How to Use Jig Saw to Cut Wood, Tile, and Metal

Man cuts wood product using an electric tool

A jigsaw is a versatile tool that can be used to cut shapes in wood, plastic, metal, and other types of material. If you know how to use a jigsaw correctly, you can complete a wide variety of projects around the home and achieve the type of clean professional results you’re after. Overall, these saws are considered beginner-friendly, so learning how to use, operate, and control one will require minimal instruction.

How to use a jigsaw can vary, depending on the type of material you’re cutting, the application, and how thick the workpiece is. You’ll need to change out the saw’s blade based on material type, which will ensure your workpiece has the type of smooth clean cuts you’re looking for. For a larger project, you’ll want to speak with a pro regarding what types of blades to use for improved cutting precision.

Read on to learn about the right types of blades to use for your next project and what techniques you should rely on based on material type.

How to Cut Wood with a Jigsaw

If you want to cut smooth curves in wood you’ll need to start by firmly pressing the shoe on the work material. Make sure you keep the blade away from the edge. Fire up the saw and begin guiding it along the cutting line’s outside edge in order to move from the curve to the inside corner. When guiding the saw, you must always move at a pace that will allow the blade to cut the material without any deflection. You will also want to pay attention to how the motor sounds. If it sounds like it’s working too hard, you’ll need to slow down the pace. In order to prevent the blade from binding on the curves, use relief cuts to remove any waste.

blocks of wood being cut

This type of saw is perfect for cutting complex shapes and curves into wood. They’re also a great choice if you want to make short crosscuts. However, they’re not ideal for making straight, long, or fast cuts. For those tasks, you’ll want to use a circular saw.

When you’re working with wood using your jigsaw, you’ll want to use the following tips:

  • Use the saw on softwood that’s no more than one to one and a half inches thick. If you’re working with hardwood, choose wood that’s only about half an inch thick.
  • The blades of the jigsaw can bend when you’re cutting curves into thicker boards. This can result in edges that are beveled instead of squared. In order to keep the square cut, make sure you use a sharper blade and don’t force the blade through a cut.
  • In order to make an entry cut into the middle of the wood, make sure you keep the tip of the saw parallel to the work material. The weight of the saw should be resting on the shoe’s front lip. The saw should be started up at its top speed. Next, tilt the shoe and lower it steadily as you stab the blade into the wood. This type of plunge cutting technique is often used for rough work.
  • If you want to make quick cuts, you’ll need to use a coarse blade. Keep in mind that when you use a coarse blade you’ll need to sand down the workpiece for a smooth look.

How to Cut Ceramic Tile

When cutting ceramic tile you’ll need to use a carbide blade. We recommend a type of abrasive carbide grit blade. This blade can be used on ceramic tile that’s around a quarter of an inch thick. You can speed up the process and minimize the chance of breaking tile by clamping each tile and spraying it down with water in order to lubricate the cut. Working with this type of material will require plenty of patience, relief cuts, and blade changes.

How to Cut Metal

If you want to avoid shredding sheet metal as you cut, clamp the workpiece down between a couple of pieces of plywood. Next, drill starter holes inside each pattern circle. Now you can cut through the plywood and metal sheet using a blade with a minimum of twenty-four teeth per inch.

Related Questions

circular cut in a wooden table

How Often Will I Need to Change the Blade on a Jigsaw?

This will ultimately depend on the type of material you’re cutting and its thickness. For larger projects, you may find yourself needing to switch out the blades frequently, which can be pretty time consuming if your jigsaw doesn’t have a tool-less blade changing feature. If you’d like to learn more about the process, click here to read our article on how to change a jigsaw blade.

How Can I Determine the Right Type of Jigsaw to Use for My Home Improvement Project?

If you’re a beginner and have decided to do some remodeling on your own in order to save money, then you’ll need to do your research in terms of finding a saw that’s powerful enough or equipped with the right features for your intended project. Models such as the Festool 561593 Carvex PS 420 EBQ Jigsaw offer a versatile performance and a lightweight design, which is what makes it a great option for projects of all sizes. If you’re not familiar with the type of features a jigsaw has to offer or you’d like to learn more about the top leading models currently on the market, then be sure to check out our best jigsaw buyer’s guide for more information.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, how to use a jigsaw is fairly simple, if you know how to choose the right type of blade and cutting speed. Remember, for each type of material, you’ll need to use a different speed setting and blade in order to get the smoothest cuts without damaging the workpiece. Over time, you’ll get the hang of each process, but for now, if you’re not sure what type of blade will work for a specific type of material, we recommend asking a pro or visiting your local home improvement store for solid advice.

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How to Use Jig Saw to Cut Wood, Tile, and Metal
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How to Use Jig Saw to Cut Wood, Tile, and Metal
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Learn how to use your new jigsaw correctly for your next big project and find out how to choose the right blade based on material type and thickness.
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