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How to Use a Jigsaw

In this tool tip tutorial we are showing you how to use a jigsaw.

How to Use a Jigsaw

Hey! It’s Brent here today talking about how to use a jigsaw. The jigsaw is a fun tool that can really come in handy to allow you to create fun projects like our yoga mat rack we built last weekend.

It is a fairly easy tool to use but as with any tool it is helpful the more you understand about how a tool functions and the best way to use it.

Watch the video below or scroll down to see eight of my tips for getting started using a jigsaw.

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HOW TO Use A Jigsaw Tips

How to Use a Jigsaw

1. Safety Glasses and Ear Protection

It might seem self-explanatory but it is easy to forget to wear safety glasses, especially if you don’t normally wear glasses.

Believe me when I say the jigsaw is not a tool you want to risk it. Put on some safety glasses and eye protection before starting to cut.

How to Use a Jigsaw

2. Secure the Foot Plate

Grab your jigsaw and look for the screw or mechanism that locks the foot plate in place and double check that it is as tight as possible.

Most foot plates are designed to rotate allowing users to cut angles but rarely is that the desired application.

Usually if I ignore this step the screw will shake loose as I use the jigsaw and the plate will slowly rotate messing up my cut.

How to Use a Jigsaw

3. Choose the Correct Blade

All jigsaw blades are not created equally. Each jigsaw blade has a specific application and it is important to select a blade based on your material and cut design.

Left: Most blades are labeled by what type of material they cut and the type of cut. (i.e. wood/clean cut) The top two blades in the picture are for cutting wood and the bottom one is for cutting metal. Wide blades make it easier to cut straight lines while skinnier blades make it easier to cut curves.

Right: Be sure the cutting surface of the blade is at least one inch longer than the material is thick. As the jigsaw moves the blade up and down the blade can bend or break if it is too short and jams into the wood.

How to Use a Jigsaw

4. Clamp Your Project Down

Before starting to cut with a jigsaw always clamp the material to a solid work surface. It is difficult to hold the material steady and unsafe to grip the material being cut.

With the piece clamped down you can focus on the saw and where you are cutting without worrying about the work piece moving.

How to Use a Jigsaw

5. Keep Track of the Cord

It is easy to get in the zone when using a jigsaw. Often times the cord can get caught or pulled tight around the table or work piece and come dangerously close to the blade when doing curvy cuts.

Before turning the jigsaw double check that the cord is safely behind the saw and not under the piece being cut.

How to Use a Jigsaw

6. Cut from Outside to Inside

Start by cutting away the material that surrounds the outside of the object. Leaving the inside until the end helps keep the work piece strong and prevent breakage.

How to Use a Jigsaw

7. Drill Holes for Internal Cutting

To cut out internal shapes without cutting through the outside of an object drill a hole larger than the width of the jigsaw blade.

With holes drilled the jigsaw blade can move freely through the material and begin cuts anywhere.

How to Use a Jigsaw

8. Make Multiple Cuts

Even when you use the skinniest blade for curvy cuts there are times when the jigsaw just can’t turn quick enough.

The trick cutting out small objects with tons of curves is to make multiple cuts in the same location from different angles.

I hope these tips help you get started using a jigsaw. If you have any specific questions about how to use a jigsaw, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I would be happy to answer them.

Feel free to check out our additional tool tips about choosing the right drill bit and how to use a biscuit joiner.

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How to Use a Jigsaw

  1. Great tips – thanks for sharing! It is really important to have these in mind before getting started with a jigsaw – actually any power tool! I learned it the hard way that rushing into things will never ever work.

  2. I am new to using a jigsaw and I need a u-shank blade. The one that was in the jigsaw has a hole in it and the new ones that I have looked at do not. Do I need the blades with the holes? I have looked online, but cannot seem to get a definite answer.

    • If your jigsaw has a screw that screws through the blade holder (found mostly on older jigsaws) than you need the u-shank blades with a hole. If there is no screw and your jigsaw has a clamp mechanism that hold the blade with no screw you can use u-shank clades with or without the hole.

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