The Ugly Skil 877/754-5999 skiltools.com Street price: $11 for a five-pack
When I'm on a deck or porch site, the way I usually figure out that a scraggly bush needs to be limbed or removed isn't by observation and planning. That'd be too smart.
Only after it's gouged my legs repeatedly, or I trip over the thing for the eighth time, do I get the idea and reach for a saw. Ditto with the errant branch that's tickling me as I try to raise a post, hang a gutter, or set a guardrail. And the 3-inch-diameter oak-tree root crowding the middle of a footing hole is another one of my favorite surprises.
Since I don't typically carry a chain saw - not that sticking one into a footing hole would be the brightest idea - I deal with Mother Nature's handiwork with my reciprocating saw. The saw is usually up to the task, but the typical six tooth-per-inch (TPI) bi-metal demolition blade isn't, which is why I load my toolbox with a few Skil Ugly blades.
The Ugly blades have deep gullets between the teeth, creating not only an aggressive cutting surface, but more important, room to clear chips from soaking wet and fibrous living limbs and roots that almost always gum up other blades.
The 9-inch-long, 5-TPI blades are ground very sharp. They're also my go-to blades for finishing off the shoulder cut on 6x6 posts for the exact same reasons mentioned above. They rip cut southern pine much faster than my other blades and are easier on me and the tool, which I'm thankful for at the end of the day.
Contributing editor Mark Clement builds decks in Ambler, Pa.