How to Use a Jigsaw

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Jigsaws are an excellent tool for cutting through various materials, including wood, thin metal, ceramic, and masonry. The power tool allows you to make a variety of cuts, including straight lines, curves, bevels, and even plunge cuts.

Whether you are a DIY project enthusiast or a woodworker, you should know how to use a jigsaw. This power tool can make cutting jobs much easier and more efficient. What can take hours to saw by hand can be done in a few minutes using a jigsaw.

How to Use a Jigsaw in 5 Steps

Before we move to the steps of how to use a jigsaw, you must take all necessary safety precautions when using this power tool. You will need eye and ear protection. You should also remember that the jigsaw is a power tool and should not be used on wet surfaces or in wet conditions to prevent the risk of electric shocks.

What You’ll Need

  • Safety Equipment including safety goggles, ear muffs, dust mask, safety shoes
  • Stationery for marking such as pencils, set square, compass, etc.
  • The correct type of blade according to the job
  • Clamps
  • Jigsaw
  • Test workpiece

Step 1: Choose The Correct Blade

Depending on the material you plan to cut, you will have to select a different material and size of the blade. When searching for a blade, you will commonly come across two categories, wood, and metal. However, specialized blades are available for ceramic, tiles, fiberglass, and even soft materials, such as leather. It is essential to select the correct blade according to the material you are working on.

Blades are available in various sizes, and using a blade that is too short or too long will cause problems during cutting. It is best to select a blade with a cutting length 1 – 1½ inches longer than the material you plan to cut.

Another factor you will want to check is the direction of the teeth. Most blades come with teeth pointing upwards. However, if you plan to cut laminate or any material prone to tear, you can get reverse tooth blades for better results.

Step 2: Prepare the Jigsaw

Make sure the jigsaw is unplugged before placing the blade in. Some jigsaws require you to loosen a bolt using an Allen key to insert the blade. Modern jigsaws come with simple levers that can be flicked to remove and insert blades.

When installing a new blade, make sure that the teeth are in the right direction towards the front end of the power tool. Also, ensure that the blade is in position and properly secured before plugging the tool in.

Step 3: Prepare the Workpiece

It is good practice to use a pencil or a felt tip to mark the areas you plan to cut. If you need to cut in a straight line, a ruler will help. Similarly, if you plan to cut a square, at-square can make the job easier.

Jigsaws can cut curves. However, it is essential not to make the curves too sharp or tight. Pushing a blade along tight bends can end up bending the blade.

Make it a practice to secure the workpiece to a sturdy surface using clamps. This will ensure your cuts follow the desired path. If you are working on a large workpiece or making long cuts, you can always use more than one table to secure the piece and leave space between them to maneuver your jigsaw.

For small pieces, you can let a portion of the workpiece hang off the table’s edge.

Step 4: Making the Cuts

Before cutting, make sure that the jigsaw is plugged in and the cord will not interfere with the cutting process. The jigsaw needs to be lined up with the workpiece, but the blade should not be touching it when you first pull the trigger switch.

When you pull the switch, allow the blade to reach its full speed before letting it make contact with the workpiece. Keep a steady force to move the jigsaw along the workpiece to cut, but do not force it too much.

Allow the blade to make its way along the workpiece material naturally. Pushing it too much can cause the blade to get stuck, recoil, or even snap.

It is essential to ensure that the jigsaw footplate is always flat against the material. Lifting the footplate can cause the blade to bend or snap. Similarly, if you are going too fast or running over sharp bends, you can also damage the blade.

Step 5: Clean the Workpiece

After you’ve finished cutting, sand all edges of the workpiece to remove splinters, you can use a belt sander, orbital sander, or a handheld file, depending on the size and material you are working on.

Once the work is completed, unplug up the jigsaw and take out the blade. Make sure to store them in the correct place, where they will not come in contact with any moisture.

You can sweep the workpiece with a dry cloth or use a blower to remove the debris. If you have a substantial amount of scrap material, deposit it in one of your workshop’s designated scrap material sites.

Our Final Thoughts

Jigsaws are great for cutting wood, thin metal, tile, and masonry. They can cut in straight lines, curves, bevels, and even plunge cuts. Before you begin your project, it is essential to follow safety precautions. Start by selecting the correct blade according to the material you are working on and its size.

Using a pencil to mark guidelines to cut along can make the cutting job much easier. When marking the areas to cut, you can add curves and bends. But, it is essential not to make them too sharp as this can damage the blade.

Make sure that the workpiece is securely fastened to a sturdy surface before starting to cut it, and allow the blade to travel through the piece naturally rather than forcing it.

The jigsaw is a very versatile tool and when used correctly, it can make cutting easier and lead to quicker results.