What Can You Do With a Jigsaw? A Lot! | WOODWORKING BASICS

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I remember when I was a kid and would go

trick-or-treating my favorite house at

our neighborhood was the one that would

give away the fun size packages of

microjig maker of the gripper work smarter the jigsaw the one

saw to rule them all sort of my table

saw probably gets used more than any

tool in my shop but it has one big

limitation it can't cut curves not

counting CMC's lasers and other

specialty equipment there are basically

three power tools available for making

curved cuts in wood a scroll saw is

great for cutting tight intricate curves

in thin material and is most commonly

used for decorative objects a bandsaw is

probably the most common tool for

cutting curves in a woodworking shop but

it's expensive it takes up space and it

has its limitations a jig saw can handle

almost all of the curved cuts you'll

want to make and more it's versatile it

takes up no space and it's affordable in

fact after decades of woodworking I find

myself using my jig saw more and my fan

saw less it's that handy let me start by

trying to clear up some confusion in its

name in the past a jig saw is often

called a saber saw today a reciprocating

saw is sometimes called a saber saw but

most likely it's called a sawzall which

is just a brand name kind of like how

people call circular saws of skill saws

and what we call a scroll saw today used

to be referred to as a jig saw a jig saw

uses a small blade and it cuts with an

up-and-down motion the thin size of the

blades makes it easy to cut pretty tight

radiuses and it's handy for cutting

holes something a bandsaw can't do its

biggest limitation is that you can't cut

really thick lumber usually this isn't

much of an issue because I rarely cut

anything especially curves in anything

thicker than a 2x4 the saw rests against

your workpiece on this base or shoe and

most jig saws will let you tilt that

base to make beveled cuts but I don't

think I've ever used that feature most

saws also have variable speeds this is

useful for preventing burning as it

in general you can use a fast speed for

pine and other soft woods and a slower

speed to reduce burning on hardwoods to

adjust the speed there's usually a dial

+ squeezing the trigger produces

variable speeds online i usually just

keep the dial set to its fastest speed

and use the trigger for adjusting the

speed as i'm cutting a lot of jig saws

have an adjustment for orbital action

cutting when that switched on the blade

pivots forward and backward in addition

to going up and down this makes for an

aggressive cut and really speeds up the

cutting on large pieces the drawback is

that it produces a more ragged cut I

rarely use the orbital cutting feature

maybe occasionally for rough

construction projects if you've never

owned a jig saw and are looking to buy

your first one I'll narrow your first

decision for you only buy a jigsaw that

uses T shank blades check on this before

you leave the store in general there are

two types of blade shanks that hold the

blade to the saw the first kind and the

most common is the use shank these might

require a hex wrench or some other kind

of tool to install them into the saw I

used to have a saw like this and it was

a pain to use and sometimes the blades

would fall out of the saw while I was

making a cut it's just not worth the

hassle the second type are the t shank

blades like these you don't need a

special tool to attach them they quick

change to your saw in a second and they

stay very secure the teeth on jigsaw

blades can point upward or downward the

blade produces a smoother cut on the

side of the wood that it's cutting



I actually prefer the reverse blades the

ones that cut on the downstroke because

usually I draw my cutting lines on the

good side of the board but most blades

sold are the ones that cut on the

upstroke I have no idea why blades are

also sold in teeth per inch the fewer

the teeth per inch the faster but

rougher the cut a 10 TPI blade is good

for most woodworking applications this

narrow blade is 20 TPI and it's great

for cutting really tight curves there

are two things to consider when using a

jigsaw first understand that the blade

is unsupported on one end this is

usually only a problem if you take

curves too fast on thicker boards the

blade can flex causing the edge of your

board not to be square with the face the

other thing to keep in mind is the

length of your blade and make sure that

it's at least an inch or so longer than

the thickness of the wood you need to

cut it's also worth mentioning that a

jig saw is really one of the safest

power tools you can use since the

cutting blade is beneath the wood and

away from your fingers I usually support

my workpiece just by holding it against

my workbench and making the cut as close

to the edge of the workbench as I can

sometimes the blade runs into the

workbench but that's okay

unlike other saws to start my cut with a

jig saw personally I like to press the

blade up against the wood before turning

it on I find that it just grabs better

that way if the saw is already running

and I press it into the wood it tends to

slide around trying to find the cut line

be conscious of keeping the base of the

saw pressed against the board it's real

easy to lift it up without realizing it

causing your edges to not be square slow

down your feed rate for tighter curves

if the curve is too tight for the blade

to turn I kind of like to carve with the

blade you can even sweep the saw blade

side-to-side and kind of nibble away at

the wood a jigsaw is a must-have tool

for cutting holes or other inside shapes

something you can't do with a bandsaw

just drill a hole drop your blade into

it and start cutting



if you need to cut a square hole drill

holes in two corners and connect them


it's also great for cutting handles


those are just a few of the things you

can do with a jigsaw one of the most

underappreciated overlooked tools for

making things hey if you have any tips

for using a jigsaw leave them down in

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basics video hey I hope you enjoyed this

week's video and found it useful check

out my entire basics series by watching

this playlist there's a lot of great

information there to get you started

thank you so much for watching everybody

I'll see you next week