What are Jigsaws and Their Uses? [Simple Guide]

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The jigsaw is one of the most versatile tools in any workshop, yet it is very easy to use. Jigsaws are specialty saws that are most commonly used in woodworking projects, but they can also tackle anything including cutting pipe and metal, slicing through aluminum or plastic, cutting countertops for sink installation, and even making quick work of laminate floor installation.

A jigsaw is very easy to maneuver and control as it’s a hand-held power tool. It is able to cut out shapes and curves, making long straight cuts, and even enables you to make intricate designs. They are also capable of performing plunge cuts. The plunge cuts are very useful as they allow you to cut into the center of a workpiece and operate from there, allowing you to use it for even more applications. 

What Kind of Jigsaw Do You Need for a Certain Project?

What you should start with is understanding the right blade to have for your project. Jigsaw blades come in a variety of types. There are metal cutting blades, simple wood cutting blades, and also specialized blades that can cut through laminate or tile. Once you picked the right blade, insert it in the jigsaw, and now you are ready to get to work.

To operate the jigsaw, you only need to place the base or the shoe of the tool firmly down on your project surface. After that, you grip the handle firmly and then place the blade of the tool about an inch or so away from the edge of the surface to you intend to cut. Then just set the cutting velocity to the optimal speed.

Usually, high speed is used for thin materials, while low speed is better to be used for thicker materials. When you select the right speed, pull the trigger and move the blade along the outside of your cut line, while letting your blade do all the hard work for you.

Making a Cut With a Jigsaw

To make the plunge cut, you have to hold the jigsaw perpendicular to the workpiece. Then you pull the trigger, achieving the optimal speed and tilt your blade down into the center of the object. Once you have made this hole, you can choose to cut in any direction you want. So this enables you to make the perfect designs, shapes or letters in your project

There is an alternative way that might offer you a better result, which is to drill a ½’ pilot hole in the place where you want to start cutting. Then slide your blade into that pilot hole and continue to make the cut you want.

Just take care of the possibility that your jigsaw blade can bend when you’re making sharp curves in your workpiece. You can prevent this by making simple relief cuts. Your blade will be freed from the material it has already passed this way, allowing you to continue with cutting without the likelihood of its binding.

If you want to make a relief cut in a curved one, stop your blade and remove you jigsaw. Then proceed to make a fresh cut that is vertical to where you left off in the cut line. In doing so, you remove the scraps of material that are not needed any longer, and you can then continue with your project without worrying about your blade binding.

You can use your jigsaw with these simple steps for a wide variety of projects. And with the jigsaw’s ability to cut through various materials, as well as being able to make straight cuts or smooth curved ones, you will find that this versatile tool is capable of getting the work done and get numerous applications out of it.

What are the Uses of a Jigsaw?

Countertops

If you are in the middle of installing a new countertop, you will require a tool that can make cuts to fit various things, such as sprayer hoses and faucets. These types of cuts often require small, round holes, and the jigsaw is perfect for making such holes. Unless, of course, if your countertop comes with already cut in holes.

Some jigsaw blades are made specifically to cut countertops, and you will need to use one of those blades in order to do the job properly. You can look for a downstroke jigsaw blade as they are specifically made for deep, hard surfaces such as countertops.

Wood

Cutting wood is probably the most common use for a jigsaw. This can range from plywood and thick wood, all the way to include construction timbers. There is even blades that you can use on construction timbers that contain nails to make cuts with the jigsaw. Jigsaws are perfect for cutting stencils, scrollwork, and giving a piece of furniture a decorative pattern. But if you are aiming to get this task done, you should be very familiar with a jigsaw, or you will risk ruining the wood

Metal

Jigsaws can also be used on metal, which is really useful when you are trying to make a hole in a piece of material through which a pipe can fit. You might also want to cut curves in metal so it can fit on a wall. The jigsaw is not ideal for cutting in straight lines; it is not designed for this task and won’t properly accomplish the task.

Ceramic Tile

Jigsaws can be used for cutting ceramic tiles as well. For example, you can cut a semicircle or curve around a pipe. If you used the correct blade, you could accomplish this task easily.

Carpet

Most people wouldn’t think of using a jigsaw to cut a carpet, but a jigsaw can be really handy in doing it. A jigsaw will offer you a more accurate cut that you wouldn’t get using a utility knife or by using scissors.

Concrete

You can use concrete blades with a jigsaw on porous concrete as well as on fiber cement. Although you shouldn’t really use it on all cement and concrete jobs, if you combine the right tool and blade, you can use it to create a hole or opening for a pipe.

How to Choose Your Jigsaw’s Blade?

There are three main factors you will have to consider when deciding which type of jigsaw blade you should use. These factors are the type of the shank of the blade, the material that the blade is made of, and how many teeth the blade has.

Type of Shank

There are two different types of jigsaw blade shanks, universal shank, and a tang shank. Which are mainly determined by the shape of the cut-out at the top of the blade at the place where you can insert the blade into the tool.

The most used form of blade shank today is the tang shank. The tang shank is designed to snap into the blade clamp of the jigsaw that provides tool-free blade changing systems.

The universal shank is now an out of date style, and many of today’s jigsaws won’t accept them. The universal shanks are named after the “U” cut out at the top of the blade shank.

Blade Material

What makes up your blades will determine its ability to cut through specific materials. Also, it will determine how durable it will be. Every blade is designed to operate upon specific metal. Most common jigsaw blades are made from high-speed steel, bi-metal, tungsten carbide, and high carbon steel.

The cheapest and most flexible of the jigsaw blades are the high carbon steel blades. They are commonly used for general wood cutting applications.

The heat resistant and more durable high-speed steel blades are perfect for wood materials, metal, and plastic.

Heavy-duty cutting in wood and metal requires a very durable blade. The bi-metal jigsaw is made out of two types of steel and is perfect for the job.

If you are looking for a blade with heat resistance and durability, then tungsten carbide is your pick. The blades of tungsten carbide are ideal for cutting through ceramics, tile, and steel.

Teeth per Inch

And of course the most notable thing about any saw blade, the teeth. The number of teeth on a jigsaw blade is measured with “Teeth per Inch,” and how many teeth on the blade will effectively affect the speed and quality of the cut. Blades with more teeth will make slower cuts, but its cuts will be smoother while having fewer teeth will make for faster but rougher cuts.

Final Thoughts

If your jigsaw is mounted with the right type of blade, you get a wide range of applications. The right blade enables you to produce fast, clean-cut in nearly any material, making it a very powerful tool and one of the most versatile ones. Also, if you provide it with good care, it would last for years on end with you.

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