The jigsaw (or sabre saw) is the first power cutting tool you should have in your toolkit. This is a very versatile tool that with some limitations on material thickness, can crosscut, bevel, miter and make scrolling curved cuts. Jigsaws use interchangeable blades depending on the material to be cut. This is a tool that can be used with one hand, and you will find it indispensable.
Always use eye protection when using a jigsaw or sabre saw.
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What You Need
- Eye protection
- Material to cut
- Saw blade appropriate to the material being cut
Here's How to Use the Sabre Saw
- Put on your eye protection. Although this is a user-friendly tool it is still a power tool and blades can snap as well as cut material can fly up.
- Make sure the extension power cord is not in the way of the cut or in a position that you can trip on the cord.
- The metal base of the jigsaw is often called the "shoe". You'll start by positioning the tip of the shoe on top of the material you're cutting and facing the cut you want to begin making.
- Note which side of the cut line you want to make your cut and place the blade slightly away from where you want to begin.
- Firmly holding the grip, press the power button and begin your cut.
- Apply gentle pressure when making cuts. Never force the blade. The motor and blade do all the work and forcing the cut can bind the saw and create a dangerous situation. With jigsaws, the blade is moving very fast in an up-and-down motion. If stressed with too much forward motion, the blade will snap off completely so take some care and be careful.
- CURVED CUT: If you're making a curved cut, then follow the line regulating the speed of your cut by what the material will allow. Metal wants to be cut or drilled at a slower speed than wood
- STRAIGHT CUT: If a straight cut is what you're after, then you will need a guide for the saw to follow. Because the jigsaw blade is so small it can wander in the cut unless the saw is guided. The saw guide can be a straight piece of wood clamped at both ends onto the material being cut so as to precisely place the blade cut where it's required.
- STRAIGHT CUT: Another method to achieve an accurate straight cut is to use an accessory that typically comes with the jigsaw called a rip-guide. Assuming the edge of your material is straight and you only need to cut a few inches from the edge, this works fine.
- Once you complete the cut, let the blade come to rest and place the saw down.
- Don't force the cut as the blade may snap.
- Jigsaws have a limitation as far as the thickness of material being cut. about 1½" is the limit for these saws. Beyond that the saw works too hot, can overheat and the blade wanders causing un-square cuts.
- Jigsaw blades cut by pulling up. That means if you are cutting a material that has a finished side, say plastic laminate or paneling, you want to front side to be facing down.
- Make sure the blade is always sharp. They are fairly cheap and make the saw work much better and easier.
- Buy a saw with a variable speed feature. It makes all the difference in control of your cuts.