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3 Tips For New Jigsaw Users

Close-up process of cutting parquet floor board with jigsawThe jigsaw may not be used as much as say your tablesaw or even possibly your bandsaw, but it is always a good tool to have if you can get one. There are some tips for those that have one and don’t use it often, or those that would like to get one.

Making Sure You Have The Right Blade For The Wood

One common mistake when using jigsaws is using the wrong blade for the job. If you are new to jigsawing it’s an easy mistake to make, especially with the number of available sizes, widths, lengths and the various tooth configurations. Learning which blade to chose is key to a successful and well finished project.

There are two key points that are important to remember when shopping for blades. First off, if you need to make long, straight cuts, wider blades the best option, while the narrow blades are good for cutting curves and tight corners. The second thing to remember is to take note of the tooth size and spacing.

Blades that have fewer teeth cut faster, but tend to lead a rougher, splintered edge. On the other hand, blades with more, smaller teeth, cut slower, but leave a smoother edge, meaning less splintering and finishing. It’s a good idea to check the packaging of the blade before purchasing to make sure it is labeled for the material you will be cutting as well as the material.

Tips For Making Straight Cuts

Aluminum T-squareMaking a straight cut with a jigsaw can be hard to do, especially if you are cutting freehand. Because of the saws tendency to wander off course, it can be next to impossible to achieve without a little help. The best way to accomplish this is with the help of a straightedge guide. There are many things you can use as a guide, a long level, a piece of wood or a piece of steel clamped to the sawing surface will help keep the wood on a straight path. If you build your own guide, make it similar to the t-square such as in the image to the left.

There are times when a single guide might not be enough, in which case add a second guide parallel to the first. Make sure the boards are far enough apart that they don’t interfere with the blade. A good rule is to make sure they are separated by at least the width of the saw’s base plate plus 1/16th of an inch. Once you have the guides in place apply even pressure to slowly advance the saw.

How To Make Splinter Free Cuts

Avoiding splintering is one thing most jigsaw users are keen to learn. After all, because standard blades have teeth that point upwards, they produce splintering along the top of the cut surface, this can be problematic. The best way to avoid splintering is by using a reverse-tooth blade to produce smooth, splinter free cuts.

Updated: January 10, 2015 — 9:22 pm
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