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Best Reciprocating Saws of 2023

Updated
Get the best reciprocating saw to do the work for you.

It is easy to take power saws for granted at times, but they have made an enormous difference to how we cut materials. Tasks that would have previously taken several minutes can now be completed in seconds, without physical exertion.

Reciprocating saws are among the most versatile saw types that are available. They are particularly useful for demolition, construction, and remodeling tasks, combining the precision of a knife with the cutting power of a power saw.

With many models to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. That is why we have reviewed seven of the best reciprocating saws that are available today, chosen for their cutting power, precision, and how user-friendly they are.

Our Top Picks

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Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the DEWALT Reciprocating Saw, 10-Amp (DWE304)
Best for Metal
DeWALT DWE304 10-Amp Saw
  • Variable speed control
  • Various blade positions
  • Heavy-duty
Product Image of the DEWALT Reciprocating Saw, Corded, 12-Amp (DWE305)
Best Corded Reciprocating Saw
DeWALT DWE305 Corded Saw
  • 120-volt motor
  • Toolless blade replacement
  • Speed control trigger
Product Image of the DEWALT 20V MAX* Cordless Reciprocating Saw Kit, 5 Amp-Hour Battery (DCS387P1)
Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw
DeWALT DCS387P1 Cordless Saw
  • Weighs 7 pounds
  • 20-volt battery
  • Variable speed setting
Product Image of the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* POWERCONNECT 7/8 in. Cordless Reciprocating Saw (BDCR20B)
Best Budget Reciprocating Saw
Black+Decker 20V MAX Saw
  • Heavy-duty
  • 3,000 strokes per minute
  • Ideal for confined areas
Product Image of the Makita XRJ04Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Recipro Saw, Tool Only, Blue
Best for Professionals
Makita XRJ04Z 18V Lithium-Ion Saw
  • Compact and easy to use
  • Refined crank mechanism
  • Rubberized handle
Product Image of the Milwaukee 6519-31 12 Amp Corded 3000 Strokes Per Minute Reciprocating Sawzall w/ Variable Speed Trigger
Best for Demolition
Milwaukee 6519-31 Corded Sawzall
  • Durable 120-volt motor
  • Counterweighted
  • Includes a carry case
Product Image of the Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 18-Volt Sawzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw (Tool Only, No Battery)
Best for Pruning Trees
Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 Sawzall
  • Long-lasting 18-volt battery
  • Toolless blade replacement
  • 5-year Warranty


Product Reviews

Finding the right reciprocating saw for the job can be daunting, especially if you aren’t sure which models are the most suitable for specific tasks. To help you, we have reviewed seven of the best reciprocating saws that are currently available. We chose these saws for their cutting power, size, weight, and how easy they are to use.

1. DeWALT DWE304 10-Amp Reciprocating Saw

Best Reciprocating Saw for Metal

This DeWALT reciprocating saw is ideal for cutting metal thanks to its powerful 10-amp motor.

A four-position blade clamp enables you to cut from various angles. There is also a fixed shoe for improved stability and cutting accuracy, as well as a keyless blade clamp for quick, easy blade replacement.

The saw makes up to 2,800 strokes per minute and has a variable speed trigger that allows you to adjust the speed to effectively cut through materials while maintaining control.

This versatile reciprocating saw can be used to cut:

  • Wood
  • Light to heavy gauge metals
  • Plaster
  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Fiberglass
  • Composite material

What We Like

Variable Speed Control

This saw has a switch that allows you to easily adjust the speed to suit your preferences and the specific task you are working on. You will be able to make cuts in various materials without having to switch to a different tool.

Versatile

You can replace the saw blade by pulling a lever, without needing any extra tools. You can also install the blade in different positions, which will allow you to cut materials at various angles, increasing the saw’s versatility.

Ideal for Heavy-Duty Projects

The 10-amp motor makes this saw a great option for heavy-duty projects. It will be able to cut through tough materials while active for prolonged periods.

Affordable

Despite being versatile and powerful, this saw won’t break the bank. This is a major positive as most saws that are suitable for heavy-duty projects are quite expensive.

