1. Coarse wood-cutting blade
2. Hollowground blade for smooth wood cuts
3. Metal-cutting blade
4. Scroll-cut blade for tight curves
5. Knife blade for leather, vinyl
6. Flush-cut blade
The jigsaw is a very good portable power tool for cutting curves and internal cutouts. The cutting capacity of a jigsaw depends on its power and the length of its blade stroke. Choose a saw rated to cut 2-inch-thick softwood and 3/4-inch-thick hardwood stock. Many jigsaws have a pivoting baseplate that can be locked so you can make bevel cuts as well.
A variable-speed jigsaw is the best choice, because different blade styles require different cutting speeds for best results. In general, faster blade speeds are used for cutting with coarse-tooth blades and slower speeds with fine-tooth blades.
Jigsaws vibrate more than other power saws because of the up-and-down blade action. However, top-quality jigsaws have a heavy-gauge steel baseplate that reduces vibration to help you hold the saw tightly against the workpiece for better control.
Because jigsaw blades cut on the upward stroke, the top side of the workpiece may splinter. If the wood has a good side to protect, cut with this surface facing downward.
Make plunge cuts by tipping the saw so the front edge of the baseplate is held firmly against the workpiece. Start the saw, and slowly lower it to a horizontal position, letting the blade gradually cut through the workpiece.
Cut metals with a fine-tooth metal-cutting blade and select a slow blade speed. Support sheet metals with thin plywood to eliminate vibration. Use emery paper or a file to smooth burred edges left by the blade.
The jigsaw is designed to cut curves, but tight curves can cause the blade to bind. An easy way to avoid this problem is to make a series of relief cuts through the surrounding waste material and up to the curved cutting line. This way you can break up a tight curve into smaller sections rather than one long cut.
Tip: To get the best possible cut with a jigsaw, clamp your workpiece securely to a solid work station. Even though the saw is meant to be held with one hand, it usually works better to use both hands for guidance. And remember, don’t force it!