Jigsaw Cutting Techniques

If I want to cut straight edges, I mark out the line, then use some G clamps and a straight bit of wood to make a guide for my jigsaw. I use mine to cut boards to rough length, cut panels out of larger pieces of sheet goods, cut the curves in template material when the path of the cut cannot be done on the bandsaw, etc.. Many times where, in the past, I would ordinarily break out the circ saw and lay foam panels on the ground and all that, I just hang the material over the edge of the bench on supports and jigsaw it.

LOL sounds familiar, i cut the sink opening from the top, tried to knock it out and discovered that the cut had run off by about an inch underneath, cut it from underneath to join the 2 cuts together and ended up with a cut outside the sink hole, luckily enough at the back where it can’t be seen and easily filled with sealant to keep the water out.

My jigsaw is donkeys old, inherited from my dad and the bit that holds the blade has a bit of play in it. The first couple of cuts were along the line ok but started with the jigsaw pointing along the line and ended up with the blade at a crazy angle to the body of the saw and the cut was like / and \. Nipped out and bought a new jigsaw, put a fresh blade in (the first one went zinging out halfway through a cut never to be seen again) and it was still a bit wonky, though not as bad.

The circular saw is better if you need to make a long cut (like if you’re cutting shapes out of plywood or are cutting something larger than the miter can reach across), but since you have to cut across with a circular saw, rather than down with the miter saw, there’s a better chance that the cut will be uneven or the board will sieze up around the blade.

Go slow, using short relief cuts to remove waste and ease the blade through the turn. The jig, shown in the Drawing above, consists of three parts: 1. A banjo-like-shaped base plate that mounts to the jigsaw or router. Avoid driving blades into the bench top (bending and breaking them) by using rails to raise the workpiece. You can make one starter hole for any shape of cutout, but for perfect slots with rounded ends, drill a hole at each end of the slot, using a bit that matches the slot’s width. Six-teeth-per-inch blades cut fast but rough; finer blades with 10 or more teeth per inch deliver smoother cuts.

Switch on the saw and pivot it on the shoe, gradually lower the blade into the wood until the tool is upright and the shoe is flat on the work. When you’re buying a new blade for your jigsaw it’s important to check the code as this is the first step in making sure it’s the right blade for the cut you want to make. This will also extend to using those blades for my Dremel MultiSaw Attachment for my Rotary Tools. It’s easy to pick the wrong blade, especially for novice DIYers, because jigsaw blades come in dozens of widths, lengths, and tooth configurations.

For corners or curves that are too sharp to turn with the blade you are using, backing up and restarting your cut several times near where you will turn the corner creates a wider kerf for the blade to turn in. Release the self-locking pliers and remove the chalk line from the wood paneling. Some of the features to look for are variable speed control, which allows you to customize each cut and to slow the blade down when you are at a tricky point of the cut. For building furniture, I keep the saw set to one.” This offers a good balance of a fine but aggressive cut.

With holes drilled the jigsaw blade can move freely through the material and begin cuts anywhere. I still use that method occasionally if I’m without proper tooling such as a water jet. She was helping my daughter install laminate flooring and I just thought the B&d jigsaw would be pretty fun for her. Always wear eye protection when using a jigsaw and enjoy this underrated woodworking power tool on your next project. It is true, there are a couple of things that the bandsaw can do that the jigsaw cannot.

I have to say that cuts are not perpendicular and the cutting operation can be hazardous when the blade binds to the wood. Most glaringly, the jigsaw in no way can facilitate re-sawing for veneer or maximizing thick boards. He then used a box cutter blade to score a groove along my line and then cut it. This served to guide the blade. I have a couple large projects for our huge walls in our stairwell that I would love to use that on.

I’d like to make a nice wooden marker for the location and this jigsaw would make the perfect curved cuts for the marker I’m considering. It can cut harder materials; however, it is more susceptible to damage from heat that builds up in the cutting process. If you’ve read our article on circular saws you’ve learned about making cutouts using the plunge-cutting technique. Cut sheet metal without shredding it by clamping the workpiece tightly between two thin sheets of plywood. Some materials such as wood benefit from a fast saw speed which reduces vibration, whereas other materials, such as metal, may get too hot and require a slower speed which also allows more control.

If you’re cutting metal, you’ll need thin sheets of plywood to go over and under the metal while you cut it. When cutting the tape used to mask the edges, you want to cut it precisely at the top edge of the material. Learn from my mistake and invest in at least a middle of the road model and save yourself the need to buy a new one when the cheap one doesn’t cut very well. Prevent the saw blade from binding on tight curves by using relief cuts to remove waste.

Stop each relief cut just a hair shy of the cutting line, so it intersects the outside of the blade’s path as the saw comes around. We used pressure treated southern yellow pine the first time and plan to use: 1) what we can of the old timbers; 2) new pressure treated yellow pine of varying sizes; 3) new composite non-organic decking. A blunt blade has to work much harder to cut which puts a tremendous strain on the motor.

And just to remind you that a jig saw isn’t just useful for wood-related projects, I’ve included this hanging flower heart decoration Jig saws are also useful for cutting other types of material like dense foam or styrofoam (it can even cut sheet metal!). If the backsplash interferes with the saw shoe and prevents making the cut, turn the countertop over to complete the cut from the underside.

For fine work demanding less chipping—in wood veneers, for example—choose a downstroke-cutting” blade (Photo 4). An alternative is to place painter’s or masking tape on the cutting line path before drawing on the pattern line. On the straighter cuts I use a circular saw and then go to my bench top disc sander with 40 grit to finish…makes pretty quick work. They will not cut as precisely as a circular saw, but they are much more affordable.

The trick is to begin with a starter hole: Mark the entire outline of your cutout, then drill a hole inside the lines, using a bit that’s slightly larger than the width of the jigsaw blade. The reason is that the guides are adjustable to the blade thickness using a set screw (not a spring), so they dont allow the blade to wander off course. Children can also be taught how to use a jigsaw and can be one of the first power tools they learn to use. The workpiece really does have to be held down very securely though in order for the jigsaw to do it’s job.

Relieve the pressure on the saw as you are about to finish a cut, to avoid sudden acceleration as the blade leaves the cut or kerf. To keep the saw blade in your control, start the blade moving away from the wood and don’t make contact until the blade has reached full speed. Now use the jigsaw to saw up to the edge of the hole and from there along the previously marked line.

Get to know your owner’s manual and all the safety recommendations specific to your jigsaw. The one additional piece of advice for a miter saw is to get a stand with extensions, trying to do an angle cut on a 8′ piece of 2×6 is tricky if you don’t have the extra support to hold the lumber in place. It’s best to use a fine-tooth or a high TPI blade, preferably a scrolling blade. When the blade is working hard to make a cut through the middle of a sheet of acrylic, the runout may be more of an issue than when just trimming a few thousandths off of the edge. The jigsaw is ideally suited for cutting perfect circles of virtually any size.