In much the same way facial tissue is referred to as a “Kleenex.”

And, in the past the sabre saw was for construction and demolition jobs. Not intricate or fine wood cutting. But, that has changed in recent times.

You can call any type of hand-held saw that has a short reciprocating blade a sabre or a jigsaw. The distinction with the knob has gone away. Now it is at the discretion of the manufacturers whether to include a feature for intricate work or not.

Quick Tips About Using a Sabre Saw

In the past, you only used reciprocating blades for construction and demolition. While they are still in use for those types of jobs. Nowadays they have expanded to include much more.

This tool will be one of the most versatile power tools in your arsenal. It can crosscut. It can bevel. It can even miter and make curved and scrolling cuts.

You will have some limitations with how thick your work material can be. But, for the most part you will simply change blades depending on what material you are working with. Even more importantly, you can use it one-handed.

saber saw cuts pipe with shorter blades

One of the more important rules to follow is remembering to not force the cut. The blade may snap under pressure. If you cannot cut all the way through your material may be too thick. The general width limitation for it is approximately 1 ½” thick.

If you do try to push your saw past that, besides breaking the blade you may end up with other problems. One of them being the saw overheating. Consequently, the blade may also wander and cut where you don’t want it to.

Additionally, you can cut laminate or paneling with this saw. But, remember that the saw blade cuts by pulling up. This means that you want the front, or finished, side facing away from you.

Next, try to find a saw with a variable speed feature. It will help you maintain control of your cuts. And, allow you to try more intricate ones.

And, you should always make sure that your blade is sharp. They are inexpensive. So, make sure to replace them when needed. It makes all the difference in how much easier cutting will be.

Finally, you can probably find more pro construction tips online. However, this covers some basics every beginner should know. Of course, this is only a small tidbit of the wealth of information available.

Final Thought

What is a Sabre Saw? Now that you know a little bit more about sabre saws, you may be ready to buy one. Just remember that nowadays manufacturers use jigsaw and sabre saw interchangeably. But, if you happen across an older model you know what the difference is.

And, you know what the saws can do. So now you can put them to the test. It’s time to check-out the wide variety of sabre saws out there. Your only limits are your wallet and your material thickness.

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