Tool Tips: How to Use Jigsaw Power Tool

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A great jigsaw is the most blessed tool that offers  DIY-ers freedom to cut various shapes, both, straight and curved. It works perfectly on a variety of materials including plywood, wood, particle board, plastic, metal, as well as ceramic tiles.

The best part about this tool is that besides being highly versatile, is also easy to use and maintain. However, like any other tool, the excellence of a jigsaw lies in effective use.

No matter how brilliant jigsaw you have got, if you do not know how to use it properly, you will fail to produce quality results. In this article, let me tell you how to use a jigsaw power tool and bring out the best in your creative projects.

Makita JV0600 jigsaw

Makita JV0600 jigsaw ” by Mark Hunter, used under CC BY 2.0


The efficiency of a jigsaw widely depends upon the type of blade you use. Just like your kitchen knife, the sharper the edges the better you cut. But, in a jigsaw power tool, the selection of blade depends upon the material you are cutting.

jigsaw blades

Jigsaw Blades ” by Sandy Poore, used under CC BY 2.0

The type of blade depends upon the thickness of the material it is designed to cut. With the right blade in hand, you can cut a variety of material with precision. Now let’s get into some technicality of the jigsaw blade clan. Jigsaw blades are categorized on the basis of blade teeth, fabrication, size, types and more.

Common blade fabrications are High Carbon Steel, High-Speed Steel, Bi-metal, and Tungsten Carbide. These metals can be carved in a variety of jigsaw teeth for effective use.

The jigsaw teeth layout includes Taper, Wavy, Side, and Reverse. Then finally, the selection of material and teeth are combined to make two types of jigsaw blades- T-Shanks & U-shanks.

MaterialBlade Material(s)

Teeth Type

SoftwoodHigh carbon steel Bi-metalSide Taper Reverse
HardwoodHigh-Speed Steel Bi-metalSide Taper Reverse
PlasticAll materials vary according to compositionAll types vary according to the composition
AluminumHigh-Speed Steel Bi-metalWavy Side Taper
SteelHigh-Speed Steel Bi-metalWavy Taper
Ceramic, stone, and other masonry materialsTungsten CarbideGrit, no teeth


Now that you have understood the classification of jigsaw blades, we shall move to the techniques used to cut a variety of material efficiently with a jigsaw.

Cutting Wood

For cutting wood, you must choose the right set of jigsaw blades to cut softwood or hardwood. Mark the pattern you wish to cut and let the action begin. You must start by placing the saw shoe on the workpiece in a way that the blade is away from the edge. Now, pressing the machine gently, move along the cutting line.

Makita 4351FCT Jigsaw in a wokshop

Makita 4351FCT Jigsaw ” by Mark Hunter, used under CC BY 2.0

You must maintain a steady pace to let the saw cut without deflection. An ideal combination of cutting blades and relief cuts will help you cut without binding the blades. You can make straight, curved or many more or less complicated patterns with a jigsaw.

Things to remember:

  • You can use jigsaw tool to cut softwood that’s no more than 1-1/2 in. thick and hardwood up to 3/4 in. thick.
  • For a quick cutting session, use a coarser blade. However, you need to do a lot of sanding later depending upon the coarseness of the blade.
  • You can use a jigsaw to plunge cut; all you need to do is put the saw shoe in the middle and put weight on the front lip.

You can choose between upstroke and downstroke cutting blade. While upstroke blades are quick, downstroke blades produce finer results.

Cutting Ceramic Tiles

You can easily cut ceramic tiles with a jigsaw blade that is a ¼ inch thick. While cutting tiles, you must take care of lubrication and use water for misting the tiles to make them easier to cut.

Cutting tiles with a jigsaw, unlike cutting wood, demands more patience, concentration and I’d say experience as well. This is again a way to limit the tile breakage.

Things to remember:

  • Carbide-grit, toothless tiles are the best for cutting tiles.
  • Applying water for lubrication helps you cut precisely and minimize wastage.
  • You may also put duct tape on the saw shoe to avoid scratching or marring the tiles.

Cutting Metals

A jigsaw power tool is perfect to cut a variety of metal objects including steel, no-iron pipe, wood with embedded nails, hinges, bolts, galvanized & copper pipes and metal sheet up to 10 gauge thick, but, only if you choose the right blade.

With firm pressure and appropriate blades, you can easily cut patterns out of metal sheets. The metal cutting blades have tiny teeth that are sharp and hard.

Things to Remember:

  • A tight grip ensures smooth and precise cutting.
  • You must hold the saw in a way that at least three teeth contact the edge of the material.
  • Typical metal cutting jigsaw blades have 20-24 teeth per inch (TPI).

Common Features of a Jigsaw Power Tool

Though different jigsaw comes with a variety of features, some of them are widely common across all manufacturers. They are:

    • Speed Control
      Almost every jigsaw comes with a speed controller button. Usually, it is located on the top of the machine or at a position where it is easy to reach while in use. It controls the speed of the blade.
    • Blade release
      The blade is fitted vertically in the machine and cuts by moving up and down. It is always placed with teeth towards the material cut. A blade clamp holds the blade in place.
    • Shoe
      A saw shoe is a surface that directly comes in contact with the material and helps you hold the tool flat against it. It also guides the blade to move on the surface. To make different types of cuts, you must put the different extent of pressure on the saw shoe.

Different jigsaws have different features however this article offers you some knowledge about using a power tool like a jigsaw, efficiently. Bosch, Dewalt, SKIL, Porter, Makita, Black & Decker are some reputed brands on the market. Now that you know how to use a jigsaw tool, you can start to make all these funky projects you wanted.

If you have any questions, let me know in the box below :)

1 thought on “Tool Tips: How to Use Jigsaw Power Tool”

  1. Thank you for explaining that there are many jigsaw blades that have different applications. My sister wants to rent out a jigsaw for a youth group activity that requires building. I will be sure to forward this article to her so that she can have a better idea about how to use it.


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