The Power Tool Guide: Jigsaw – Is it Really Worth It?
Jigsaw tool trailing wood shavings (do not try this at home)
Let’s start off by addressing the elephant in the room; no, we aren’t talking about the serial-killer-slash-vigilante Jigsaw from the SAW series. Now, let’s get down to our main topic today; the power behind woodworking plans and power tools: the jigsaw tool.
A lot goes into making any woodworking project successful; choosing the right type of wood and using the right plans all the way to applying the right finish. But the whole project can go wrong pretty fast if the wrong tool is used for the job.
For example, how would you fare if you tried hammering a nail in your wooden chair project with a mallet instead of a hammer? Or tried cutting curves with a table saw?
Here, we will elaborate how a jigsaw can help you with your woodworking endeavors, and how to use one safely.
The Jigsaw Tool – Is it The Ultimate Tool for Woodworking Plans?
One of the most widely used power tools in any woodworker’s garage or shop is the table saw, but as mentioned above, cutting curves with the table saw is nothing more than a disaster waiting to happen.
For people who can’t afford spending thousands of dollars on specialty equipment such as lasers for their woodworking plans, there are three options out there for making curved cuts in wood:
1.Scroll Saw. Although very cost-effective, it can’t cut wood thicker than 1.5 inches. 2 inches, and you’d end up wearing the saw away pretty quickly. Any wider, you risk breaking it.
2.Band Saw. This is a very effective tool for any woodworking shop, but is rather expensive and not recommended for those on a tight budget. Not to mention that it takes up a lot of space.
3.Jigsaw. Jigsaws are a versatile solution towards realizing your woodworking plans, since it can handle almost every maneuver you can pull, be it a straight cut, bevels, or tight curves.
It is important to clear up that back in the day, jigsaws were called Saber saws, however, this name has now been given to reciprocating saws.
Uses of Jigsaw – The One Saw to Rule Them All
Now, let’s discuss the uses of jigsaw tool and how an investment in this power tool can be worth it.
How It Works
The jigsaw uses a teethed blade which it moves up and down at variable speeds. The thin and rather flexible blade means that the saw can be very effective at cutting tight corners and can be used at any angle. This makes it rather useful for making designs, cutting holes, making bevels, or simply cutting straight.
The saw has a plate (shoe) around the blade that you can rest against the surface of the wood you’re trying to cut. Since the blade is facing away from you, this makes the jigsaw tool very safe to use. Just make sure you don’t accidentally lift the plates up while cutting – it is fairly easy to do so, and can lead to chipping.
The jigsaw tool has a dial on it which can be used to adjust the saw’s speed. Slower speeds help prevent burning in the wood as the saw cuts. Faster speeds can be used for softer woods such as pine, while you should always use slower speeds on hardwoods.
And err… don’t touch the blade after making long cuts since it can get very hot. Also, don’t ask how we know this.
A lot of jigsaws also have an option to use orbital action cutting, something which it inherited from its ancestor, the saber saw. With this, the blade pivots forward and backward as well as up and down to cut faster. However, this can lead to messy cuts.
To cut curves with the jigsaw tool, squeeze the trigger lightly to slow down the saw speed and then twist. The blade is flexible, so as long as you’re not yanking the blade, you should be fine. Make sure it’s a curve, not a corner where you twist the jigsaw.
Set the base (shoe) of your jigsaw tool at an angle and start cutting the wood. Use a slow speed without orbital action. Once done, you’re going to have to sand it down to give it the proper shape you’re looking for.
Limitations of the Jigsaw Tool
Unfortunately, like all other power tools out there, the jigsaw has limitations too. To cut a piece of wood properly, you have to make sure your blade extends at least an inch from the wood’s thickness. This means that standard blades aren’t suitable for cutting anything thicker than 2x4’s for your woodworking plans.
You’re going to have to buy new, longer blades for that. Speaking of blades, make sure you buy T-Shank blades, since U-Shank blades have a way of dropping out mid-saw. What’s more, the blade cuts smoother on the side its teeth are toward, so make sure you draw your lines with that in mind and adjust your next woodworking plan accordingly.
You can find a lot of free woodworking plans and ideas online in which a jigsaw tool can go a long way. Just remember to take the necessary precautions and stay creative!
If you think we forgot to mention an important detail here or if you disagree that jigsaw tool is worth the investment, let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear more from all our woodworking fans out there.
Author Bio: Vincent Taylor has been a woodworking enthusiast for over 15 years now, creating bespoke wood furniture for clients as well as himself from time to time. In his free time, Mr. Taylor creates woodworking plans for people, distributing some of them for free on his website. He also has a collection of over 16,000 woodworking project plans that include in-depth details and step-by-step guides to creating novel furniture.