What We Don't Like

Excessive Vibration

Reciprocating saws are prone to vibrations when cutting, and as they are handheld this will affect their accuracy. Some customer reviews mention this saw vibrating more than expected during use.

Product Specs

Product Dimensions 19.2 x 9.4 x 4 inches
Material Plastic
Warranty 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
Weight 7 pounds
Type Corded

2. DeWALT DWE305 Corded Reciprocating Saw

Best Corded Reciprocating Saw

This DeWALT 120-volt reciprocating saw is well-suited to professional work. It has a maximum speed of 2,900 strokes per minute, with a stroke length of 1 inch to 1.8 inches for fast and efficient cutting.

Replacing the blade of the DeWALT DWE305 is quick and easy as it features a toolless lever-action blade clamp. The rubber handle makes it comfortable to hold for prolonged cutting.

For greater versatility, you can adjust the cutting tempo with the variable speed trigger, helping you match it to the material you are working on.

What We Like

Ideal for Heavy-Duty Projects

The 120-volt motor and 2,900 strokes per minute mean this saw is ideal for heavy-duty projects. Its powerful motor means it will be able to cut through tough materials and cope with extended use.

Easy Blade Replacement

You don’t need to buy any extra tools to replace this saw’s blade. It is easy to remove and replace.

Speed Control

The saw has a trigger that regulates the speed of its strokes to suit the material you’re cutting through.

What We Don't Like

Overheating Issues

Some users were concerned about the saw overheating, as this could shorten the life of the blade and motor and make the tool uncomfortable to hold.

Quite Heavy

At 8 pounds, some users find this saw too heavy to hold up for sustained use. This will depend on the individual user, but it does mean the saw requires some extra arm strength to use.

Product Specs

Product Dimensions 19.2 x 9.4 x 4 inches
Material ABS
Warranty 3-year limited warranty
Weight 8 pounds
Type Corded

3. DeWALT DCS387P1 20-Volt Cordless Reciprocating Saw

Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw

As well as being cordless and suitable for tight areas, this reciprocating saw is compact and lightweight at just 6.4 pounds. This will allow you to use it for prolonged periods without placing a strain on your arms.

It has a 4-position blade clamp that allows for flush cutting with a fast cutting speed of up to 2,900 strokes per minute. If you need to cut in dimly lit environments, this model has an LED light that will help you see what you are doing.

Given its total length is 14.5 inches, the DCS387P1 can fit into tight, confined spaces. It also has a durable 20 lithium-ion battery, which is ideal for constant use over long periods.

What We Like

Lightweight and User-Friendly

This saw is compact and lightweight at 7 pounds, making it very easy to use. Heavy tools will make your hands and arms tire more quickly, so this is a great option for prolonged tasks.

High-Voltage Battery

Battery-powered tools are generally believed to be less powerful than their cable alternatives. However, this DeWALT saw’s 20-volt battery is powerful and durable, so you won’t have to trade power for greater freedom.

Variable Speed Setting for Faster Cutting

You can adjust the speed to suit the material you are cutting, helping you work faster and more efficiently. This will help you find the right balance between power and easy handling.

What We Don't Like

No Anti-Vibration Technology

Some user reviews mention struggling to make accurate cuts due to the saw vibrating too much during use. There are also some complaints that it is too noisy.

Product Specs

Product Dimensions 14.8 x 3.5 x 7.5 inches
Material Plastic
Warranty 3 years
Weight 7 Pounds
Type Cordless battery

4. Black+Decker 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw

Best Budget Reciprocating Saw

This Black+Decker reciprocating saw is affordable, but that doesn’t mean it is cheap in terms of quality or performance. Its 20-volt battery gives you freedom of movement and versatility without sacrificing power.

Tool-free blade replacement means you can change the blade quickly and easily. The pivoting shoe makes the saw easier to use and keeps it stable even when cutting at an angle.

It has a variable speed trigger to change the stroke rate, up to a maximum of 3,000 strokes per minute. The saw includes a blade with a 7 to 8-inch stroke length and a keyless blade clamp.

