How to Use a Jigsaw

Jigsaw is one of the handiest tools for making a variety of cuts through wood, metal, and numerous other materials. Whether you are a professional or a DIYer, it is a must tool in your arsenal. But how do you use a jigsaw?

Basically, the first and foremost step is choosing the right kind of blade. Once you have done that, put it inside the jigsaw and set up the tool for the cutting process. Likewise, prepare the material you are going to work on as well. Finally, make the desired cut and clean your workspace.

In our guide below, we will be diving into the details of the whole procedure involved in using a jigsaw. So, let’s begin!

How to Use a Jigsaw

How to Use a Jigsaw – Everything that You Need to Know!

Required Supplies

Step 1: Choosing the Right Blade

When choosing the blade for your jigsaw, you should keep in mind four things: the type of blade, its TPI, its width, and finally, the teeth’ direction.

Jigsaw blades are designed for cutting either wood or metal. You can find that mentioned on its packaging so choose the blade accordingly.

Another thing to look out for is the blade’s teeth-per-inch (TPI). It could be mentioned on either the packaging or the blade itself. A lower TPI results in faster but rougher cuts while a higher TPI results in slower but smoother cuts. For woodworking projects, a TPI of 10 to 12 is generally suitable whereas, for metal cutting projects, a TPI of 21 to 24 should be good enough.

Next, let’s talk about the blade’s width. There are two specific widths that Jigsaw blades come in; ¼’’ for tight radius curves and 3/8’’ for more open curves. You’ll have to choose the one that fits the description of curves you are going to cut.

Lastly, we have the direction of the blade’s teeth. They are either pointing upwards or downwards. The teeth pointing upwards are your best bet for all forms of cutting. However, in the case of a pre-finished surface, you should use the blade with downward teeth, as it minimizes nicking during the cutting process.

Step 2: Take the Necessary Safety Measures

Put on the necessary safety equipment including goggles and gloves. To cater to the short cord of the jigsaw, use an extension cord. However, make sure that it stays well away from your cutting path as well as standing space; otherwise, it could become hazardous.

Step 3: Setting Up the Jigsaw

How to Use a Jigsaw

While making sure that the Jigsaw is unplugged, insert the blade into it. If you have an old version of the tool, you’ll need to loosen a bolt with a wrench to put the blade inside whereas, for the newer versions, you will simply have to pull down a lever and place your blade in.

Anyhow, make sure that the blade is placed such that its teeth are right in front of the jigsaw and that its end is firmly gripped by the tool when you release the lever.

Having done that, plug in your Jigsaw.

Step 4: Setting Up the Material to Be Cut

Using a pencil, properly mark the region of the material which you want to cut.

Furthermore, whatever material you are going to be cut must be firmly clamped down to a table, with enough gap so that the jigsaw doesn’t interact with the table or clamp itself.

If you’re looking to cut a long piece of wood into two, don’t allow one of its sides to hang off. Instead, use two tables and securely firm both sides.

For smaller cuts, however, you can let the edge of the wood hang off, given that there’s enough space for the shoe of the jigsaw to bypass the clamps without the tool itself, going off the track.

Step 5: Cutting the Material

With the shoe of the jigsaw lying flat against the material and the blade at a fair distance from the material, line up the blade with your marked cut, and pull the trigger. Allow the jigsaw to gain speed.

Once at full speed, gradually push it forward along the marked line, letting the blade cut the material. Keep pushing forward until the blade has fully gone through the material.

While cutting, be sure not to apply any excess pressure as it can cause the jigsaw to kick back and possibly damage the material. Moreover, if, for some reason, your blade stops, release the trigger and lightly try to pull the tool out.

Step 6: Clean Up

How to Use a Jigsaw

When the cutting process is done, unplug your jigsaw and remove the blade.

To avoid any splinters, sand all the edges of your material using a file, an orbital sander, or a belt sander (depending upon the size of the material).

Finally, vacuum your workspace and get rid of any scraps.

How to Use a jigsaw to Cut a Straight Line

For cutting particularly a straight line using a jigsaw, these are the guidelines you can follow for better results.

  • First off, mark a straight line on your material with a T-square and line the material up with the workbench.
  • On your jigsaw, measure the distance from the edge of the shoe to the side of the blade.
  • Clamp tightly a straight edge the same distance (you measured in the previous step) from the cutting line.
  • Set the jigsaw speed to high.
  • With the jigsaw hugging the straight edge, cut along the line as usual.
  • For the line to be as straight as possible, ensure that the edge of the jigsaw’s shoe slides along the straight edge at all times.

How to Use a Jigsaw to Cut Curves

When it comes to curves, you are either dealing with edge cuts or internal/circular cuts. Whatever type of curved cuts you are dealing with, here’s what you need to keep in mind for both.

  • Trace the desired curve on your material.
  • Choose a curve-cutting / scrolling blade for the job.
  • Set your jigsaw’s speed to low.
  • Slowly guide the jigsaw through the curve.

Other Tips

When using a jigsaw for different purposes, there are plenty of things that could go wrong. Feel free to refer to the tips below when needed.

  • When cutting center holes, drill a starter hole, to begin with. Insert the jigsaw blade in this hole until it is all the way in. Then, turn on the jigsaw and begin cutting.
  • When you intend to cut sheet materials, it is best to sandwich them between two layers of plywood and secure them with clamps. Then, turn on the jigsaw and cut through all three layers simultaneously. This will result in the neatest cuts.
  • For jigsaws that allow you to create sloped edges, all you have to do is just adjust the angle of the blade and deploy the same cutting methodology as for straight cuts.
  • If you need to cut a tile with a jigsaw, be sure to work with patience. Cover the bottom of the jigsaw shoe with masking tape to prevent scratches on the tile’s face, use a tile blade, and ease through the tile gently.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Use a Jigsaw

Why is My Jigsaw Cutting at An Angle?

When cutting curves or forcing the jigsaw through the material faster than it has to, it can start cutting at an angle. To remedy that, try slowing down a bit and control the jigsaw; resultantly, you will be able to cut at a more consistent angle.

How Thick Wood Can I Cut with a Jigsaw?

A jigsaw works best with softwood that is less than 3/2’’ in thickness and hardwood that is less than ¾’’ in thickness.

Can You Cut Wet Wood with a Jigsaw?

You can but since jigsaw is a power tool, it risks putting your life in danger. Therefore, you should avoid cutting wet wood with a jigsaw.


We sincerely hope that you have gotten something useful out of this guide.

Using Jigsaw involves choosing the right type of blade, setting up the tool and the material to be cut, cutting the material, and finally, sorting out the mess.

Note that you can use a jigsaw in both wood and metalworking projects, and make any types of cuts you desire, whether straight lines, circular, or curved.

Liam Weissman

Hello and welcome to PowerToolGenius! My name is Liam and for the last 9 years, I have worked extensively with various power tools and accessories. I have tested hundreds of different brands and models and understand the industry extensively and have been working with tools my entire life!

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