Jigsaw cutting techniques

Mr. HowToSpecialist March 1, 2012 Comments Off
Jigsaw cutting techniques

This article is about jigsaw cutting techniques. The jigsaw is a very useful power tool for any home owner, as you you can cut different materials of various thicknesses and even curved or perfectly straight lines. Therefore, we recommend you to consider buying a jigsaw if you need a cheap, durable and most importantly versatile cutting tool. From our experience, we can assert that you can do many woodworking, ceramic tile and metal projects, by using a jigsaw and several basic cutting techniques. The key of this impressive versatility is the fact that you are able to interchange the blades, according to the material you are going to cut. As you probably know, a jigsaw is also handy when installing a kitchen sink in a countertop or when having to saw a complex curvy pattern.


It is essential to wear eye protection when using a jigsaw. Even if you might think that you don’t need the safety glasses, we strongly recommend you wearing it, as chips may fly up during the procedure.

Establish from the very beginning the good side of the material you want to cut. After you have decided, make sure you place the blade of the jigsaw a little away from the cut line, towards the waste side of the board.

Before pressing the start button, you have to ensure the saw shoe (the metal base of the jigsaw) is set firmly and level on the material. Work with great care and hold the power tool strongly, otherwise you might obtain a poor cut.

Under any circumstances you should not force the jigsaw nor push the blade too hard. The jigsaw should cut the material at its own pace, according to the type and thickness of the material. If you force the blade, you might suffer serious injuries, as the blade might snap.

If you want to cut metal with a jigsaw, you should shut the dust blower off to avoid spreading the chips on the floor. In addition, we recommend you to read the instructions provided by the manufacturer, as to use the best lubricants for cooling the blade.

Set the speed of the jigsaw according to the material and its thickness. The new power tools come with this feature, so you should use it every time you have the opportunity. Therefore if you cut plywood, for example, you should set the speed at 1 or 0. On the other hand, when cutting metal or a thick wood, we usually set the speed at 2-3.

 

In order to make cuts with a jigsaw, you need the following:

Materials:

  • wood / metal / ceramic tile / plastic / laminate

Tools:

  • jigsaw
  • blades
  • C-clamps
  • straight edge / straight board
  • tape measure, pencil, L-square

Tips:

  • do not force the blade of the jigsaw
  • if you place the material with the finished face up, then use a blade with downward-oriented teeth
  • do not try to cut materials that are thicker than the jig saw’s capabilities

Time 

  • 5-10 minutes for a cut

 

Using a jigsaw

Jigsaw components

Jigsaw components

Jigsaws are one of the most versatile power tools, as you can cut virtually any shapes by using the appropriate blades. As you can see in the image, a jigsaw has several main components. Therefore,  a jigsaw should have a blade fitment where you can change easily the blades, a dust adapter to connect a dust bag or an extraction system for a cleaner, a start and a locking button, the metal shoe and a handle.

Buy a jigsaw with torque control, as to adjust the speed when cutting different materials or shapes.

Jigsaw blades

Jigsaw blades

As we have already emphasized, the best part about cutting with a jigsaw it’s the ability to interchange the blades. Therefore, you can use a blade with fine or coarse teeth for wood, or blades for metal, drywall or even ceramic tiles. On the other hand, there are blades with downward or upward-oriented teeth, as to make accurate cuts, according to the material.

Smart tip: When sawing tight curves, we recommend you to make relief cuts to remove the waste easier.

 

 Cutting a straight line with a jigsaw

Cutting a straight line with a jigsaw

Cutting a straight line with a jigsaw

Step 1: Draw the cut line on the material, using a carpentry square (or an L-square), a tape measure and a pencil. Check several times, as to make sure the line is perfectly straight and has the proper length.

Step 2: In order to make a perfectly straight cut, you should use a guide. Therefore, secure a straight edge or a straight piece of wood to the material, by using 2 C-clamps. Afterwards, make sure the blade of the jigsaw goes exactly over the cut line, at both ends.

Cutting a straight line with a jigsaw

Cutting a straight line with a jigsaw

Step 3: Secure the whole setup, before making the cut, otherwise you won’t have enough control over the jigsaw.

Step 4: Press the start button and cut the material, while holding firmly the jigsaw. Generally speaking, the jigsaw tends to wander due to its small blade, but if you guide it along the straight edge, you will obtain an accurate cut.

Step 5: Smoothen the edges and adjust them with a sand block, if necessary.

 

Cutting curved lines with a jigsaw

Cutting drywall with a jigsaw

Cutting drywall with a jigsaw

Step 1: Draw the curved line using a pencil. In our case, we had to build a drywall arch, therefore we marked the ellipse on the board.

 

Step 2: Place the blade of the jigsaw slightly away from the line, towards the waste side of the drywall board. Start the power tool and cut along the line, adjusting the speed if necessary.

 

Installing the metal stud arch

Installing the metal stud arch

Step 4: Evaluate the accuracy and the quality of the cut. If you have worked with patience and with great care, then your cut should be perfect. Next, finish the edges of the material, by using a sand block.

 

Smart tip: Remember that the blades play a significant role throughout the procedure. Therefore, you should use both the right jigsaw cutting techniques and proper blades. If you turn the material with its face up, then you have to use a blade with downward-oriented teeth. If you don’t have such a blade, you should place the material with its face down.

On the market there are blades for cutting wood, ceramic tiles, plastic, drywall or even metal. They aren’t expensive, therefore we recommend you to buy the ones which fit your needs best.

 

Jigsaw cutting techniques

Cutting laminate flooring with a jigsaw

Cutting laminate flooring with a jigsaw

Step 1: Draw the cut line on the laminate planks, by using a tape measure, an L-square and a carpentry pencil. Take accurate measurements, otherwise the planks won’t fit into place.

Step 2: Use another piece of laminate (with one straight edge) and lock it to your plank with several C-clamps. Before securing it, you should make sure the blade of the jigsaw goes exactly over the cut line, at both ends. If you place the laminate boards with the face up, use a blade with downward-oriented teeth.

Cutting laminate planks with a jigsaw

Cutting laminate planks with a jigsaw

Step 3: Asses the cut, making sure the blade hasn’t chipped the laminate finish, otherwise you have to redo the whole procedure. If you don’t have a blade with downward-oriented teeth, then you should translate the cut line on the back of the laminate board and cut it with a regular blade for wood.

Step 4: Fit the laminate board into position to see if you have cut it right.

 

Thank you for reading our guide on jigsaw cutting techniques and we recommend you to check the rest of our projects. Don’t forget to share our projects with your friends, by using the social media widgets.

 Related projects:

 How to cut wood straight

 How to make a dowel joint

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