What We Like

Affordable

Compared to similar saws, this Black+Decker saw is affordable. It will provide excellent cutting power while being budget-friendly. However, this is largely due to it not including a battery.

Heavy-Duty

Despite being affordable, owners praise the cutting power of this Black+Decker saw. It will trim trees and cut through metal bolts with ease.

Ideal for Confined Areas

As it is compact and lightweight, this saw is ideal for home use, especially when working in tight areas such as around your plumbing.

What We Don't Like

Batteries Not Included

The battery and charger are sold separately from the saw, adding to the overall cost. Most cordless saws include a battery, but you could save money if you already have a suitable Black+Decker battery for other tools.

Product Specs

Product Dimensions 15.6 x 3.4 x 7.1 inches
Material Plastic
Warranty 2-year limited warranty
Weight 3.9 pounds
Type Cordless

5. Makita XRJ04Z 18V Lithium-Ion Cordless Recipro Saw

Best Reciprocating Saw for Professionals

The Makita XRJ04Z is a durable, powerful saw. As it is cordless, it is ideal for tight spaces that lack access to a power supply. Its 18-volt lithium-ion slide battery has a sufficient life to get you through long tasks on a single charge.

Despite being smaller than many of its high-end competitors, it provides plenty of cutting power to complete tasks quickly and smoothly. It has a maximum speed of 2,800 strokes per minute and won’t overheat during prolonged use.

With a variable trigger that allows you to control the speed and a toolless blade replacement mechanism, this saw combines power and convenience. The stroke length is between 1 and 1.4 inches for fast, smooth cutting.

What We Like

Compact and Easy to Use

This Makita saw is compact and easy to use. Despite weighing 8 pounds, its design means it is comfortable to hold and shouldn’t fatigue your hands and arms as quickly as most of its competitors.

Refined Crank Mechanism

This saw features a refined crank mechanism, designed to minimize blade deflection and reduce vibrations.

Comfortable

The soft rubberized handle provides a strong and comfortable grip while cutting. This complements how compact the saw is and ensures it is as easy to use as possible.

What We Don't Like

Battery & Charger Not Included

Unfortunately, you will need to buy the saw’s battery and charger separately, increasing its overall cost.

Product Specs

Product Dimensions 4.7 x 20.5 x 8.6 inches
Material ABS
Warranty 3-year limited warranty
Weight 7.9 pounds
Type Cordless

6. Milwaukee 6519-31 120-Volt Corded Reciprocating Sawzall

Best Reciprocating Saw for Demolition

This Milwaukee corded saw’s impressive power and size mean it is a great choice for demolition jobs. It features a 120-volt motor and a blade speed of up to 3,000 strokes per minute, enough to cut through almost any material you are likely to encounter.

Thanks to its Quick-Lock system, the blade can be replaced using three easy steps: pulling the latch, replacing the blade, and then closing the latch.

The gear-protecting clutch is a unique feature that defends the inner components, prolonging the saw’s lifespan. This also allows it to cope with the demands of heavy-duty demolition work.

What We Like

Powerful and Durable

The saw’s 120-volt motor and blade speed of up to 3,000 strokes per minute make it powerful and durable enough for the rigors of demolition projects.

Counterweighted to Reduce Vibrations

An internal counterweight reduces the vibrations caused by the blade’s movement. This helps ensure greater control when cutting.

Carry Case

This product includes a carry case that is ideal for convenient storage and transportation. The case should also reduce the amount of maintenance required and increase its long-term durability.

What We Don't Like

Expensive

This Milwaukee saw is more expensive than most of its competitors, despite having similar features and performance. However, it does include a carry case.

Product Specs

Product Dimensions 22.3 x 11.1 x by 5.3 inches
Material Plastic
Warranty Warranty available on request
Weight 7.1 pounds
Type Corded

 


7. Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 18-Volt Sawzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw

Best Reciprocating Saw for Pruning Trees

This cordless reciprocating saw from Milwaukee is perfect for pruning trees as it is powered by an 18-volt high-capacity lithium-ion battery. Being cordless is essential for pruning as you are unlikely to have access to a power outlet without using a long extension cable.

