Pros: A Great Reciprocating Saw
Cons: They Have Been Eliminated on Newer Models
Just A Few Cuts
My initial reason for purchasing Skil's 7.5 Amp Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw was to make a minimum number of cuts through a couple of pipes and studs while renovating a bathroom. I simply needed a saw to get that one small job done. With that thought in mind, the cost of the saw was the most significant factor in my purchase.
Although I wanted a "variable speed saw," I did not bother to go beyond those words on the box to see the "no load" rating speed of this model ranges from 800 to 2400 strokes per minute. The fact that it came in its own black, plastic protective case with extra blades stored inside, was lagniappe. I did not even bother to check out the saws stroke length which turns out to be 1 1/8 inches. At the time, these points were not significant factors in choosing this saw over a gang of more expensive models.
Because I purchased this saw about two years ago, I cannot recall the exact price I paid , but a quick run through the current prices puts this one, which has been replaced by an 8 amp model, in the $55 to $70 price range, much lower than the beefier sip saws on the market.
My new saw handled the few bathroom renovation cuts with ease. The additional blades that came with the package were specified for use on metal or wood. Extra blades for this saw are very easily found in several different types of stores. Changing from the metal cutting blade for the pipes to the blade for wood cutting was simple. With just a few turns with a hex wrench, which is conveniently secured in a holder on the saws cord, the blade is changed. The same tool is used to make any needed adjustments to the Skil's Adjustable Pivoting Shoe (just remember to always replace it in the holder once the blade is changed.)
I also admit, even after having successfully made those cuts, it was a positive feeling just to add another power tool to what was my smallish tool arsenal (now much larger and growing,) I was pleased to add this saw.
Saws and Water Do Not Mix---Usually
A few months ago, the same Skil Saw underwent a Timex test. For those who are too young to have seen the ancient commercials for Timex watches (and for those too old to remember,) Timex made a series of commercials in which they put their wrist watch through, seemingly unsurvivable, tests. I believe in one such test, they attached the watch to the lower unit of an outboard motor.and, subsequently submerged the the watch and went full throttle with the outboard. After stopping and raising the engine, the camera zoomed onto the watch to show the second hand still ticking away as the spokesman declared, with Timex's hallmark phrase, It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Who could argue with thatthey had demonstrated it in black and white. My Skil saw has done the same.
I did not plan any such test for my Skil saw, nor do I recommend one for a wrist watch or reciprocating saw, however an unfortunate test did occur. Recently, my home was flooded with about one foot of water. One of the many items that was a victim of the flood water was my saw. In the process of sorting through hundreds of individual items to determine if they were salvageable I came across the saw in its (non-water tight) case. Laying the case flat, I opened it to see the saw still in water that puddled in molded plastic case. I assumed the saw was destined for the large pile of debris at my curbside. The blades stored inside the box, held in place by clips were nice and rusty. In the scheme of things, given the price of the saw, I considered it a loss, but not a large one.
My wife and I were taking pictures of everything we tossed curbside for insurance records. I pulled the saw out of the box by the cord to lay it on the, now bare concrete, floor. As I did so, I watched water run and then drip from inside the hard plastic body of the saw. I laid it in place for the photographer and moved on to the next piece of something to add to the curbside pile.
Seemingly, I made a thousand trips to the curb with both parts of the house and the items contained within it. In the chaotic dismemberment of the lower portions of my home, the Skil Saw remained on the floor, I am sure was kicked out of the way several times, as I moved other items for several days. Eventually, the time came when I picked the saw up for removal. Again, grabbing it by the cord, no water ran out and it appeared to be in normal condition. (Of course, my observation was limited to the exterior plastic and not the mechanical and electrical intricacies hidden within).
By now, I had placed at curbside sofa and chairs, bookcases, all major appliances, floor coverings, cabinets, a ton of wet sheet rock and carpeting, and hundreds of smaller items. I had no qualms at tossing the, once submerged, vacuum cleaner on the pile. I even used the opportunity to toss out objects that were not water-logged, but had been placed in storage because, we might use it again one day. However, I hesitated with the Skil saw in my handsit seemed such a shame, I could not bring myself to toss it without ensuring it was dead.
Do Not Do Stupid Things Like The One I Am About To Describe
Laying the saw down with the handle braced against the now bare stud wall, I plugged its cord into a long heavy gaged extension cord. I walked outside and plugged the extension cord into a ground-fault outlet. Nothing happened inside or out. With a long piece of somethingprobably quarter-round, I pushed the trigger on the saw. To my surprise there was no snap, crackle, or pop. The Skil began singing like the day I removed it from the box. Subsequently, this has become one of the most used power tools in my arsenal in the past months.
A Cut Above and Beyond
I cannot possibly list the number and type of items I have cut with this saw in the intervening months. The saw's good balance and ease of operation allowed me to work with the saw for extended periods. It has been given quite a bit of rough treatment. Unless, a nice finished edge was needed on the material I cut, I was often too impatient to change blades to match the material encountered. Thus, I continued using wood blades to cut through nails and vice-versa. Of course, this practice quickly ruined many blades, by the saw never skipped a beat, having enough power to be ill-used this way. There were times that after I completed a cut, the blade was bent and shaped into the shape I needed to surgically remove a particular piece of framing. With the blade bent at odd angles there was, obviously, quite a bit of vibration and kick-back. However, under normal circumstances, the saw's Vibration Control Gearing minimizes, though does not eliminate, the shimmy produced by the reciprocating blade. Admittedly, I have abused this saw and it has given no sign of slowing down.
With all said and done, I highly recommend Skil's 7.5 (Now 8) Amp Reciprocating Saw with no reservations. Again, I initially purchased it with the mentality of purchasing a disposable razor. Now, I believe it has paid for itself a thousand times over and at this moment sits on the shelf (above the high water mark) awaiting its next assignment.
Looking hard for any negative aspects of this saw, I believe there may be a bit of awkwardness in changing the blade until the process has been practiced a few times. Unscrewing the hex nut too far results in the removal of one side of the clamp holding the blade in place. The nut only needs to be loosened a few turns for blade removal. Also, when replacing the blade, ensure that the small pin inside the clamp has has inserted itself into that the small hole on the end of the blade being placed into the saw. A few tugs on the inserted blade before the hex nut is tightened is a good test. If the blade does not slide out, tighten the hex, replace the hex key in the holder, plug in the saw, use your safety equipment, and cut away. However, this con only applies if you decide to purchase a reconditioned 7.5 amp model, as the 8-amp replacement has a tool less blade replacement system.