When it comes to woodworking tools, the jigsaw is definitely a fan favorite, and it is all thanks to its high level of versatility. Not only is the jigsaw one of the most common woodworking tools out there, but also one of the more useful ones.
So, what exactly can a this type of saw do and what in what situations can it be used?
9 Practical Jigsaw Uses
What is really cool about your standard jigsaw is that it can be used for many different purposes.
Let’s take a look at the most common practical uses first.
The first practical use for a jigsaw is for flooring.
Flooring requires many boards to be ripped to certain widths and cut straight to certain lengths, all of which can be easily done with a jigsaw.
Another practical application for the jigsaw is for roofing.
Just like with flooring, roofing requires boards to be ripped to certain widths and cut straight to certain lengths, all of which can be easily done with a jigsaw.
Yes, just like with flooring and roofing, when making frames for walls, as well as the walls themselves, boards need to be ripped and cut to certain lengths and widths.
Making Boxes, Planters, Picture Frames, and More
Jigsaws are indeed very versatile, as they can be used to make straight, miter, and bevel cuts, all of which come in handy when making various square things like boxes, planters, picture frames, window frames, and door frames.
Yet another jigsaw application is carpet laying.
Now, a jigsaw would usually not be the first choice for cutting carpet, but it does come in handy in a bind.
Plumbing and Electrical Work
Seeing as jigsaws can be used to cut plastic, plexiglass, PVC, and more, it is also a tool that can be used for plumbing and electrical work, specifically for cutting PVC tubing.
Fence, Patio, and Deck Making
Whether you are making a gate, a fence, a new patio, or a new deck, a jigsaw can be used to cut all of those boards down to size.
General Crafts and Projects
If you are a home hobbyist, a DIY person, or you just like making crafts, especially out of wood, a jigsaw can be used for a wide variety of applications.
Although not the first tool of choice to cut crown molding for homes, a jigsaw (with a bevel function) can be used to cut crown molding.
5 Types of Cuts a Jigsaw Can Do
When we said that a jigsaw is one of the most versatile types of saws out there, it was for good reason, mainly because this is a type of saw that can make many different types of cuts.
There are five main types of cuts that jigsaws can make, so let’s take a quick look at each of them.
The first type of cut that a jigsaw can make is a classic straight cut. One thing to keep in mind is that to make straight cuts with jigsaws, you do want to use some sort of fence, as keeping a jigsaw moving in a perfectly straight line can be hard.
That said, you can use a jigsaw to make 45-degree angled miter cuts (straight cut but at an angle), you can use a jigsaw to make straight 90-degree cross-cuts, and you can use a jigsaw to rip boards along their length too.
As long as you can keep the blade moving in a straight line, jigsaws work great for this type of cuts.
The second type of cut that you can make with a jigsaw is a curved cut. Jigsaws use very thin, light, and flexible blades, which makes them ideal not only for fitting into tight spaces but also for cutting out curved lines and designs. They can even cut full circles.
Because the blade is quite thin and flexible, it is easy to manipulate the direction and maneuver it in order to cut curves. Moreover, because jigsaws are handheld, and fairly small and portable, it makes it just that much easier to make smooth, curved cuts.
The third type of cut that can be made with a jigsaw is a bevel cut. Bevel cuts involve tilting the blade left or right on the vertical plane, so instead of the blade being perfectly vertical, it leans to one side or the other.
Some jigsaws allow the blade to bevel to both sides, usually up to 45 degrees, whereas some only allow the blade to bevel to one side. This allows you to make angled cuts along the vertical plane.
Plunge cuts are a type of cut where wood or other material is cut away from the interior of a piece.
For example, you could use a jigsaw to cut a square or circle out of a large piece, thus leaving a hole inside of it. Now, in order to do this, you will need either a really sharp jigsaw blade with a sharp tip, or you will need to use a drill to drill a hole for the plunge cut, so you can insert the jigsaw’s blade into the material being cut.
You may also use a jigsaw to make flush cuts, which is used to cut off pieces of wood or other materials from otherwise finished projects.
In order to make flush cuts with a jigsaw, due to the jigsaw’s large base, you will need to get a special flush cutting jigsaw blade.
What Materials Can Be Cut with a Jigsaw?
Yes, the jigsaw is a staple tool in the world of woodworking, and yes, jigsaws can handle all sorts of wood, all types, and sorts of shapes and sizes too. However, can a jigsaw only be used to saw wood, or can it be used for other materials too?
The answer is that yes, it can cut a lot more than just wood. Below are some other materials that it can cut.
For one, a jigsaw can be used to cut metal. Beware however that jigsaws do have their limits and can generally cut metal only as thick as 10 gauge, whether those be thin sheets of metal or thin pipes.
You will need a good tungsten carbide blade with 21 to 25 teeth per inch at the very least. Sawing metal with a jigsaw requires a large quantity of small and sharp teeth.
Another material that can be cut with a jigsaw is ceramic tile. You do need a special blade here, a toothless carbide grit blade to be precise, and you will want to spray the surface being cut with water on a continuous basis to stop the tile and the blade from overheating.
Keep in mind that most jigsaws and the appropriate blades won’t be able to make it through ceramic tiles thicker than 0.25 inches.
The next material that can be cut with a jigsaw is concrete, although only fiber and porous concrete.
You will need a very strong carbide blade for this task, and you can only cut through relatively thin pieces.
Plastic & Plexiglass
A jigsaw can also be used to cut through plastic and plexiglass.
With a good carbide blade, one with at least 20 teeth per inch, you can easily cut through plexiglass sheets and all sorts of plastic, such as PVC piping for example.
If you have a blade designed for soft materials, you may also use a jigsaw to cut carpet instead of having to use a carpet knife or utility knife.
As you can see, jigsaws are very versatile tools with plenty of applications.
They can make many different kinds of cuts on many materials, and overall, they have countless viable applications.