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What are the basic parts of a jigsaw?

What are the basic parts of a jigsaw?

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Parts of a jigsaw: lock-on button, on/off switch, handle, speed control dial, power cord, shoe, orbital action dial, blade clamp, blade, blade roller guide


Jigsaw shoe, Jigsaw baseplate, sole, footplate The shoe of a jigsaw is the metal base of the tool. It is sometimes called a baseplate or sole.

The shoe rests on the material to be cut and helps to make sure that blade is at a fixed angle to the workpiece.

Angled shoe of jigsaw; angled baseplate The shoes of most jigsaws can be set at an angle to allow the tool to make a bevel cut.

The angle of the shoe can be altered either by loosening the screw holding it in place or, if your tool has tool-less shoe adjustment, by releasing the shoe adjustment lever. For more information see, How to adjust the shoe of a jigsaw.

Cutting softwood with jigsaw, baseplate of jigsaw, jigsaw shoe The shoe needs to be very strong in order to withstand the vibration produced by the blade during operation. It is usually made out either pressed or cast steel, aluminium or magnesium.

For more information, see What is the shoe of a jigsaw made of?


Jigsaw blade The blade of the jigsaw protrudes from, and is square to, the shoe and performs the cutting action of the tool.

The teeth of most blades are angled upwards so they cut on the upstroke. For more information see, How does a jigsaw work?

Set of jigsaw blades Blades are available with varying numbers of teeth to produce different finishes. The type of blade installed in a jigsaw will determine the materials it can be used to cut.

For more information see, What are the different types of jigsaw blade?

Blade clamp

Jigsaw blade clamp, blade holder A jigsaw’s blade clamp holds the blade in position.

The blade clamps of some jigsaws consist of one or two screws that are loosened and tightened with an Allen key to hold the blade and lock it in place.

Jigsaw keyless blade change However, keyless blade clamping systems are becoming more common, which make changing the blade of the jigsaw much quicker and easier.

Instead of being held in place by screws, the blade is secured by a spring-loaded lever which is engaged or disengaged to hold or release it.

Blade roller guide

Jigsaw blade roller guide Above the shoe of a jigsaw is the blade roller guide which supports the blade during cutting.

The blade is slotted between the guide to ensure that it is kept square to the workpiece and to prevent it from bending.

  Wonkee Donkee says: 'Jigsaws with better-quality blade guides are more likely to produce cuts that are cleaner, straighter and squarer.'


Jigsaw handle; top handle of jigsaw The handle of a jigsaw is held by the user and allows them to guide the tool through the cut.

The type of handle a jigsaw has is one of the primary distinguishing features of the tool. There are two types: barrel grip and top handle. For more information see, What are the different types of jigsaw handle?

On-off switch

Jigsaw on-off switch, jigsaw trigger switch The on-off trigger of a jigsaw is usually found underneath the handle and is employed to operate the tool.

Applying pressure to the trigger increases the tool’s cutting speed, until it reaches the maximum speed set on the variable speed dial.

Lock-on button

Jigsaw lock-on button A lock-on button allows you lock the jigsaw at a set speed, instead of having to continuously hold the on-off trigger.

This feature makes the tool much more comfortable to use during prolonged cutting, reducing user fatigue.

Orbital action dial

Jigsaw orbital action dial When the orbital action of a jigsaw is activated, the blade is moved forwards and backwards as well as up and down, resulting in a more aggressive cut.

The orbital action dial is adjusted to control how much the blade moves forwards during each stroke. It can usually be set in either four or five positions. For more information, see What is orbital action?

Variable speed dial

Jigsaw variable speed dial The variable speed dial allows you to adjust the top cutting speed of the jigsaw.

The dial is calibrated and enables the user to gain more control over their tool, as the speed of the jigsaw can be adjusted to correspond with the task and material at hand.

Power cord

Jigsaw power cord On mains-operated jigsaws, the cord delivers power to the tool and can be between 2m (6½’) to 5m (16′) long.

When choosing a jigsaw, the length of the cord is important as it determines the portability and manoeuvrability of the tool.

Wonkee Donkee says: 'Of course, if your jigsaw has a shorter cord, you can use an extension lead to extend its reach.'
Jigsaw with removable power cable, detachable power cord The cords of some jigsaws can be detached from the tool when not in use.

Jigsaws with removable power leads are easier to store and transport.

Cordless jigsaw with battery labelled

Cordless jigsaws

Whilst corded jigsaws are more common, some are cordless.

Cordless jigsaws have a battery pack located at the rear of the tool, behind the main handle. For more information about cordless jigsaws, see Corded vs. cordless jigsaws.

Wonkee Donkee Tools