Introduction to Jigsaw for Woodworking

The jigsaw is arguably the go-to tool for professional carpenters and do-it-yourselfers since it can effortlessly cut through a variety of materials, including plywood, metal, plastics, synthetic foam, and wood, straight or beveled. Jigsaw and even fret works are frequently utilized in this industry. A decent jigsaw is one of a woodworker’s most versatile tools and may be utilized in a variety of ways. It may be used to cut out complex forms and patterns and can be used to cut through hard or soft woods and plastics in straight or curved lines.

A jigsaw works well for cutting straight lines in wood as well as curves and circles. Even plunge cuts through wood can be made with it. A plunge cut is a cutting technique where the saw is started without the blade contacting the wood. Then you start your cut by lowering the saw into the wood. Using this method, you can make holes in panels for light switches, outlet boxes, and other things. The jigsaw is frequently one of the first tools that woodworkers buy. And with good reason—this tool can be used to cut a wide range of materials.

Jigsaws come in a wide range of styles, from budget-friendly options to top-of-the-line versions. Speed, cut quality, and ease of usage are often the areas of variation. Typically, it pays to invest a little more in high-quality equipment. It takes specialized expertise and a lot of patience to work with wood. The instruments you need to accomplish the task can be fairly expensive, but if you plan to use these items frequently, the investment is worthwhile. You might want to think about including a jigsaw in your arsenal of equipment.

Jigsaw Uses

Jigsaws are used to make almost any kind of cut. Additionally, it can cut through any kind of material, including metal sheets, ceramic tiles, and wood. You’ll learn later that the settings on a jigsaw must be modified based on the material and the sort of cut. This will produce excellent results if the appropriate parameters are used.

2 Types of Jigsaws

  1. Top-Handle Jigsaw: The power switch and the speed control switch are located on a handle that is attached to the top of the motor. This kind makes it easy for DIYers and builders to use the saw for straight cuts, which explains why it’s so well-liked. This type’s only drawback is its curves and angles, which make it difficult to cut exact bevels and curves because you cannot see the cutting line or the blade while you are cutting. But with a little practice, you’ll be able to execute it accurately.
  2. Jigsaws with Barrel Grips: The second form lacks a separate handle; instead, the handle is the motor casing. This type is also widely used since it allows you to make exact cuts and makes it simple to use the tool to create curves and attractive cuts, such as those seen in furniture pieces. The circumference of the handle, which may be larger than the user’s hand and make it more difficult for him to operate, is the only disadvantage of this style.

Basic Components of a Jigsaw

Carpenter in workers apron holding electric jig saw on white background

A jigsaw’s various components and capabilities enable you to cut not only wood but also objects made of metal, plastic, and even ceramic. You can do bevel and plunge cuts in addition to straight and scrolling cuts, depending on the kind of jigsaw and blade you have. You might operate with a cord or a more portable power pack depending on whether your jigsaw is corded or cordless.

1. Blade: The blade is the functional end of the jigsaw. When the tool is held horizontally, the jigsaw reciprocates or rotates the blade quickly up and down. Jigsaws may be used on a variety of materials thanks to the various types of blades that are currently on the market. Because the teeth on general-purpose jigsaw blades point upward, the tool cuts on the upstroke.

Jigsaw blades with reverse teeth allow the tool to cut on the downstroke instead, which can result in a better cut finish if the workpiece is used with the good side facing up. Last but not least, there are jigsaw blades with sharp points that enable plunge cuts. Typically, jigsaw blades range in length from 3 14 inches to 4 inches. Jigsaw blades meant to cut through sandwiches of metal and wood can be as long as 10 inches, while heavy-duty blades for hardwood can be 6 to 7 inches long. Jigsaw blades can have a variety of teeth, which has a big impact on how the cut will look overall. High TPI (or teeth per inch) blades will typically provide a nicer finish and will allow you to cut at a slower rate.

2. Blade Clamp: The blade clamp mechanism holds the blade firmly in place in the jigsaw and makes sure that, even at high speeds, the blade will remain parallel to the cutting line. One of the two most common blade clamp methods will be included with the majority of jigsaws. The previous standard, known as U-clamps or Universal clamps, has a retaining screw that necessitates the use of a screwdriver each time a blade needs to be changed or removed. The T-clamp, also known as a multidirectional clamp, has a rapid-release system that enables you to swap replacement blades without going to your toolbox. Only one of these two clamp mechanisms will fit most blades. Jigsaws with mechanics that can accommodate both varieties of blades do exist, though.

