How To Lubricate A Reciprocating Saw

How To Lubricate A Reciprocating Saw – Step By Step

If you use your reciprocating saw on a regular basis then you may already know that you need to oil the blade after each use.

The oil ensures that your blade stays sharp and lasts for a long time.

But it isn’t just important that you oil your saw but also how you do it in order to prevent a broken blade and to protect your trusty power tool.

Oiling your reciprocating saw blade correctly extends the lifespan of the blade, and the same applies to the entire body of your reciprocating saw.

A reciprocating saw is a versatile tool that has a great surface area and can provide a clean cut, but you need to ensure that you isnpect it regularly to keep damage to a minimum.

Here are our top tips on what you need to know about oiling your saw, including a step-by-step guide about how to apply the oil to the saw and control it.

Why Should You Oil Your Reciprocating Saw?

Before we jump into our oiling guide for reciprocating saws, it’s a good idea to understand why you need to oil your saw.

When you oil the blade of your saw, then this creates a smooth cut keeping your blade in good shape after every use, which means you will have to install a new blade less frequently.

Wear and tear will prove less of a problem with proper lubrication so that the blades can easily slide through and get to cutting whatever material you put them up against.

Regularly oiling your blade does not just extend the lifetime of your blade but it also creates a much more precise cut which is important for any intricate DIY projects.

Over time, you won’t need to replace your blade as often when you oil it properly, and this can save you a lot of money in the long run, as they won't break quite so often, even under significant force.

It will also help to minimize debris, which in turn keeps you safe from things like dust as you get to cutting.

What Type Of Oil Should You Use For A Reciprocating Saw?

It’s important to understand that you cannot just add any type of oil to your blade.

In the past, many saw owners used to recommend WD-40 oil but we found that this isn’t the best option, and it will not help the blade to deal with pressure or be cutting efficiently.

WD-40 only adds a very thin layer of oil to the blade and this layer doesn’t last very long.

This can create rust which is not what you want on your saw blade as it will affect its power, and how well it can get to cutting into the material you feed into it.

The better alternative is to use a specific saw oil. Some saw manufacturers recommend specific oils for their tools, so it’s a good idea to also check with your manufacturer to find which you should lubricate your blades with in order to ensure that they can be cutting through any material with little friction as you are pressing into the blade.

Whatever oil you choose for your reciprocating saw, it should be lightweight and also usable for car engines in order to preserve power, and to allow the blades to run properly, as they should.

It will also make sure that the blade does not bend or wear down while cutting.

The advantage of lighter oils are that they can penetrate through even the tightest gap to get into the saw for more lubrication, in order to properly lubricate and to cut through all wood or any other material.

In comparison, a thicker oil couldn’t get everywhere, and you would end up with too much in one place of your saw and not enough in another.

How To Oil Your Reciprocating Saw: A Step-By-Step Guide

How To Lubricate A Reciprocating Saw

Oiling your reciprocating saw isn’t difficult. All you have to do is to remove the blade from the saw, remove any dirt and old grease with a cloth, and adequately oil up the tool.

The blades should take well to the oil, and it should allow them to cut through hard materials.

Then apply some oil to the different parts of the saw that move, and you can reattach the blade again, and get to working on the work surface.

Here is our detailed step by step guide explaining how to oil your reciprocating saw.

Step 1: Unplug Your Reciprocating Saw

Similar to maintaining other power tools, it is essential that you unplug your reciprocating saw before you touch the blade.

If your blade runs at high speed, then it could not just cause your skin to burn but also the oil will get flung off.

Step 2: Remove Debris And Dirt

Before you can apply any of the oil, you should clean out any debris, excess oil or old grime from the blade’s teeth. You can do this with canned compressed air or an air compressor.

Removing any dirt will ensure that your new oil sticks better to the metal parts of your saw, making them more lubricated.

Step 3: Apply The Oil

Once you cleaned any grime from the saw, you are ready to apply a few drops of the oil to different parts of the saw.

The fastest way to apply the oil is with a spray aerosol oil. This means you can get into tighter spaces much easier, and the oil will be distributed evenly.

Make sure that you cover all the moving parts and joints with a thin oil layer, including the blade’s base.

It’s important to remember that the oil takes a little while to penetrate the metal, so allow some time for this to happen.

Step 4: Clean Any Excess Oil

Once you are done with the oil application, you can remove any of the excess oil with a paper towel or an old cloth.

Some people also use a power washer or hose pipe to wash the rest of the oil off but we would recommend not to expose your reciprocating saw to any water as this may create rust, especially when your saw is already a little older.

Step 5: Do A Test Cut

Once you applied the oil and cleaned everything up, you are ready to check whether you put on enough oil. 

Cut a few pieces of wood to check if the blade goes through smoothly.

How Often Should You Oil Your Reciprocating Saw?

When we spoke to some saw owners, they told us that they change the oil on their reciprocating saw each time after use.

However, some also mentioned that a minimum of once a month seems to work for them.

The difference of opinion shows that there is no clear rule here when you should oil your saw, as this depends on a number of different factors, including storage, usage and the working conditions.

If you don’t use your saw as often and you keep it generally in good shape, then your saw doesn’t need as much oiling.

However, it’s also worthwhile noting here that reciprocating saws that have been stored for a while will need oiling.

Top Tips For Oiling A Reciprocating Saw

There are a few things you should look out for when oiling your reciprocating saw.

Make sure that the blade is cool when you want to oil the saw. This will ensure that the oil can penetrate the metal easier, plus you won’t burn your skin on a hot blade that was run at extreme speeds before.

For the best oil distribution, you should clean and remove any debris or old grease from the teeth of the blade.

You can use a brush to apply the oil but we found the easiest oil application is with a spray oil. It’s quick and also applies the oil evenly.

Final Thoughts

Lubricating your saw with the right type of oil is essential for the most effective workings of the reciprocating saw.

It ensures that your saw runs at its best for a much longer time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can You Make Your Saw Blade Last Longer?

There are a range of things you can do to extend the lifetime of your saw blade. The most effective way is to regularly oil your blade. This should be at least once a month.

In addition, you should also keep the blade’s teeth clean, and remove any debris after each use.

It’s also a good idea to keep the blade cover when you don’t use the saw. This will protect the blade from moisture and dust.

Can You Use WD-40 On Your Saws?

No, you should not use WD-40 oil to lubricate your saw. Instead, use an SAE10 or SAE20 oil which is much thinner and suitable for saws as well as auto engines.


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