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What's the trick to cutting with a jigsaw?

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Forum topic by Zvonko posted 09-29-2019 12:27 PM 2085 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Zvonko

95 posts in 620 days


09-29-2019 12:27 PM

Hello,

I’m trying to make something for a friend out of 3/4” plywood. A lot of the cuts I was able to make on table saw, but some required me to get my jig saw out.

I have a love-hate relationship with the jig saw. It’s very handy for making cuts where a table, miter or circular saw can’t get to, but I struggle mightily getting the cut to be straight vertically. The blade always seems to tilt and the cut isn’t straight up and down.

Has anyone else run into this and how do you avoid it?

Thanks.

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.


40 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12217 posts in 4234 days


#1 posted 09-29-2019 01:07 PM

Use a sharp blade, use the correct tooth count for the material, use the correct blade width for the curves, cut slow, don’t force it.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1727 posts in 2536 days


#2 posted 09-29-2019 01:11 PM

Sure have. The remedy is a good quality saw and good quality blade. I struggled with what you’ve described from “78 to ‘91 when I finally ended up getting a Bosh jig saw that was near $200 at the time. It was a price that has shown over the years to be well worth it. I just searched to see if I could find my model, but found this instead.

https://bestreviews.com/best-jigsaws

It will probably help you some. I was surprised to see they consider the Bosch saw to be “The Best of the Best”. I’m also wondering why they show a corded saw with the specs of 20 volts. That doesn’t really matter. It’s still a good saw…......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View torus's profile

torus

465 posts in 1219 days


#3 posted 09-29-2019 01:11 PM

+1


Use a sharp blade, use the correct tooth count for the material, use the correct blade width for the curves, cut slow, don t force it.

- Gene Howe


and +1 for Bosh

-- "It's getting better..." - put this on my RIP stone!

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

7666 posts in 1518 days


#4 posted 09-29-2019 01:37 PM

use a band saw

if not but a better jigsaw mine has VS AND ORBITAL the dewalt one :<)))

DEWALT DW331KR Heavy-Duty 6.5 Amp Top Handle Jig Saw

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View KuhShise's profile

KuhShise

12 posts in 737 days


#5 posted 09-29-2019 01:43 PM

Let me echo Mr. Howe’s final comment… “Go slow” if you are not staying square, you are probably putting some side pressure on the blade, causing it to follow the harder parts of the plywood grain or glue between the laminations. A valance on a recent project cabinet for a grandson frustrated me as I was unable to properly control an old Craftsman 135.17243. Went out an bought a DeWalt DW 331K. The new saw solved about 95% of the out-of-square conditions. I still use an oscillating spindle sander to bring the edge to the pattern line, as that is always square with the table. A fine rasp and a hand held orbital pad sander finishes up most tight places. Fine grained stock (Cherry, Maple, Birch etc.) follow the line much better than coarse grained materials like Red Oak or Catalpa. Repeating Mr. Gene Howe – Proper sharp blade and tooth size and Go Slow.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3865 posts in 2028 days


#6 posted 09-29-2019 01:48 PM

I had similar problems, turned out the shoe was mis-welded at the factory and the 90 deg stop was off. A new part fixed that but wasn’t fully correct until I adopted the sharp blade and go slow technique 8^)

View Zvonko's profile

Zvonko

95 posts in 620 days


#7 posted 09-29-2019 02:44 PM

Well, you all bring up a great point. I definitely DO have a habit of trying to apply elbow grease when using power tools instead of just letting tool do its job. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken a drill bit doing that. Once, I even burned out a sander because I was pushing down too hard.

Hell, even when I was a programmer, I would beat the ** out of my keyboard. People used to make fun of me “are you trying to kill that keyboard?”

I need to have a sound clip play on a loop in my headphones when I use power tools: “slow down & ease up” :)

Thanks for confirming what I kind of suspected.

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.

View Sark's profile

Sark

300 posts in 1166 days


#8 posted 09-29-2019 03:13 PM

I have the same frustration. I’ve replaced the shoe plate on both my Bosch routers more than once. They may be the best of the best, but that plate could be stiffer, and they would stay flatter. And cut more accurately. And as far as getting square cuts in 2 or 3” thick material? Forget about it.

