How to Use a Jigsaw
Known for their maneuverability and precision, jigsaws make it possible to cut out tricky shapes and patterns. Learn how to use one in just five simple steps.
If you see a curved, beveled, or intricately cut DIY project, chances are it was made with a jigsaw. This versatile tool works on many different materials—including wood, metal, and plastic—and is easy to use for even beginning DIYers.
Before you start sawing, make sure you understand the different parts of the jigsaw and how they work. Also check that you're using the appropriate blade for the material and that you've made the proper bevel and speed adjustments. Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry. We'll cover all of this—and much more—in the following steps.
Step 1: Prep Saw
While the saw is unplugged, select and mount the correct blade for your material. Keep in mind that the blade's tooth-per-inch, or TPI, should match the material's thickness.
Step 2: Prep Material
Measure and mark your desired shape on the material. Use a pencil to trace visible lines that you will eventually follow with the saw. Secure material to sawhorses with clamps or a vise.
Step 3: Make Adjustments
Adjust bevel and speed settings on saw, as needed. Consult manufacturer's directions for how to make these adjustments on your particular saw make and model. If sawing a hole, drill a starting point in the center with a bit slightly larger than your blade.
Safety Tip: Always wear protective eyewear when using a saw to prevent dust and sawdust from irritating your eyes.
Step 4: Start Sawing
Plug in saw. Position the blade near the edge where you will begin the cut. Turn saw on and slowly squeeze the trigger. Let the saw run for a few seconds to get up to speed, then push forward into the wood.
Step 5: Cut Out Shape
Begin working the saw around your drawn lines. Guide the saw by twisting the back in the opposite direction you want the blade to travel, being careful to keep the blade aligned with the drawn cut line.
Editor's Tip: Keep an eye on the saw as you work. If the saw begins to strain, ease up on your forward pressure. And if sawdust accumulates, stop the saw and clear debris before resuming.