What Is A Jigsaw For?
Jigsaws are quite possibly the most versatile wood cutting tool you can own.
With a jigsaw, you can cut straight lines and complex curves. You can also make bevel cuts up to 45° in a straight line and even in curves.
Wood is not the only material you can cut with a jigsaw. It can be used for cutting virtually any construction material, including the following:
- all types of wood
- medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
- sheet metal
- ceramic tile
The most significant limitation to the jigsaw is how deep it can cut, and that is determined by the length of the jigsaw blade.
Jigsaw blades are available so you can cut up to 6-inch material, but the average depth of cut is one and a half to 2 inches.
How does a jigsaw work?
Jigsaws are a simple reciprocating saw driven by an electric motor.
The teeth on the jigsaw blades are angled upwards toward the saw, so as the blade moves upward, the wood is cut.
NOTE: Reciprocating: means the blade goes up-and-down, in-and-out or back-and-forth.
What are the parts of a jigsaw?
- Variable speed trigger: As you squeeze the trigger, the speed of the motor increases from around 800 to 3000 RPM
- Trigger lock button: Holds the trigger in place for continuous cutting
- Blade ejection switch: A button or switch that ejects the jigsaw blade from the blade clapping mechanism
- Blade clamping mechanism: Holds the jigsaw blade in place
- Blade guard: Prevent an accidental finger, or anything else from slipping into the saw blade
- Blade roller guide: Keeps the blade aligned and supported
- Orbital control knob: Controls the amount of orbital action for the sawblade
- Blower on-off switch: On some models this switch controls how much air is allowed to blow sawdust out of your line of cut
- Shoe or foot plate: The flat plate that supports the saw and rides on top of any material you're cutting
- Bevel adjustment: Changes the bevel angle of the shoe from 0° to 45°
- Air vents: Draw air into the motor to cool it and prevent overheating
- Dust collection port: (not pictured) Some models have a round sawdust exhaust port that can be connected to a dust collector or extraction system
Types of jigsaws
Corded and cordless jigsaws are available. You can find an excellent jigsaw model available in both versions.
Brushed and brushless motors are also available in jigsaws with the higher end and newer tools using brushless motors.
What is orbital action?
A lot of jigsaws now have what is called an "orbital action" to the saw blade. This means as the blade moves up-and-down, it also follows a slightly elliptical pattern.
This "orbital" pattern can be adjusted depending on the type of material, the speed of cut and, the smoothness of the cut you want.
- Orbital action is excellent for making fast cuts in softer materials, where the smoothness of the cut is not a concern.
- For cutting hardwoods and metal, the orbital action should be turned to a minimum or entirely off depending on the hardness of the material.
How to use a jigsaw
I love the simplicity of the jigsaw. It is one of the most straightforward power tools to use.
The jigsaw is also an excellent first power tool for anyone who has never used them before. Just follow these simple steps:
- As with all power tools, be sure to wear eye protection and hearing protection and follow shop safety practices.
- Before using your jigsaw, be sure you have the appropriate blade for the material you plan to cut.
- Check the shoe of your jigsaw to make sure the bevel adjustment is set to the proper angle.
- Your material should be marked with a clear line for you to follow.
- Place the front edge of the shoe on the material to be cut and line the cutting edge of the blade up with the cutting mark, but NOT touching the material.
Note: Always start the sawblade before letting it contact the cutting material. Not doing so can result in damage to your tool and personal injury.
- Activate the blade by pulling the trigger and slowly guide the moving blade into your line of cut. Be sure to keep the shoe flat against the cutting surface.
- For cutting straight lines, the use of a fence or guide rail is very helpful. Since jigsaws have such a narrow blade, they are harder to control when making perfect straight-line cuts.
Taking just a few minutes to care for your tools will keep them in top working condition for years to come.
- Make sure you have the correct blade for the material you're cutting and that it is installed securely.
- If your jigsaw has a power cord, inspect it for cuts or cracks. If the cord has any bare or frayed wires, it is unsafe for use.
- Ensure battery-operated jigsaws are fully charged.
- Unplug the tool or remove the battery and use a small brush to clean sawdust from the blade clamping mechanism, blade, and guide rollers.
- Brush any dust or debris away from the motor air vents, and generally ensure your tool is clean. This will prevent your jigsaw from overheating in the future.
- Any dirt, grease, or oil can be removed using a damp cleaning cloth and mild detergent. Just ensure no water gets inside the motor housing.
- Keep your jigsaw stored in a tool bag or plastic carrying case to keep it away from dust and moisture.
- Jigsaw blades: There is a blade design for cutting just about every material you can imagine.
- Choosing the correct blade is as simple as reading the package label and making sure it has the proper shank design.
- Jigsaw shank: The jigsaw shank fits into the blade clamp mechanism.
Note: It is essential to know what type of shank your jigsaw requires. It will be either a T-Shank or Universal Shank.
A simple fence attachment that is clamped to the shoe of your jigsaw. It aids in cutting a straight line when you have a straight edge on the wood that you are cutting.
Circle cutting guide:
Clamped to the shoe of your jigsaw, and as the name implies, helps you to cut perfect circles.
Dust Collection System:
Some jigsaws are designed with a dust extraction port. Others have a dust collection accessory that can be purchased and attached to the saw.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my post!
We have answered the questions:
- What a jigsaw is used for?
- What are the parts of a jigsaw?
- What is Orbital action?
- How to use a jigsaw?
We discovered more about:
I hope you now have a better understanding of jigsaws in general.
Can you imagine all the ways a jigsaw and the various accessories will help you build projects for your own home and garden? I hope so.
Please comment below and let me know what projects you have going. I’d love to hear what you think about jigsaws or any other woodworking topic!