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What Is A Jigsaw?




What is a jigsaw

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Of all the electric saws, a jigsaw is considered the ideal handheld tool to make smooth, curved cuts in any material. And because of its narrow blade and compact body, a jigsaw is safe and easy to handle for beginners. 


This article will explore everything you need to know about a jigsaw so you can make an informed decision before you purchase one.


Let’s begin!


What is a Jigsaw and How to Use it?

A jigsaw uses an electrically powered reciprocating blade to cut through different materials. Still, unlike other power saws, you can use a jigsaw to cut irregular shapes and tight curves with smooth edges and precision.


You can use jigsaw blades to make straight cuts, curved cuts, bevel cuts, and plunge cuts in many different materials, such as wood, metal, plastic, ceramic tile, etc.


People commonly use a jigsaw for small DIY projects or large-scale construction projects. It is versatile, inexpensive, and takes up very little space.


Below are some tips on properly using a jigsaw:


  • Select the Proper Blade


One of the more attractive features of a jigsaw is its interchangeable blades. The most important thing when using a jigsaw is the blade you choose. The type of material you want to cut and its finish depends on the jigsaw blade.


It is easy to pick the wrong blade if you are a beginner because of the many variations in lengths, tooth configuration, and materials. We will discuss more jigsaw blades later in the article.


  • Position the Jigsaw


Trace the cutting line on the material for a clear cut. Then, position the front edge of the jigsaw shoe on your workpiece. Make sure the blade is lined up with the pattern you traced.


Put pressure on the jigsaw to keep the shoe firmly attached to the workpiece. But don’t put too much force on it or try to steer the saw because it can result in a rough cut.


  • Set the Speed


Many jigsaws come with a speed-setting dial. You can set the speed depending on the material you cut. When you turn on the jigsaw, the blade will run at the preset speed.


The orbital setting makes the saw blade move in an up-and-down motion, in addition to the standard back-and-forth motion.


Components of a Jigsaw


To use your jigsaw like a pro, you should know its essential parts and how they work.


  • Blade – A blade is the business end of any saw. The blade moves in a reciprocating motion and, in some cases, in an elliptical motion. These come in various materials, each with a different TPI count, to determine which material they are suitable to cut.


  • Trigger – The trigger switch turns the jigsaw on and off. The deeper you press the trigger, the more its speed gets. You can use the trigger lock to keep the jigsaw running at the preset speed even when you release the trigger. This helps to prevent hand fatigue.


  • Handle – Jigsaws come with two handles: a D-handle and a barrel grip. The D-handle is for a one-handed grip that rests on top of the saw. A barrel grip is similar to a pistol grip. You can hold it with two hands, which provides more accuracy.


  • Speed Control – You can use this dial to set the speed you want the jigsaw to run.


  • Orbital Action Dial – The orbital dial will introduce a forward and backward oscillation in the blade’s movement, which helps speed up the cutting action.


  • Shoe – The shoe is the base of the saw, which lays flat on the material and keeps the blade in a fixed position while you work. In some jigsaws, you can set the shoe at an angle with the bevel adjustment lever. 


What are the Different Types of Jigsaw?


There are mainly three types of jigsaws available: corded, cordless, and pneumatic. Let’s take a look at these in detail:


  • Corded Jigsaws


Corded jigsaws have to be plugged in to function. This means you must be near a power outlet to work with a corded jigsaw, which limits the areas you can work in.


But on the positive side, a corded jigsaw has a more powerful motor than a cordless jigsaw. The wattage of the motor affects the stroke length and the stroke rate of the jigsaw blade.


Related Article – Best Corded Jigsaw Reviews


The wattage of a corded jigsaw varies from 400 to 900 watts. Jigsaws with higher wattage will function more efficiently and cut through thicker materials.


Note: Be sure to get the cord out of the way when working with the jigsaw.


  • Cordless Jigsaws


The cordless jigsaws are gaining popularity among the masses because of their portability. But they are not as reliable because the batteries can run out at any time. This is why you should always carry spare batteries with you, just in case.


The cordless jigsaw is also heavier due to the addition of the battery pack.


