Recently, we had to make room for a new boiler in a large basement mechanical room (about 1,200 square feet), and the ceiling was a snarl of abandoned galvanized water lines, ancient cast-iron drain lines, dozens of steel hangers, odd pieces of angle-iron, plus existing heating pipes, which needed to be rerouted. We started with the usual bimetal blades in our recip saws, but after an hour of teeth-rattling work, we were desperate for an alternative. That’s when a friend turned me on to Diablo’s Steel Demon carbide recip-saw blades. They’re a bit pricey—about $11 for a 6-inch blade; $15 for a 9-inch one. But they proved worth it on this job. We cut all day with two saws running two 6-inch blades, and the blades still seem to have life in them. The blades cut slower than bimetal ones, but they never snagged or rattled the saw. For this overhead work, that was a lifesaver. I wouldn’t use these thick carbide blades for light-gauge metal, like steel studs. But for heavier metal, they would be the first blade I’d grab.

Luis Peralta is a building manager in Brooklyn, N.Y.