The saw also features a gear-protecting clutch, increasing its durability and ensuring it continues to work smoothly. This also reduces the strength of impacts and vibrations that the user feels.

For quick, simple blade replacement, the included clamp is very useful. When combined with the speed trigger, this is a versatile saw that will help you complete your tasks quickly and safely.

Quick Tip

If you are pruning trees, make sure you use a pruning blade instead of a standard blade.

What We Like

Quick-Charging and Long Battery Life

The 18-volt battery is ideal for extended use, which is very important when using a cordless saw. User reviews praise the short recharge time, so the saw won’t need to be out of action for long between jobs.

Easy and Fast Blade Change

Replacing the blade is quick and straightforward as no extra tools are required. If you need the saw for multiple tasks, this versatility will be very helpful, but it is less important if you only want it for pruning.

5-Year Warranty

Milwaukee provides a 5-year warranty with this saw, which is very generous for a power saw. Most of its competitors are only protected by 3-year warranties, so this is a mark of Milwaukee’s confidence in its products.

What We Don't Like

Obstructed View

Some owners report that the large rubber column at the front of the saw obstructs their view when cutting with it.

Product Specs

Product Dimensions 18.9 x 6.4 x 3.9 inches
Material Rubber
Warranty 5-year limited warranty
Weight 1 pound
Type Cordless

Product Comparison Chart

Product Best Dimensions Material Warranty Weight Type
DeWALT DWE304 10-Amp Saw Metal 19.2 x 9.4 x 4″ Plastic 3-years 7 lbs Corded
DeWALT DWE305 Corded Saw Corded 19.2 x 9.4 x 4″ ABS 3-year limited 8 lbs Corded
DeWALT DCS387P1 Cordless Saw Cordless 14.8 x 3.5 x 7.5″ Plastic 3-years 7 lbs Cordless
Black+Decker 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw Budget 15.6 x 3.4 x 7.1″ Plastic 2-year limited 3.9 lbs Corded
Makita XRJ04Z 18V Lithium-Ion Saw Professionals 4.7 x 20.5 x 8.6″ ABS 3-year limited 7.9 lbs Cordless
Milwaukee 6519-31 Corded Sawzall Demolition 22.3 x 11.1 x x 5.3″ Plastic Available on request 7.1 lbs Corded
Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 Sawzall Pruning Trees 18.9 x 6.4 x 3.9″ Rubber 5-year limited 1 lb Cordless

What Is a Reciprocating Saw?

Power saws are designed to cut through material without the user having to physically move the saw back and forth. This means cutting tasks that would have been physically demanding and taken several minutes or even hours can now be completed quickly and with far less effort.

Reciprocating saws are handheld saws with narrow blades that are designed to pierce through materials and cut them accurately. They are similar to a handheld jigsaw with a great deal of cutting power that makes them ideal for cutting drywall into shape.

A reciprocating saw is a powerful, versatile tool that is ideal for cutting:

  • Wood
  • Ceramics
  • Plaster
  • Drywall
  • Metal

What Are Reciprocating Saws Used For?

Reciprocating saws are part of the tool collections of many professionals and passionate DIYers. They are mainly used for demolition, cutting, and ripping materials with ease. As they are handheld, they are also ideal for cutting drywall into shape.

Thanks to their comfortable grip, exposed blade, and simple design, reciprocating saws are used in various projects:

Plumbing and HVAC

You are unlikely to encounter a plumber or HVAC worker without a reciprocating saw in their tool collection. The main reason reciprocating saws were innovated was to provide a powerful cutting tool for tight spaces.

Plumbing work, such as cutting bathroom pipes, can be difficult as other pipes might get in the way. The surrounding space is probably also tight, so you won’t be able to use a larger power tool. Reciprocating saws are small enough to maneuver the blade onto the pipe and quickly cut it.

The same applies to HVAC — heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. As these systems are usually located inside walls and ceilings, there is very little space to work in. Reciprocating saws can access those areas and cut through the required materials without much space to work.

Window-Fitting

Accuracy is essential when cutting for home improvement tasks such as window openings. If the measurements are off by even an inch, you might need to make significant alterations to the wall to make the window fit. The same applies when making window frames.