The power of a cordless jigsaw depends on its voltage rating. The cordless models come in varied voltages from 12 to 36 volts. If you have to work on dense materials like hardwood or metal, you should spring for the higher voltage jigsaw.


Related Article – Best Cordless Jigsaw Reviews


Cordless jigsaws with a higher voltage tend to run for extended periods.


  • Pneumatic Jigsaws


A pneumatic jigsaw is powered by pressurized air supplied by an air compressor. It has a robust body, which is suitable for heavy-duty cutting in industrial projects. It is also more durable.


With the self-cooling mechanism, you don’t need to worry about overheating. This feature is useful when planning to work for long hours on materials like fiberglass or metal.


What is the Purpose of a Jigsaw?

When using the jigsaw, you can choose from a large selection of blades; each one is designed to make different cuts in specific materials.


Check out the common uses of a jigsaw:


  • Curved Cuts


Jigsaws have a compact body with smaller blades than circular or reciprocating saws. The thinner blade is capable of cutting delicate shapes with ease.


Due to their small size and lightweight, it is easy to maneuver the jigsaw to cut curved designs. You can cut circles with tight radiuses, stenciled designs, curved lines, and much more. 


  • Plunge Cuts


Plunge cuts are one of the most difficult of all saw cuts. To make a plunge cut, you must start in the middle of the material rather than the edge. You can make plunge cuts with a jigsaw, but it will take some practice to make clean and smooth cuts.


Start by resting the front edge of the shoe against the cutting material. Turn on the jigsaw and slowly pivot inwards. But when the back of the blade hits the material, it might snap in half.


A technique that can help in this case is to drag the jigsaw forward as soon as the blade hits the material while plunging downwards. The forward motion will allow you to make a plunge cut successfully without breaking the blade.


  • Bevel Cuts


In most jigsaws, you can change the angle of the shoe to make beveled cuts on wooden boards. You can use this feature when cutting a board whose top is not perpendicular to the edges.


You can pivot the shoe up to 45 degrees.


  •  Straight Cuts


Making a freehand straight cut with a jigsaw can be difficult as the saw will keep wandering. For perfect straight cuts, you should clamp a straight cutting guide along the edge.


How to Choose the Best Jigsaw Blade?


When thinking about which jigsaw blade to use, consider the material you are cutting and what you want the finished outcome to be.


If you want to cut lumber fast where you can get away with a rough cut, a blade with a lower TPI (teeth per inch) will be perfect. On the flip side, if you want a more precise and clean cut, you should choose a blade with a higher TPI count.


You must use the right blade for a specific material to improve blade life and cutting performance. Check out the types of blades you can choose from:


  • High-Carbon Steel – This is a flexible blade, which is why you can use this to cut softer materials like plastics and laminated boards. They are not meant to be used on hard surfaces because they will quickly grow dull.


  • High-Speed Steel – This blade is made from stronger steel that can cut through all types of metal, hardwood, and reinforced plastic. They are also more durable.


  • Bi-Metal Blades – This blade is made from a combination of high-carbon and high-speed steel. They contain the best of both materials, cursing the blade to cut all materials faster without growing dull. They are the most durable, which is why they are expensive.


  • Tungsten Carbide Blades – These are specially designed blades because instead of teeth, their edges are coated with carbide grit, making them capable of cutting through fiberglass, cast iron, glass, and stainless steel.


Safety Instructions for Using a Jigsaw


Safety should be your utmost priority when using a power tool such as a jigsaw. These are the precautionary measures you should take to operate a jigsaw safely:


  • Keep the jigsaw unplugged when changing the blades.


  • Ensure the blades are tightly secured before turning on the saw.


  • Wear protective goggles to keep the debris from flying into your eyes, and wear a face mask to avoid inhaling sawdust.


  • Don’t turn on the saw when the blade is in contact with the material to be cut.




You don’t have to have fancy or expensive tools for efficient woodworking because a jigsaw can make all the cuts you need, and it is pretty affordable too. Its only drawback is that it can’t cut through thick lumber.


The most important thing to remember is only to buy a jigsaw that uses T-shank blades. You should also consider the power you want, stroke length and rate, blade length, and portability.


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