3. The Blade Guard: Jigsaws typically feature a blade guard attached at the front of the blade made of translucent plastic or metal. In addition to preventing accidents, the blade guard helps protect sawdust and other particles from being ejected by the rotating blade and keeps them where your associated vacuum can easily pick them up.

4. Roller Guide: Similar to how bandsaw rollers help steady the blade, blade roller guides often take the shape of two rollers that hold the blade slightly above the shoe. The thinner jigsaw blades are prevented from bending and flexing by roller guides, which also prevents them from breaking too soon. In the past, roller guides were a feature reserved for expensive jigsaw models. However, nowadays, almost all mid-range jigsaws will include a blade guidance system.

5. The Dust Port Collector: If you attach a vacuum hose to a shop vacuum, many jigsaws also have a dust collection port that ejects dust and debris through and out of the back of the main body of the tool. If you are working with materials that release dangerous dust, such as formaldehyde gas from MDF boards, a jigsaw with a dust collection mechanism is strongly advised. A vacuum hose, on the other hand, can make it difficult for your jigsaw to move and might reduce the accuracy of your freehand cuts.

6. The Shoe: The jigsaw footplate or shoe aids in maintaining the same angle of the blade during the whole cut. The majority of jigsaw footplates are also movable, allowing you to set them at any desired angle to create bevel cuts up to a 45-degree inclination. Many adjustable footplates have a built-in lever that can be used to unlock and relock the shoe. However, some jigsaw shoes have locking screws that must be unlocked or relocked with a screwdriver or wrench. Additionally, the footplate could have rip fence slots for attaching a fence guide or a parallel cutting guide to the jigsaw’s shoe. These guides enable you to cut perpendicular to a material’s edge or next to a straightedge that is clamped.

Additionally, circular cutting guides that resemble beam compasses can be attached, allowing you to cut precise circles or circular arcs with a specific radius. A protective overshoe that you can wear while using the footplate may also be included to stop the instrument from harming sensitive materials like glass or polycarbonate plastic. Additionally, some jigsaws have a splinter guard that covers the footplate and only allows a small gap for the blade. When working with melamine or veneered workpieces, these splinter shields can assist hold the material down and reduce splintering and tear-outs.

7. Handle: The jigsaw handle makes it easier to hold the instrument while moving it along the cut. The top handle, often known as a bow handle or D-handle, is a feature that most jigsaw puzzles have. These handles enable the one-handed operation of the tool while providing access to the trigger switch and lock-on button. Some jigsaws also include a barrel grip, which enables you to use the tool’s main body as the handle. This enables you to operate the tool more precisely by guiding it with your hand closer to the footplate. Barrell grip jigsaws typically urge you to use the tool with both hands, and most also include a second knob at the front to help you hold it down. With the aid of a few accessories, certain jigsaws also allow you to switch the tool between a barrel grip and a top handle design.

8. Air Vents and Dust Blower on the Motor: It’s crucial to keep the little vents on the side of your jigsaw clear and unblocked as you use your tool because they’re meant to help the engine cool down. These air vents allow the motor’s air to be vented out, which helps keep it from overheating. In addition to air vents, certain jigsaws also employ the motor’s blower to remove dust.

9. The Dial for Variable Speed Control: You may regulate the maximum cutting speed of your jigsaw using the variable speed control dial. This dial is typically positioned either beneath the handle or above it, next to the on/off trigger. Once the maximum speed has been chosen using the dial, pulling the jigsaw trigger will only advance the blade up to that speed. Jigsaw blade speeds are measured in strokes per minute, or SPM, which may also be noted on the dial’s marking for the variable speed control.

10. On and Off Switch Trigger: The jigsaw is turned on or off by the trigger or on-off switch. The variable trigger found on the majority of jigsaw models allows you to adjust the blade’s speed; the deeper you depress the trigger, the swifter the blade moves. By allowing you to run the blade only as quickly as the dial’s current setting, these triggers also operate in tandem with a variable speed feature.

The first tool that springs to mind when it comes to woodworking is the jigsaw due to its flexibility and wide range of uses. A jigsaw makes cutting wood much simpler and less laborious for the user. Whether you are a DIY or a professional, the right jigsaw can make all the difference in completed your tasks quickly and with high quality.