jig saw jig

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Blog entry by Chris McDowell posted 07-09-2012 01:19 AM 3903 reads 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I made a jig for my jig saw. I had the Kreg square-cut jig in mind when I made it. I used a couple of scrap pieces of wood. I don’t have a jointer or a plane, so I used the sides that looked the most straight. I’m guessing they were milled at least on one edge, since I got the wood from Home Depot. I checked these edges for square with my combo square and they looked pretty good. I used glue and clamped the two pieces together then used my nail gun to nail them together once I had them square with each other.

Now I can just line up the bottom piece with my line and I’m ready to go.

My first test was on a piece of 2×6. It didn’t take long for me to find out there were problems. It started off fine, then it veered to the left of the line a little, towards the jig. I stopped and thought that maybe I didn’t clamp it well enough, but it was clamped tight. I started again from the beginning to try to correct it and get a straight line, but it went left again and just kept going.

It was at this point I realized that it was veering because the blade was bending. I stopped and removed the jig saw and grabbed blade to see if it was loose.

It was at this point I realized that the blade gets really hot. Lesson learned.

So I thought maybe a 2×6 was too thick and that if the blade twists or I am not right up against the jig, it just can’t correct itself and keeps going off course. I switched to a 1×6 and tried again. It was a lot better, but there was still a tiny bit of travel to the left. The blade does look a little twisted when it’s installed, so it could be that. The lines are still a lot straighter than I would be able to achieve by eye. I’m thinking if I go really slow it might help keep it straight.

The picture below shows the results. The board on the left is the 2×6. You can see how much it veered because the blade was bending. The board on the right is the 1×6 and it looks pretty good. I should at least be able to get some pretty straight lines when I next practice some more Greene & Greene finger joints.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

5 comments so far

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 2642 days

#1 posted 07-09-2012 02:38 AM

Not to sound like a smart a.. but there is a difference between a cross cut and a rip cut. The rip cut wonders more because the blade wants to follow the easy spots in the grain. Try a new blade that is designed for ripping and you will see better results. You might want to try and angle the blade toward the line, It helps sometimes.

View Sawdustonmyshoulder's profile


484 posts in 4013 days

#2 posted 07-09-2012 02:54 AM

Well, a jig saw is really made to cut a line that is not straight.

A bandsaw blade will have ‘drift’ in the blade and you have to compensate for that drift when you want a relative straight line when you rip a board. This factor could be what you are seeing with your jig saw blades. Try making your cuts with a fresh blade or a wider, more aggressive tooth blade.

You may want to look into using a ‘shooting board’ and a plane to clean up a ‘freehand’ cross cut. Here is a great video about shooting boards from a fellow LJ, mot: Shooting Board Basics

I hope this helps….. oh, and welcome to Lumberjocks. You won’t regret joining.

-- The more skilled you are at something, the worse you are at it when someone is watching.

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

644 posts in 2537 days

#3 posted 07-09-2012 09:51 AM

Thanks for the instruction. All instruction is welcome at this point. I’m a beginner.

Deycart: That makes sense. I knew the difference between rip and cross cuts, but I didn’t realize they would have any effect on the travel of the blade. Good to know. Thanks!

Sawdustonmyshoulder: Thanks for the info. I like the shooting board idea. I’ll have to use one for sure when I can find a good deal on a plane. I’ve been looking around for one. Funds are limited, though, and from what I’ve read, I know I’ll also have to buy some things to flatten the sole and sharpen the blade. Any plane will work with the shooting board?

I know what I’m doing is unconventional, but the jig saw is the only cutting tool I have outside of a miter saw. I’m just trying to make the most of what I have.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View ~Julie~'s profile


612 posts in 3419 days

#4 posted 07-09-2012 01:12 PM

Also Chris, there are good and poor jigsaws. I switched from a cheapie to a good quality one years ago and it was a world of difference!

-- ~Julie~

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2532 days

#5 posted 08-25-2012 02:34 PM

I will have to make one of these for my jigsaw and my circular saw. Thanks for sharing.

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