What is a jigsaw used for?

     
     
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 Jigsaw cutting straight piece of timber 

Jigsaws are primarily used to make curved, intricate cuts in wood, but can also cut through a number of other materials such as plastic, sheet metal and ceramic tile. 

 

Although jigsaws excel at making curved cuts, they can also be used to make plunge cuts, straight cuts and bevel cuts.

 
     
   

Curved cuts

 
 Making a curved cut with a jigsaw 

Jigsaws are much more delicate than other powered saws and their thin blades can be fitted into tight spaces and follow a curved line with ease.

 

In addition to the shape of their blade, jigsaws are not very heavy so they are easy to manoeuvre and guide along stencilled designs. 

 
     
 Cutting a circle with a jigsaw 

Circles of almost any size can be accurately cut with a jigsaw either freehand or with the aid of a circle cutting guide.

 

For more information on jigsaw guides, see  What are the different types of jigsaw guide?

 
     
   

Straight cuts

 
 Making a straight cut with a jigsaw 

With a slightly wider blade installed, a jigsaw can also be guided along a straightedge to make straight cuts.

 

Straight cuts can be either along or across the grain of a piece of wood or made in another material such as laminate. 

 
   Wonkee Donkee says: 'Great care should be taken when making straight cuts with a jigsaw because the narrow blade is prone to bending and will try to move off course.'  
     
   

Plunge cuts

 
 Plunge cutting with a jigsaw 

Jigsaws are fairly unique because of the way they can make plunge cuts.

 

Making a plunge cut involves starting a cut in the middle, rather than on the edge, of a workpiece.

 
     
 Making a sink cut out in a countertop with a jigsaw 

It is a useful technique for making holes in wood or plasterboard to allow for electrical outlets or letter boxes.

 

However, perhaps one of the most common applications of this type of cut is making a sink cut-out in a new kitchen countertop.

 
     
   

Bevel cuts

 
 Making a bevel cut with a jigsaw 

Most jigsaws have a pivoting shoe which enables them to make bevel cuts in mouldings and boards. 

 

The shoe can be positioned at angles up to 45 degrees so that the jigsaw cuts on a bevel. 

 
     
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