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Woodworkers & Jigsaws

Updated on October 26, 2014

The Jigsaw, a Handy Tool in the Woodshop

Woodworkers use jigsaws for cutting curves and finishing square cuts that require precision. Often employed in a more artistic manner than other saws the jig saw is essential for most wood shops. Using a jigsaw effectively requires a steady hand, a good eye, and plenty of lighting.

Mechanics of the Jigsaw

Jigsaws are power tools, composed of an electric motor and a reciprocating saw blade. A rear thrust bearing keeps the blade tracking straight and perpendicular for accuracy. Some models have useful features like variable speed, orbital-action, bevel function, quick-change blade and dust blowers.

Variable Speed Jigsaws

Variable speed is important when cutting precise lines in wood. It allows the blade to slow during tight curves adding to the accuracy. Some models have a dial on the trigger, which prevents it from moving at high speeds.

Orbital Action Feature

The orbital action feature angles the blade forward and into the material, while a standard-action jigsaw only moves the blade in an up-and-down motion. The orbital action jigsaw can have up to four settings for cuts from fine too aggressive. This prevents the blade from heating up, extending its life.

Other Features of a Jigsaw

The bevel function, which allows angles of up to 45 degrees to be cut, is convenient at times but not used often. Some models have a quick release, which allows the bevel to be set without tools.

While cutting thick material, jig saw blades tend to bend, which can damage the material. This can be avoided by cutting 1/8" outside the line, then finish with a sander or flush router. This will decrease the risk of cutting inside the line, however slowing the jig saw speed helps as well.


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