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Makita 18v LXT Reciprocating Saw

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Makita 18v LXT Reciprocating Saw

Postby Landpikey » Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:26 am

My trusty old Makita 14v hand drill finally gave up the ghost a few months back so I had to invest in a new one. I managed a good deal at the local hardware shop (my wife rarely lets me go there alone!) and got the new 18v one with carry case, impact driver and 3 batteries (that's the important part). It's great - loads of torque (enough to start our very old Thwaites dumper truck as I can no longer get the hand crank turning fast enough :cry: ) but that's a different review.....

As I already had the batteries and charger, other items are far, far better price. I can just buy the bare tool. My trusty Jonsered Chainsaw was being repaired and I had lots to tidy up. I thought about the recip saw as I'd bought a 110v battered old version many years ago to cut our mobile homes into pieces to take to the scrapyard. However no electric in the woods and I knew that a generator would just be another big lump of equipment to take when popping over. Plus I doubt the Financial Director (wifey) would release the funds. Anyway... I digress. Another trip to the hardware shop and I had a good look at the 18v recip saw. It's sturdy, well made (I am very biased towards Makita in general) but not too heavy. I negotiated some long blades (I already have shorter ones) for wood and packed it in our last trip to the woods.

What I've found is that my wife likes to use it. It is great for snedding both on the ground and trimming to head height. It won't manage anything big (it is faster than a handsaw but way slower than any half decent chainsaw) but if you've just got a few bits to tidy up it's great as you only need the head protection and not the chainsaw boots/trousers. Often I only have a little bit of time or even a little bit of cutting up to do. I have a thing about making sure people have the right gear when working with me or near me so we found the recip saw very handy. We have a thin Sitka Spruce that have been leaning for a while and also a fair selection already on the ground. I am assuming this will only get worse as the wind resistance of the Sitka "pocket" of trees is weakened each time one goes down, so I envisage it getting plenty of use in the coming winters.

It would be an expensive purchase if you had to buy the batteries, case and charger with it (putting it well into decent small Husky/Stihl territory BUT if you already have the batteries etc then for around £100 we found it well worth it. You can always use the hand saw but various aches and pains means that our day in the woods is cut short as we're tired at the end of the day. After snedding there is still the dragging/burning/sorting/piling work to do so we are still getting plenty of exercise.

After several hours in the woods we had just started on the third battery when we called it a day. Obviously we weren't using the saw the whole time but it still lasted well.

It has a nice little hook to hang it off a branch rather than leaving it on the floor. The trigger can be locked off. Tool-less blade change. Standard blades seem to fit (don't have to buy named brands).

Specs (taken from Makita website).
Length of Stroke 1-1/8"
Max. Cutting Capacity (pipe) 5-1/8"
Max. Cutting Capacity (wood w/ 12" blade) 10"
Strokes Per Minute (variable speed) 0 - 2,900 SPM
Battery 18V LXT® Lithium-Ion
Battery Charge Time (minutes) 30
Overall Length 17-3/4"
Net Weight 7.9 lbs.

My Opinions
Value for money = 3.5 - 4 /5
Ease of use = 5/5
Battery life (18v) = 5/5
Charging time = 5/5
Safety = 5/5
Comfort = 3/5 (when working on the floor the handle isn't the most comfortable - or I should just bend more!)

Would I recommend it? Only if you had the batteries.
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Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:12 am

Re: Makita 18v LXT Reciprocating Saw

Postby Wendelspanswick » Sun Nov 02, 2014 11:42 am

Thank you for the indepth review. Can I ask what amp hour batteries you have in your Makita?
Funnily enough when our main source of firewood was scavenged pallets it was my job to source and transport the pallets while my other half would cut them up for the fire, she refused to use a chainsaw for this but was quite confident using a Makita reciprocating saw. She would use this to cut the pallets up into manageable chunks and then cut these into firewood sized pieces on the Radial Arm Saw.
Our reciprocating saw is a corded 110V version and I find it useful for rough cuts but rubbish at precision cuts. It was invaluable for cutting a new doorway through the blockwork wall of our house when we built the extension. We used a special TCT masonary blade and it performed the task admirably with minimal dust.
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Location: Somerset

Re: Makita 18v LXT Reciprocating Saw

Postby oldclaypaws » Sun Nov 02, 2014 1:02 pm

I spent quite some time perusing 18V Makitas (also a fan of the brand-they are robust and reliable) and also corded tools to use in green woodworking. I too acquired a Makita 18V drill and 4ah battery and quickcharger, knowing once you've the batteries there are many other useful tools like impact drivers, sanders, hedgetrimmers, etc. The new 5ah batteries have just become available for about £97 a throw.

