What is the shoe of a jigsaw made of?

     
     
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 Jigsaw base plate, shoe, footplate, base 

The shoe (or base plate) of a jigsaw plays a significant role in the cutting accuracy of the tool. As the blade of a jigsaw moves very quickly up and down, the shoe must be able to withstand and absorb the vibration of the machine.

 

It is usually made out aluminium, steel or magnesium. The metal used to make the shoe is either pressed (stamped) or die-cast. 

 
     
   

Steel

 
 Steel, pressed steel 

The shoes of some jigsaws are made out of pressed heavy gauge steel.

 

This is because steel is an extremely hard and durable material, able to withstand tough cutting applications. Steel shoes also reduce vibration, which helps the user to hold the saw tightly against the surface of the workpiece.

 
     
 

 However, pressed steel plates are more flexible than those made out of cast metal and are likely to become dented if the jigsaw is dropped, which can affect their accuracy.  
     
   

Die-cast aluminium

 
 Aluminium 

Some jigsaws have base plates made out of die-cast aluminium.

 

As aluminium is lighter than steel, incorporating an aluminium shoe in their jigsaws is one way in which manufacturers are making their machines more lightweight and easier to handle.

 
     
 Aluminium shoe of jigsaw 

These shoes are strong, like those made of pressed steel, but because they are die-cast instead of pressed, they are more solid so will not flex during use. 

 

In addition, the aluminium used to make the shoes of some jigsaws is nickel-plated to provide it with added hardness and durability.

 
     
   

Die-cast magnesium

 
 Jigsaw with magnesium footplate/shoe 

Magnesium is even lighter than aluminium but is not quite as strong.

 

Compared with steel, cast magnesium is better able to maintain its dimensional stability. This means that if you were to drop a jigsaw with a die-cast magnesium shoe, it would be less likely to become damaged.

 
     
   

Which type of jigsaw shoe should you choose?

 
 

Metal cutting jigsaw, cutting metal with jigsaw, up-close image of jigsaw shoe, shoe of jigsaw

 

The metal used to make the shoe of a jigsaw should not be the main factor when choosing a particular model.

 

However, it is important to select a tool with a quality shoe, particularly if you will be using your jigsaw for heavy-duty cutting. 

 
     
 Cutting corrugated metal with jigsaw, heavy-duty cutting, cutting metal with jigsaw, cordless jigsaw, using jigsaw out on-site 

If you intend to use your saw extensively, you should choose a model with a die-cast shoe that will be more capable of withstanding the vibration produced by the blade.

 

A cast shoe will also be less likely to lose its shape.

 
     
 

Feather, lightweight, feather-light

 

A tool with an aluminium or magnesium shoe instead of a steel base will be slightly lighter which is useful if you plan on using your saw for long periods. 

 

On the other hand, a jigsaw with a pressed steel shoe will be sufficient for a one-off task or light-duty cutting. 

 
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