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How to Use A Jigsaw- 8 Tried and Proven Steps

How to Use A Jigsaw- 8 Tried and Proven Steps
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A jigsaw is that machine or tool with a narrow blade used to cut curved lines on woods, metal, plastic, etc. However, it is not limited to curved lines only; it can also be used to cut straight lines on these materials. 

In woodworking activities, bathroom, or kitchen makeovers, the need for creating curves is not negotiable. This is where you can put a jigsaw to use. For some reason, you may have asked the question of how to use a jigsaw. Worry less we have your answer in this article.

How to Use a Jigsaw
Photo credit: Sierra de calar, https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Video: How to use a jigsaw- Basics

This videos clearly explains the basics of how to use a jigsaw

Of course, the use of other woodworking tools like the circular and table saws is not neglected, but the task of cutting curved lines for different materials is exceptional for the jigsaw. 

Findings have it that a simple jigsaw can be gotten at an affordable price. You can also get an intensive jigsaw model for professionals at a fairly good price too. This intensive professional model has advanced peculiarities such as circular blade action, various speed options, and blade-stable guides.

For occasional use of the jigsaw, probably for use at home, a cheaper model won’t be a bad idea. After all is done, follow the guide below to start your jigsaw usage journey.

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What Are The Tools and Materials Needed for Using a Jigsaw?

The tools and Materials needed for using a jigsaw are:

i. Protective eyewear: A protective eyewear is a material or device designed for the eyes and sometimes covering the face to reduce the level of exposure to injuries while working. Protective eyewear should be made from polycarbonate material to resist shattering. The polycarbonate material also helps in providing ultraviolet light protection.  Examples of protective eyewear are safety spec, visors, and face shields.

ii. Intensive extension wire

iii. Blades matching materials ready for cut

iv. Clamps

v.  A quarter inch plywood (elective)

vi. Sawhorses

vii.  Masking tape (elective)

Making A Right Choice of Blade to Be Used

How do I tell which blade to use for my jigsaw?

To know which jigsaw blade to use for your jigsaw, look through the blade pack. Specified in the blade package is the designated material to cut, stating “metal”, “wood” or “plastic” on the tag. The TPI (teeth/inch) number of the blade also appears in the blade package, and often with the blade. A suitable TPI range for almost all woodworking jobs is between 10 and 12. 

For a faster cut, the TPIs should be lower, which implies fewer teeth for an inch. But note that a faster cut will result in a rougher cut. However, for a smoother cut, the TPI should be higher, leading to a much slower cut.

Another blade characteristic to consider is the width. The chosen blade width should match the cut curve’s tightness that is to be cut. Usually, a jigsaw blade comes in 2 different widths: ¼ or 3/8 inches. While the former is used to cut curves with tight radius, the latter is used to cut additional gradual curves. 

In addition, it is important to become familiar with the teeth direction. The teeth of an average jigsaw points upward. This is to reduce the upward direction of the blade. It is the most preferred for multipurpose cutting.

A blade whose teeth point downward, also known as reverse blade, is most appropriate for materials with finished surfaces. This is to reduce ripping-off while cutting.

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How to Use a Jigsaw

What are the steps to take while using a jigsaw?

The following are the steps to take in using a jigsaw:

Safety first

Place the shoe in a firm point 

Cut holes in the center by drilling

Insert sheet materials into the plywood

Protect the finished surface from scratch

Adjust blade angle for slant cuts

Accelerate the cutting process

Take it slow and steady

Safety First!

How do you ensure safety using a jigsaw?

To ensure safety in the use of a jigsaw make sure to put on the appropriate eyewear, then plug in the extension wire. The extension wire is essential since jigsaw wires are usually short. 

Ensure that the extension wire stays off the location of its cutting path.  Also ensure that the extension wire is not along the part where someone can trip, as it may cause an accident.

Place the Shoe in a Firm Point

The shoe is also called the baseplate of the jigsaw. It stretches beyond the front, back and sides of the jigsaw blade. Ensure that the shoe remains flat and on the material being sawed. This should be done to ensure a perfect cut. 

Let the front edge of the jigsaw shoe rest flat against the material ready to be cut. Let the guide and the already marked line be aligned. While doing this, ensure that the jigsaw blade and the material don’t come in contact before the operation of the jigsaw commences.

Hold back the saw blade a bit, put on the jigsaw, then let it forward to start the cut. after the jigsaw is turned on, be careful not to let the blade touch the wood as this would make the blade get broken or cut the wrong area.

Cut Holes in The Center by Drilling

When cutting a hole located in the middle of the material, it is important to drill one starter (or pilot) hole first before making use of the jigsaw. The starter hole should be about a half inch.

After drilling the hole, let the jigsaw fit into it, then start cutting. Ensure that you do not put on the jigsaw before the jigsaw blade is fitted into the hole. The shoe should also rest flat on the exterior part of the material.

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Insert Sheet Materials into The Plywood

Cutting sheet materials without support can produce rough edges and lead to a bent output. It is most suitable to first insert the materials into thick fragments of the plywood (about a quarter inch thick) before cutting.

 Inserting sheet materials into the plywood is also known as sandwich method. This method produces the finest cuts for thin material sheets.

Protect the Finished Surface from Scratch

A great work can be ruined by just a scratch. To prevent this, it is important that while cutting, you leave the protective film of the material on, if any. In the absence of a protective film, a masking tape can be substituted and let all cutting guides be drawn on the tape.

Adjust Blade Angle for Slant Cuts

Only a few jigsaws have this feature, however, to produce a slant edge, the trick is just to adjust the blade to your desired angle. This technique also applies when creating vertical cuts.

Accelerate Cutting Process

After you put on the feature that says, “oscillating”, the blade begins to go to and fro, coupled with ascending and descending movements. While the oscillating blade supplies extra cutting speed and power, it reduces the danger of breaking off or chipping of the edges.

Take It Slow and Steady

While cutting tiles, professionals can use tile saws while an amateur can only use a jigsaw for a quarter inch thick tile. Using a jigsaw to cut a tile requires consistency and patience.

If you have made up your mind to master the use of jigsaws to cut tiles, you must bear in mind that it would not just happen, you need patience. That done, you can go ahead to carefully follow the steps and there you are- a soon to be professional.

Do not forget, the masking tape is necessary to give your work that fine appearance. You wouldn’t want to end up with a scratched and rough surface after your hard work. Just take it easy.

In conclusion, we hope we’ve been able to properly breakdown all you need to know about how to use a jigsaw. If so, then what are are you waiting for? Go get yourself a jigsaw and start using it to solve those problems.

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