What Is a Jigsaw? What Is a Jigsaw?

A jigsaw is a very useful tool to have in your workshop because it will do things that no other saw can. Where other saws are meant to cut in straight lines, the whole idea of a jigsaw is to cut curves. Although jigsaws are available as traditional hand saws, there are also power jigsaws which can speed up the cutting process. The original jigsaw puzzle pieces were cut with a jigsaw and this task actually gave birth to the popular name we use today.


The jigsaw uses a thin blade that can move in a curve. Because of the shape of the blade, it’s sometimes known as a bayonet saw. The thin, more flexible blade means it can be maneuvered more easily around a curve. If the blade is properly beveled, it can also cut miter joints which increases its usefulness.

Even if you have a guide, you shouldn’t try and cut a straight line with a jigsaw; it’s simply not made for that. A jigsaw will generally be used for decorative work such as arbitrary curves, scrollwork or even stencils. In many ways, a jigsaw does the work of a chisel or a rasp by being able to cut out shapes. However, it does so more quickly and cleanly.


When you need to cut out a stencil or make curved cuts in wood, you’ll need to use your jigsaw. These days, this will generally be a power jigsaw. Power jigsaws were invented just after World War Two and have become the popular method of choice for jigsaw work. In particular, the pendulum cutting action that was introduced in 1966 can be faster and more accurate than traditional methods.

A jigsaw is more suited for fine, curved work although it can also tackle a reasonable thickness of wood. Usually, it will be used on thin wood where delicate cutting is important. With practice, you’ll be able to make sharp, exact cuts with a jigsaw. If you’re not familiar with the tool, it’s advisable to practice on spare wood first to become used to it. As well as wood and metal, you can also use a jigsaw on kitchen countertops, plastic, carpet, leather, pipes and even ceramic tiles.

Variable Speed

More expensive power jigsaws have variable speeds. This can be especially useful for extremely delicate work where you need to be able to work slowly and still cut the wood. Those who do a lot of scrollwork favor these types of jigsaws. Jigsaws can also be used on thin metal although the majority of people who own one will only ever use it on wood. For metal tasks, you will need a special metal jigsaw blade.

Ease Of Use

A jigsaw is easy to use but takes a lot of time to truly master. You need to use the correct blade for the job in relation to the material and the thickness you are working on. Blades are available for fine or coarse cuts and these days, blades are very easy to fit and remove so a changeover can be done very quickly.

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