I specifically wanted something to cut curved edges on chunky oak boards, and enquired about the reciprocating Saw. I was told its rather 'brutal', shakes a lot, is difficult to use with any accuracy, but is great for demolition and rough cutting. As such, if you wanted to hack brash, old fence panels, pallets, or indeed cutting off small side limbs quickly, I think its a good choice. Not exactly a 'pocket' tool, rather cumbersome. For small numbers of side branches or walking sticks I'll stick to my Bahco folding saw, but for large amounts of snedding and lopping it could be very useful. For my accurately cutting boards I ended up choosing a corded jigsaw, which does the trick- its a similar action to the reciprocating but a bit more subtle.
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Re: Makita 18v LXT Reciprocating Saw

Postby Landpikey » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:57 am

I'm at work for the next 2 weeks so can't get to the batteries to check Ah but I'll try to remember when I'm back.

The blade is key and as Wendelspanswick mentions - change the blade and it certainly has the power to lots more than just wood and metal. For the (corded 110v) saw we got for the caravans we got a "demolition" blade which cut through 2 x 28' x 10' mobile homes in very short time. Aluminium, wood and the steel chassis were no match for it. Got a lot of money back for the aluminium too from the scappy! :D That same blade still goes through wood but at a slightly slower speed than the pure "wood only" blade we bought with the cordless saw. What I'm thinking now is to use the demolition blade to cut the smaller trees stumps right down to the ground. If I scrape out some of the soil around one side of the stump and lay down a plastic animal feed bag to lay the saw on (it's still shiny after all!!!) I can cut the stump down to ground level. I've managed one small (10cm) tree with ease so far and with that blade in I wasn't too concerned about cutting soil/stones etc.

As Paws mentions it does vibrate a lot and only good for rough work. Anything detailed and you need the jigsaw with the shallower blades and the ability to get the weight onto the base of the saw to stop the vibration. However - if you could clamp the piece in place securely enough and hold the saw with both hands I'd feel confident in getting a reasonably curve with it.

Wendelspanswick - did you have any problems using the radial arm saw cutting to length? I was using my mitre saw (trying to cut some boards from a log to start having a go at wooden spoons) and wasn't holding the log firmly (my fault entirely :oops: ) and it kicked. :o :o :o
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Re: Makita 18v LXT Reciprocating Saw -> Chainsaw

Postby SimonFisher » Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:17 am

Landpikey wrote:What I've found is that my wife likes to use it. It is great for snedding both on the ground and trimming to head height. It won't manage anything big (it is faster than a handsaw but way slower than any half decent chainsaw) but if you've just got a few bits to tidy up it's great as you only need the head protection and not the chainsaw boots/trousers.

I have at least 10 of the tools from the Makita 18V range including the reciprocating saw (BJR181), but it wouldn't be my first choice for any tree work.

For anyone who already has the charger and batteries I'd suggest looking at the BUC122 (mini) chainsaw. It's great for small work without (in my opinion) the need to get into all of the safety gear that one might for using a regular chainsaw. I've removed the guard from the end of the bar (drill out the rivets) which restricts the amount of cut. It's a fantastic little tool and one that I wouldn't hesitate to replace if the need arose. It does get through battery charge quite quickly so you either need a good supply or a means of recharging. I've four new batteries, two reasonably good ones, and two that are almost end-of-life and only good for some of the lighter tools such as lights. I have charged batteries in the wood using a 12-volt supply and a power inverter. Note that the Makita charger does need a supply comparable to what you'd expect from mains electricity - so a pure sine wave inverter rather than a cheaper one.

Don't rush out and buy 4Ah and 5Ah batteries if you have older Makita 18V tools without checking compatibility - an improvement in the communication between tool and battery means that some older tools can't use the newer batteries. The colour of the plastic plate inside the tool's battery connector (black or yellow) and the presence or absence of a star will help determine compatibility.
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