And maybe the Festool has a better guide for the blade itself so it is better supported during the stroke. But that’s not what I own. Going slow is not my forte either. But its good advice.

View Scap's profile

Scap

123 posts in 733 days


#9 posted 09-29-2019 03:25 PM



Well, you all bring up a great point. I definitely DO have a habit of trying to apply elbow grease when using power tools instead of just letting tool do its job. Can t tell you how many times I ve broken a drill bit doing that. Once, I even burned out a sander because I was pushing down too hard.

Hell, even when I was a programmer, I would beat the ** out of my keyboard. People used to make fun of me “are you trying to kill that keyboard?”

I need to have a sound clip play on a loop in my headphones when I use power tools: “slow down & ease up” :)

Thanks for confirming what I kind of suspected.

- Zvonko

Haha, reminds me of that blonde joke…well it wasn’t funny when she died….her tape loop was “breathe in; breathe out”.

I used my jig saw yesterday to notch a window sill I was making. I used a new blade. Went slow, and for the cuts where the shoe was hanging off into the middle of nowhere, I even mounted the blade with the teeth facing reverse. Like said above, sharp blade, go slow, and let the tool do the work.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2512 posts in 968 days


#10 posted 09-29-2019 03:32 PM

when I started making large sandblasted redwood signs, I got sooooooooo
frustrated with the angled cuts. while at the “real hardware” store, I was
exhibiting my frustrations over my jigsaw asking what blades to use.
the very knowledge sales guy said it was the saw (as mentioned above).
so I bit the bullet and got a Dewalt DW-318 VS Orbital Saw and the correct
blades for my project. WOW !!!
the “Orbital” action is much like the hand sawing with any saw in a “swooping”
motion up-down/fwd-rev. It worked so well, I bought another one the next week.
cutting corners in thick material is the most frustrating thing you can experience
if you don’t have the right tool coupled with your skills. (as with any project).
I agree: it is not the brand name of the saw, it is the action and proper blade for the project.
(as well as letting the tool do the work – without applying undue force).

Try cutting out about 20 of these bad boys with an inferior jigsaw.
6ft x 4ft x 1.5” thick redwood.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View NoSpace's profile

NoSpace

170 posts in 2046 days


#11 posted 09-29-2019 03:33 PM

I tell myself that one day I’ll get a Mafell Jigsaw, which is probably barely qualifies as a jigsaw. Until then, on the occasions I have to use my corded Ryobi jigsaw, which is I believe is my oldest tool, whether plywood or hardwood, I roughcut the piece I need out and then clean it up with a router+pattern bit.

View NoSpace's profile

NoSpace

170 posts in 2046 days


#12 posted 09-29-2019 03:34 PM

John,

Awesome sign, dude.

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

504 posts in 1931 days


#13 posted 09-29-2019 03:45 PM



I had similar problems, turned out the shoe was mis-welded at the factory and the 90 deg stop was off. A new part fixed that but wasn t fully correct until I adopted the sharp blade and go slow technique 8^)

- splintergroup

I have had a Bosch for years and had no problems. Then one day I made a cut and noticed the blade was way off 90 deg. It’s a one piece cast aluminum shoe. It’s never been dropped and has always been stored in the metal case it came with (because I store the blades there too). If due to a drop I would have expected it to crack or break so all I can think of is it “warped”. One side of the shoe is still perfectly flat so I have to remember that when I cut anything. I see a replacement is available but I keep forgetting to order it.

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

680 posts in 1554 days


#14 posted 09-29-2019 03:46 PM

I have a Bosch, an older version. Great saw, but will go off of vertical. I read that the newest version of that jigsaw is much better at keeping the cut vertical.

View SMP's profile

SMP

2251 posts in 711 days


#15 posted 09-29-2019 03:49 PM

So as everyone else mentioned the Bosch saw and authentic blades help dramatically, as well as the go slow method. However, i still have the issue with certain types of curves, mainly tighter curves. So what i do on those is cut a hair outside the line and clean up on the disc of my disc/belt sander with table at 90

showing 1 through 15 of 40 replies

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