The jigsaw is a very useful tool, not only for woodworkers. But not everyone knows what a jigsaw is. So let’s first answer the question, what is a jigsaw? For most people a jigsaw is a portable tool used for cutting custom shapes and curves in wood, metal and other materials. The traditional jigsaw is a hand saw with a thin blade. But nowadays a jigsaw is electric, often cordless, which is very easy to use.
The term jigsaw has been used for several different tools. And some people use the term saber saw instead of jigsaw. Here we are going to use the term jigsaw for a portable reciprocating saw.
Although the jigsaw is very important, you also need to use the right blades. No matter how good you are with the jigsaw, you need to use the right blades as well. HSS steel blades are good but bimetal blades, HSS steel teeth welded onto a flexible base, are more durable.
The combination blade is a very useful blade, good for most straight and curved cuts. Blades with a large number of teeth per inch are designed for fine cutting. The knife blade is toothless and is the best blade for cutting very thin wood. The reverse-tooth blade cuts on the downstroke, which minimizes the risk of splintering on the top of the workpiece, it is very useful for veneer.
Electric jigsaws can be corded or cordless. Both types have some advantages. Nowadays, you have quite powerful cordless models on the market. Unfortunately, they are much more expensive than corded jigsaws but they are very convenient. The corded jigsaws are powerful and often cheap. But you are limited by the cord and need also pay attention so you don’t cut the cord.
In order to be able to use your jigsaw for a lot of different tasks, you need a variable speed model. Slower speed also decreases the risk of splintering. Another useful feature is orbital-blade action, which means that the blade moves slightly forward on the upstroke and away from the workpiece on the downstroke. The orbital-blade action decreases friction but increases the risk of splintering. That’s why you can choose between orbital blade and reciprocating movements. The quick-release blade change allows you to change blades without using any tools. This makes it quick and easy to change blades.
One very useful feature of the jigsaw is its ability to do interior cuts. You don’t need to drill a hole first, the jigsaw will penetrate most materials. Note that most jigsaws will let you do both bevel and compound cuts quickly, you just tilt the base plate. One of the main advantages of a jigsaw is that you can do most cutting tasks very quickly.