Cut angles and curves easily - Jigsaw tips

Selecting the correct blade for the material you are cutting is important. MPS, Festool and Tork Craft have a huge selection of jigsaw blades to cut all types of materials. 

festool jigsaw tool

Jigsaws require a minimum use of force – enough to guide the jigsaw but no more, the saw itself must be left to do the work taking pressure off your wrist. This will ensure that blades do not snap, and the material is not damaged. The Festool, Cat and Worx brands have comfortable grips meaning you can work for hours without getting tired. 

Bevelled edges are easy to cut with a jigsaw but cutting angles and curves cleanly and concisely usually take time and practice – once mastered, users can tackle numerous jobs and projects. 

Blade and saw basics 

A jigsaw cuts in a rapid up-and-down motion. The key to excellent results with a jigsaw is to match a specific blade to the type of material you will be cutting wood, metal, plastics, tile, etc. The blade package will indicate what material the blade cuts best. 

Most blades are carbon steel, 5cm to 8cm long and either 6mm wide for making tight radius cuts or 0.95 mm wide for general-purpose cutting. Six-teeth-per-inch blades cut fast but rough; finer blades with 10 or more teeth per inch deliver smoother cuts. Special toothless blades cut everything from leather to tile. When buying blades, consider investing in bimetal blades. They can last 10 times longer and are less likely to break.

 

jigsaw blades

A Jigsaw is one of the most popular saws used for cutting today, here are some tips, advice options and choice of blades. 

Jigsaw tips 

A jigsaw can be used like a scroll saw or band saw if you have a fine enough blade. As with a scroll saw, use a drill to make a hole in the wood where you want to cut your design using a jigsaw. You might not be able to cut as intricate work as with a scroll saw but on larger cuts a jigsaw will do the job equally. Keep in mind that you are limited to space and size with both a scroll and band saw. 

To cut smooth curves in wood, begin by pressing the saw shoe firmly on the workpiece with the blade away from the edge. Start the motor, guide the blade along the outside of the cutting line (for finer sanding later) and move from curves to inside corners. Always move the saw forward at a pace that allows the blade to cut without deflecting and does not make the motor labour. Prevent the saw blade from binding on tight curves by using relief cuts to remove waste. 

Jigsaws are ideal for cutting curves and complex shapes in wood. They also work well for making short crosscuts on a board and finishing inside corner cuts that you start with a circular saw. 

Jigsaws are not good for making fast, long, straight cuts. Use a circular saw instead. Jigsaws work best for cutting softwood that is no more than 38mm thick and hardwood up to 20mm thick. Jigsaw blades tend to bend when cutting curves in thicker boards, leaving a bevelled edge rather than a square one. In fragile material, drill a 10mm starter hole to safely position the blade for a cut. 

For quick cutting, use a coarser blade. But note that the coarser the blade, the more sanding it needs later. Most wood-cutting blades for jigsaws are designed so the teeth cut on the upstroke. For fine work demanding less chipping in wood veneers, for example choose a ‘downstroke-cutting’ blade – an alternative is to place masking tape on the cutting line path before drawing on the pattern line. 

Cutting countertops, make precise, no-chip cuts in laminate by drilling a 1cm starter hole in the countertop for the blade. Use a special laminate blade that cuts only on the downstroke, and follow the cutting line drawn on masking tape. Avoid marring the countertop by taping the bottom of the saw shoe. A jigsaw is perfectly suited for making the curved or short diagonal cuts at the corners of countertops and for the final long cut parallel to the backsplash. 

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