How to Use a Jigsaw Safely and Successfully: Your Ultimate Guide
Let’s face it. Jigsaws are essential if you want to take yourself to the next level of the wood game. And unlike other power tools like a chainsaw or a table saw, for example, jigsaws aren’t that dangerous, but that doesn’t mean you can stay away from learning how to use a jigsaw.
If I am honest here, there isn’t much to learn, but there are these little things here and there that differentiates a semi-professional from a true professional. Don’t get me wrong, but it is what it is, and if you do happen to be a beginner, then you are at the right place at the right time!
But before we get started, you have to have an idea of what a jigsaw is and whether you should buy a corded or a cordless jigsaw. So without any further set back let’s get started, shall we?
What is a jigsaw?
In simple words, a jigsaw is a combination of a motor and a reciprocating saw blade that can cut various materials like wood, metal, plastic, plywood, particleboard, and also ceramic tile.
Indeed the inventions of other saws like Chainsaws, Reciprocating saw, Band saw, Table saw have made it easier for us to deal with woods and other materials in many ways. But the invention of Jigsaws changed the pace completely. We were able to show our full potential, especially when it came to woodworking.
Only Circular saw has managed to come close to the jigsaw in case of value. It indeed boils down to the fact that it is so versatile in what it does, and it doesn’t cost the earth!
To make things more clear let’s make a shortlist of what all you can do. You can cut curves, irregular shapes, framing, decking, square, notches, triangles, lumber, circles, can cut up and down, bevel cut, and even plunge cuts. Is versatility still a question?
Corded or Cordless jigsaw?
Choosing between corded and cordless is very easy as well as very difficult. How? Well, the easy part is that it depends on your work and the difficult part is if you are not clear on what you will do.
Because Corded means power, and Cordless means portability, so choose one depending on your use.
If you need a lighter jigsaw that can cut through heavy materials and has an unlimited run time, then a corded jigsaw is your tool. But remember, you can’t use it everywhere.
On the other hand, the cordless jigsaw can be used anywhere at any time, also in elevated areas. But they are usually heavier and not as great as corded jigsaw at cutting heavy materials.
How to use a jigsaw?
The first and foremost step is checking the manual of the jigsaw which you bought. The manual will give you a clear idea of that specific jigsaw, which is important as not all jigsaw have the same features and work in the same way.
Reading the manual is something that doesn’t need to be mentioned because there is a reason why it was written, but the Goosebumps you get after buying a new tool can make you forget it. Yes, we know the feeling!
Even though jigsaws are more accessible and safer, but that doesn’t change the importance of safety.
A good set of gears for a jigsaw includes a safety glass that will prevent dust from reaching your eyes. A mask will come in very handy if you are someone who is allergic to dust, and in case you aren’t, wearing a mask will do you the opposite of harm. Finally, a pair of gloves will prevent cuts if there is any slippage of the jigsaw.
Make sure your jigsaw accepts T-shank blades. And then, it is important to select the right blade for the right job. This is very important because if you don’t choose the right blade, you will mess your work and time. I am sure you don’t want that, especially if you are a beginner.
It would be best if you always keep TPI in mind, and TPI stands for Teeth Per Inch. Lower TPI means fewer teeth per inch, and Higher TPI means more teeth per inch.
If you want your cut to be fast and not very clean, choose a blade that has a lower TPI. And if you go for precision and you want your cut to be clean, choose a blade with a higher TPI.
The TPI is always listed on the package of the blades. For woodworking, a TPI of 10 or 12 is great. The tougher the material you cut, the higher the TPI should be. For hard substances, you can use a 20, 22, or 24 TPI.
You might wonder what the TPI for cutting curves is!? Well, 20 TPI will do the job for you, but you need a lower one for lighter wood.
As we mentioned, jigsaws are versatile, and while you want to cut tile or ceramic, you should use a toothless blade called a Carbide-grit blade. You have to take your time when cutting them, though!
Lastly, you can’t use the ordinary blades for the metal substance. You need to use Bi-metal blades. These blades are flexible and made of more robust steel, which makes them ideal for metals.
There are two kinds of blades—one that cuts upstroke and the other that cuts downstroke.
If you are a beginner, the blade you use should cut upstroke because the wood or the material stays tight while you are cutting. Whereas the wood or the material almost goes off when the blade you are using cuts downstroke. This might result in kick-back.
Most blades cut upstroke, but the upstroke blade’s disadvantage is that it keeps the finished surface roughness, which downstroke blade doesn’t. Once you gain more experience, you should switch to downstroke if you want smooth surfaces.
When cutting, make sure the blade is at least an inch or more than the wood’s depth as it makes it easier to cut and safer. Also, make sure there is nothing on the bottom of the object you are cutting.
If you want to cut circles, you should first drill a hole and then insert the blade to make your cut. For triangles and rectangles, you should make multiple holes.
The final step will be to place your jigsaw on the storage case in the best condition possible after every use.
Start by removing the blade, which can be done by the blade release. If your jigsaw has a battery, recharge it after 30 minutes of each use and finally clean the jigsaw with a dry cloth and place it on the case.
That is it! That’s all you need to know, people!
Follow these 6 steps carefully, and you are less likely to face any kind of problem. A jigsaw is a great tool, and it gets better once the user gets better at using it. They also don’t cost much and saves you a lot of time.
And with that, we finish off. All the best for your projects!