A reciprocating saw has the precision necessary to make accurate cuts., instead of having to start over and waste time and materials.

Construction and Demolition

Reciprocating saws are often used in construction and demolition work, where dismantling, tearing, and cutting are required. They also enable you to make accurate cuts into walls and studs, without affecting the surrounding surface. This might be less fun than using a sledgehammer but it will be far less physically demanding and make your work much neater.

Emergency Rescue Services

Reciprocating saws aren’t only useful for construction and demolition work; they can also save lives. They are small but their protruding blades have a lot of power. This makes them ideal for making precise cuts in materials in tight spaces such as cars and elevators to rescue anyone that has become trapped.

Yard Work

A reciprocating saw is an ideal tool for general work around your backyard or garden. Its size makes it suitable for trimming small trees, cutting branches, and removing any unwanted growth. If you will primarily be working outside, we recommend buying a cordless reciprocating saw.

Cordless vs. Corded Reciprocating Saws

As with most power tools, reciprocating saws are available in two types: corded and cordless.

The battery packs for cordless saws are 9 or 12 volts, with the capacity varying from model to model. As cordless reciprocating saws use battery power, they allow you to make cuts anywhere. You won’t need to stay close to a power socket.

Despite being more restrictive, corded reciprocating saws possess more power due to their direct electric power source. This means they are more suitable for heavy-duty cutting than cordless saws.

Although cordless reciprocating saws provide more freedom, you will have to deal with the hassle of the battery running out. You can minimize this by buying a high-quality saw and keeping a spare battery charged. However, this will cost extra money, so it is usually best to choose a corded saw if you will mostly be cutting indoors.

How to Choose (Buying Guide)

You will have many reciprocating saws to choose from, so it can be challenging to know which models are the best. You can narrow your search significantly by considering the aspects below. Just one of these features could make or break your choice of saw:

Motor

If you decide to buy a cordless reciprocating saw, you should choose a brushless motor. They have a longer lifespan and are more efficient than brushed motors, although they will cost more to buy.

Battery

Reciprocating saw batteries are available in various voltages — 12, 18, 20, 24, 28, and 36. There is a significant difference between the heavy-duty power of a 36-volt battery and a less intense 12-volt one. Try to choose a saw that will perform the tasks you need it for without breaking the bank.

Voltage Matters

If you need high power and performance for a professional job, choose a battery with a higher voltage. DIYers should be able to choose a lower-voltage model for the majority of tasks around the home. Keep in mind that a higher-voltage battery will usually run out more quickly.

Stroke Length and Speed

The stroke length measures how far the blade moves when cutting. This is usually between 1 and 1.8 inches.

Stroke speed is how many times the blade moves back and forth in a minute of cutting. An average stroke speed is between 2,600 and 3,300 strokes per minute.

If you want a versatile saw that will be suitable for most tasks, a great combination is:

  • Length: 1 inch
  • Speed: 3,000 strokes per minute

You can also consider a mini or compact reciprocating saw. These are designed for tight spaces and plumbing work as they have shorter stroke lengths and higher speeds.

Blade Changes

Avoid reciprocating saws that require a tool for blade replacements. Most modern reciprocating saws allow you to simply remove the blade and attach another one without using any tools.

Some saws include a lock that secures the blade after you attach it, which will make it safer to use. Others have a tool that ejects the blade when it becomes hot due to friction.

Adjustable Shoe

The shoe is the part of a reciprocating saw that keeps it stable and reduces vibrations during use. It also holds the saw in place and can be adjusted to change the blade angle. We recommend always trying to find an adjustable shoe as this will allow you to utilize the blade properly and make your saw far more versatile.

Speed Trigger

The stroke per speed number on the packaging or in the product description is the maximum speed the saw can reach. Choose one with a trigger that allows you to adjust the speed to cut through the material as you want it to.


How to Use a Reciprocating Saw

1. Choose the Blade

Reciprocating saws can use several blade types, so you need to choose the right one for the material you are cutting. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the different types of reciprocating blades.

