A jigsaw is a versatile handheld power tool that uses a reciprocating blade to cut irregular, intricate curves in wood, metal, tile, and other materials. They are actually the only portable tool that’s capable of cutting curves not only effectively, but quickly and easily as well.
These tools perfectly suited for both experienced and novice woodworkers because all you have to do is insert the blade and plug it in, and you’re ready to start your project. A feature that makes the jigsaw a popular tool for DIYers too is that it is small, light, and very easy to use.
What is a jigsaw used for?
A jigsaw is used to cut curves and make circles, scrolls, and other similar shapes in a variety of materials, but it is mainly used for woodwork. This tool is not particularly good for making long, straight cuts because the blade is so thin that it is prone to bending, but it can get the job done if you use a saw guide or a rip fence to keep it steady.
What is the difference between a jigsaw and a scroll saw?
Although they might be used for similar tasks, the jigsaw and the scroll saw are very different tools. Both are used to make curved cuts, but the scroll saw is a big stationary machine, whereas the jigsaw is a handheld tool.
The scroll saw is more accurate and leaves a smooth finish that the jigsaw cannot replicate. However, the former is more of a specialty tool as it is mostly used to cut intricate designs, while the latter is a jack-of-all-trades.
When not to use a jigsaw?
Even though this is a fairly easy tool to operate, precautions should always be taken, and safety measures should always be followed. You should not use a jigsaw if you:
- Do not have protective gear. Gloves, safety goggles, hearing protection, and a dust mask or a full-face shield are essential to protect you against sawdust, debris, and loud noise.
- Are wearing loose-fitting clothes or jewelry as they could get caught in the blade and cause injury.
- Have not firmly secured the piece you are working on. Everything should be clamped to your workstation to avoid dangerous slips.
- Have a dull blade. A sharp blade will cut your workpiece easily and safely, but a dull one will tear through it, which could send debris in your direction. You would also risk getting dangerous kickbacks.
How much money does a jigsaw cost?
You can find a basic, cordless jigsaw with adjustable speed for around $40 to $50, and a more professional one with more features and a better battery for up to $500. Corded models are a lot cheaper: they start as low as $25 and can go as high as $300 for heavy-duty, professional jigsaws.
Where can I buy a jigsaw?
You can buy a jigsaw on Amazon, where you will find a wide range of options to choose from. You can also find one at your local home improvement or hardware stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. Even Walmart has lots of options to offer!
Which jigsaw should I buy?
If you are looking to buy a jigsaw, there are a few things you should consider.
First of all, you should know that neither the size of the jigsaw nor its speed are important because big and small models are equally powerful and because most designs have the feature of variable-speed settings.
The power source does make a difference when it comes to performance. Jigsaws are usually electrically powered, and you can choose between a corded model that can be used without interruption, and a cordless one that allows more movement. Keep in mind that the power cord tends to be a bit short, so you should keep an extension cord nearby because you might need it.
Then, you should consider the features that different jigsaws include. One important feature is the variable speed setting that allows you to switch between the slower speeds necessary to cut hard materials, and the faster speeds used to cut soft ones. Orbital action is quite a useful feature too because it increases the thrust and the versatility of the tool. The blade typically moves up and down, but the orbital motion adds a slight, forward movement that makes for faster cutting.
What is a jigsaw blade?
The jigsaw blade is a narrow piece that is attached to the tool to make the cutting. The blade has sharp teeth that are measured in TPI (Teeth Per Inch). The higher the TPI, the smoother the cut.
There are two types of blades: U-shanks and T-shanks. They can be easily identified by the shape of the end that goes into the tool. U-shanks are an old, “universal” design that is not used much anymore. The T-shanks are more popular nowadays because they allow for a faster blade change and because they last longer.
The design of the teeth (spacing, shape, and cutting angle) is also important for the optimal performance of the blade. There are two main types of tooth design: milled and ground. Milled teeth are used to make fast rough cuts on dense materials like metals and thick wood. Ground teeth have sharper edges and points because they are designed to make precise and fine cuts in softer materials.
Which jigsaw blade should I buy?
Even though there are multi-purpose blades available in the market, it is always better to use the variety that is specifically designed to work with harder materials like metal, or more brittle materials like ceramic tile and glass.
The five main types of jigsaw blades are high-carbon steel, high-speed steel, bi-metal, tungsten carbide, and diamond-grit.
High-carbon steel is a flexible material used to cut softer pieces made of wood or MDF. Blades made with this material dull the fastest, but they are also the cheapest to replace.
High-speed steel is stronger than high-carbon steel, so it can cut aluminum and most non-ferrous metals. They are less flexible and prone to heat damage, which often leads to premature breaking.
Bi-metal blades are made of a combination of the best qualities of high-carbon and high-speed steel. They are flexible and strong at the same time, which makes them more durable. They are perfect for hard woods and metals.
Tungsten carbide blades are a rather expensive design that can either have carbide-tipped teeth or be completely toothless with a coat of tungsten carbide grit applied to the edge. This makes them strong enough to cut through abrasive materials like tile, reinforced plastics, glass, concrete, and so on.
Diamond-grit blades are the most expensive variety because they last longer than any other kind of blade, and because they can cut any hard material such as granite, marble, and stone.
The jigsaw is one of the most versatile tools in the market, perfect for the experienced woodworker and the beginner DIYer alike. It should not be confused with the scroll saw, which is a specialty tool. When you go shopping for your new jigsaw, look at the power source, the features it includes, and the type of blade you will need.