Tool Tips: How to Use Jigsaw Power Tool

Great power tools, such as jigsaw saws are essential in any DIY-er’s collection. A great advantage of a typical jigsaw is that it can cut both straight and curved shapes on various materials like wood, metal, or plastic just to name a few. Once you learn how to use jigsaw power tool it’s going to be one of the most used tools in your workshop.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how to use it for basic woodworking tasks, what blades to use, and what safety precautions to take. No matter how brilliant a jigsaw you have, if you do not know how to use it properly, you might fail to produce quality results.

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Makita JV0600 jigsaw

Makita JV0600 jigsaw ” by Mark Hunter, used under CC BY 2.0


The efficiency of a jigsaw widely depends upon the type of blade you use. Just like your kitchen knife, the sharper the edges, the better you cut. But, in a jigsaw, the blade selection depends on the project itself.

The material you’re cutting and its thickness, as well as the type of cut you want to make will determine what blade you should go for.

jigsaw blades

Jigsaw Blades ” by Sandy Poore, used under CC BY 2.0

With the right blade in hand, you can cut a variety of materials with precision.

Now let’s get into some technicality of the jigsaw blades. Jigsaw blades are categorized based on the type of shank, the number of teeth(TPI), and the material they’re made out of.

The way the blade is mounted in the tool will depend on its type of shank, T-Shank, or U-shank. A shank is a part of the blade that is locked in a blade clamp. T-shank allows keyless blade clamping, and for locking U shank type blade, you need an Allen key to do it.

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TPI is measured in teeth per square inch on a blade. It would be best to use a blade with higher TPI for harder materials and lower TPI for softer ones.

The number of teeth also affects the cutting speed and cut finish(rougher or smoother). More teeth usually mean smoother cuts, but with wood, it’s not really significant as the final result can be smooth out by sanding.

Standard blade materials include High Carbon SteelHigh-Speed Steel, Bi-metal, and Tungsten Carbide. The type of material used will depend on the task you want to perform.

MaterialBlade Material(s)

Teeth Type

SoftwoodHigh carbon steel Bi-metalSide Taper Reverse
HardwoodHigh-Speed Steel Bi-metalSide Taper Reverse
PlasticAll materials vary according to compositionAll types vary according to the composition
AluminumHigh-Speed Steel Bi-metalWavy Side Taper
SteelHigh-Speed Steel Bi-metalWavy Taper
Ceramic, stone, and other masonry materialsTungsten CarbideGrit, no teeth

Now that you have more understanding of jigsaw blades, I’ll move to the techniques used to cut a variety of materials.

Cutting Wood

For cutting wood, you must choose the right set of jigsaw blades to cut softwood or hardwood. Mark the pattern you wish to cut and let the action begin.

You should start by placing the saw shoe on the workpiece so that the blade is away from the edge. Now, pressing the machine gently moves along the cutting line.

Makita 4351FCT Jigsaw in a wokshop

Makita 4351FCT Jigsaw ” by Mark Hunter, used under CC BY 2.0

You must maintain a steady pace to let the saw cut without deflection. An ideal combination of cutting blades and relief cuts will help you cut without binding the blades. You can make straight, curved, or many more or less complicated patterns with this type of saw.

Things to remember:

  • You can use a jigsaw tool to cut softwood that’s no more than 1-1/2 inches thick and hardwood up to 3/4 inches thick. You can cut thicker wood but make sure your jigsaw can handle it and buy appropriate blades.
  • For a quick cutting session, use a coarser blade. However, you will need to do a lot of sanding later, depending on the blade’s coarseness.
  • You can use a jigsaw to plunge cut; all you need to do is put the saw shoe in the middle and put weight on the front lip.

You can choose between the upstroke and downstroke cutting blades. While upstroke blades are quick, downstroke blades produce finer results.

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Cutting Ceramic Tiles

You can easily cut ceramic tiles with a jigsaw blade that is 1/4 inch thick. While cutting tiles, you must take care of lubrication and use water for misting the tiles to make them easier to cut.

Cutting tiles with a jigsaw, unlike cutting wood, demands more patience, concentration and I’d say experience as well. This is again a way to limit the tile breakage.

Things to remember:

  • Carbide-grit, toothless tiles are the best for cutting tiles.
  • Applying water for lubrication helps you cut precisely and minimize wastage.
  • You may also put duct tape on the saw shoe to avoid scratching or marring the tiles.

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Cutting Metals

A jigsaw is perfect for cutting a variety of metal objects, including steel, no-iron pipe, wood with embedded nails, hinges, bolts, galvanized & copper pipes, and metal sheets up to 10 gauge thick. But To achieve good results you have to choose the right blade.

With firm pressure and appropriate blades, you can easily cut patterns out of metal sheets. The metal cutting blades have tiny teeth that are sharp and hard.

Things to Remember:

  • A tight grip ensures smooth and precise cutting.
  • You must hold the saw in a way that at least three teeth contact the edge of the material.
  • Typical metal cutting jigsaw blades have 20-24 teeth per inch (TPI).

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Common Features of a Jigsaw Power Tool

Though different jigsaw comes with various features, some of them are widely common across all manufacturers. They are:

  • Speed Control
    Almost every jigsaw comes with a speed controller button. Usually, it is located on the top of the machine or incorporated in a trigger. It controls the speed of the blade.
  • Blade clamp
    A blade clamp holds the blade in place.
  • Shoe
    A saw shoe is a surface that directly comes in contact with the material and helps you hold the tool flat and square against it. It also guides the blade to move on the surface. 

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This versatile tool is one of the best saw for cutting shapes out of wood. And now that you know how to use a jigsaw tool, you can start to make all these funky projects you have planned.

If you’re interested in buying a new jigsaw for your shop, I recommend my guide on the best jigsaws that includes detailed reviews of different makes and models and some info on what to look for in jigsaw.

If you have any questions, let me know in the box below 🙂 And don’t forget to pin it for later to your woodworking power tools board 🙂

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  1. Thank you for explaining that there are many jigsaw blades that have different applications. My sister wants to rent out a jigsaw for a youth group activity that requires building. I will be sure to forward this article to her so that she can have a better idea about how to use it.

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