Types of Blades

Here are the recommended blades for different materials:

  • Metal pipes and nails: Fine-tooth blade; resembles a hacksaw.
  • Wood: Coarse blade.
  • Plaster or drywall: Very coarse blade.
  • Stone, ceramic, or cast iron: Toothless blade coated with tungsten carbide abrasive grit.

Keep In Mind

You don’t always have to choose the specific reciprocating saw blade for the job if you are working at home. For example, you can save time by using the same tough blade for cutting wood and any metal nails it contains. However, for heavy-duty professional work, you should always try to use a specialist blade.

Blade Size

The average blade size for reciprocating saws is 6 inches. However, there are smaller jigsaw-type blades and larger ones of up to 12 inches to ensure you can complete your work as quickly and neatly as possible.

Remember

Always ensure your chosen blade size is compatible with your reciprocating saw. You don’t want to purchase a blade and saw only to find that they won’t work together.

2. Insert Blade

To insert the blade correctly:

  1. Slide it in: Slide the end of the blade into the front part of the saw until it won’t go any further.
  2. Clamp: Use the blade clamp to secure the blade in place and ensure it won’t move when you turn the saw on later.

3. Adjust the Shoe

This isn’t essential, but it can be a good idea to tilt the shoe slightly when cutting hard materials. This will give the blade a sharper angle.

How the shoe is aligned will also influence blade depth. This is particularly important if you are cutting any material where you can’t see the other side of it. It is best to cut with a shorter blade to reduce the risk of damaging the surrounding material.

4. Squeeze the Trigger

With the saw set up, simply press the trigger to activate it and start cutting. Make sure you ease into it at a low speed, then gradually increase the strokes per minute when you feel comfortable with how you are cutting.

5. Continue Cutting

Try to maintain consistent pressure throughout the cutting process. Keep a steady grip and you should be able to complete your cut smoothly and safely.

6. Blade Maintenance

As reciprocating saws are often used for heavy-duty work or cutting through tough materials, it is inevitable that their blades will dull, potentially quite quickly. They are designed with this in mind, so you should be able to replace the blade quickly and easily as soon as you notice that it is no longer cutting effectively.

It is also possible that the blade will bend during use. If this happens, you can remove it and hammer it flat again. Alternatively, if the dent is near the tip of the blade, you can simply cut off the damaged piece. A short blade will be far more useful than a defective one that makes messy cuts and ruins material.

Reciprocating Saw FAQs

Is a Reciprocating Saw the Same Thing as a Sawzall?

Reciprocating saws are referred to by many names, including “recipe saw”, “hognose”, and “Sawzall”. Sawzall is the brand name for the early reciprocating saw produced by the Milwaukee company. Due to the saw’s influence and popularity, Sawzall is frequently used to refer to all reciprocating saws.

How to Cut Straight With a Reciprocating Saw

  1. Mark the area you want to cut with a marker or tape.
  2. If you don’t need to mark your cut, simply hold the reciprocating saw securely and apply some pressure using your torso.
  3. Try to apply pressure with your entire body, not just your arms.
  4. Squeeze the trigger gently and build up the speed as required.

Do Reciprocating Saw Blades Fit All Saws?

Reciprocating saw blades are universal and designed to fit all reciprocating saws. If you have recently replaced your saw, you should be able to continue using any blades you purchased for your previous saw

How to Change the Blade on a Reciprocating Saw

  1. Before removing the blade, unplug the saw and put on gloves and any other safety equipment.
  2. Depending on the saw’s design, you might need a flathead screwdriver. If you do, use it to loosen the screw and slowly remove the blade. Otherwise, use the saw’s built-in blade release.
  3. Insert the new blade and either tighten the screw again or fasten the saw’s blade release.

Can a Reciprocating Saw Cut Trees?

A reciprocating saw is excellent for cutting branches off trees, but you will need to use pruning blades to avoid damaging them or wearing out the saw. Make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions to avoid hurting yourself or anyone else.

What Wood Thickness Can a Reciprocating Blade Cut?

The average reciprocating saw blade can cut through wood up to 5 inches thick. Anything thicker might require a chainsaw, so try not to push your reciprocating saw too hard.


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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.