How to Use and Cut with a Jigsaw
When you’re laying a laminate floor, cutting wood for panelling, fitting a new countertop, or deciding to do some craft work, hiring a jigsaw can come in handy.
Their finer blades on this power tool are ideal for more intricate work, such as curved cut-outs in laminate flooring to go around toilets and radiator pipes for instance. But when you’re doing intricate cutting, you want to get it right the first time.
This will minimise waste and keep costs low for you, as you don’t have to buy as much spare flooring or wood. So, before you start using a jigsaw, it is a good idea to know what to do—and how to stop things from going wrong.
Thankfully, here at Speedy Services, we are experts in tool hire. So below, we will go through everything you need to know about how to use a jigsaw.
What you need when using a Jigsaw
A jigsaw can make straight or curved cuts in softwood, plywood, plastic, laminate, or ceramic tiles. All you need is the right blade.
When cutting, dust will be released from these materials, which can affect your respiratory health in the long term. So, you need to work in a ventilated room, or preferably outdoors.
You also need to protect yourself from the dust by wearing the appropriate PPE. When using a jigsaw, always wear a dust mask, eye protection and protective gloves.
How to choose the correct blade for a Jigsaw
The number of teeth per inch (tpi) determines how fast the blade will cut efficiently. A lower tpi cuts quickly but aggressively, leaving rougher edges. Higher tpi, such as those between 10 and 24 teeth per inch, will cut slower but leave much smoother results.
When cutting wood, choosing between 6 and 10 tpi is ideal. Metal or plastic will require a higher tpi for a slower, finer cut which causes no damage. You can also use speciality blades, such as diamond cuts, to cut materials such as slate, ceramic and glass.
Ensure you are using the correct cutting blade before starting the job. Jigsaws are naturally meant for cutting wood, plywood, and laminate-type materials, but if you are cutting anything tougher, you’ll need a special blade. The particular material will be listed on the blade packaging. Make sure the saw is unplugged if you need to change the blade.
How to use a Jigsaw
Before you begin, read the instructions which come with your jigsaw. Every hired product from Speedy Services will come with instructions and safety guidance.
Step 1: Prepare your material
Ensure your material to cut is secured. If not, the movement of the blades will cause the material to also vibrate, which may result in the blade slipping and a wrong cut or injury. You should clamp it to a table which has a large enough surface area.
You also need to properly mark out the area you will be cutting, so you know whether you have cut away enough. It is easier to do it in one go than go back and keep cutting away at small pieces.
The marked section to cut should be clear of any clamps so you have nothing in your way. There should also be enough empty space underneath the material for the blade to move and cut. You don’t want to cut through anything you shouldn’t be.
- SPEEDY TOP TIP: If your material is too large to hang over a table, put some wood blocks underneath to lift it up
Step 2: Start up the Jigsaw
Insert the battery or plug the jigsaw in. If it is corded, ensure the wire will be nowhere near the cutting area.
The blade of the jigsaw should not be in contact with the material you are cutting when the unit is started up. So, line the jigsaw up with the section you will be cutting.
Pull and hold the trigger, which should be under the handle, and let the blade speed up. Once up to full speed, start cutting. The footplate or shoe of the jigsaw should always be in contact with the material you are cutting—this will stop the jigsaw from running away with you.
Some models of jigsaw have a variable speed control dial, which you should use. If you’re cutting a really fine material, or cannot risk any mistakes, then a slow speed is best. No matter how much you pull the trigger, it will never go faster than the limited speed.
Step 3: Begin cutting
Apply some forward pressure but don’t use too much. Again, this could cause the jigsaw to slip and go too fast, which could mean you cut the wrong section and could also be dangerous for you.
If the jigsaw stops for any reason, let go of the trigger and ensure the unit completely stops. Then, remove the jigsaw either by pulling it straight up or by moving it back through the section which has already been cut.
The blade may stop because you’re moving too fast, your corner is too sharp to cut in one go, or the material is too tough for the blade. Determine which, rectify the situation and then start again.
- SPEEDY TOP TIP: If the curve in your material is too tight for the jigsaw to handle, cut away the bulk of the waste material first. Then cut some relief lines at an angle that all finish at your cut line. Take the jigsaw and remove every individual section before stopping and realigning the jigsaw. Sand the edge to rectify any sharp corners left behind
Step 4: Sand
When you have finished cutting, unplug the jigsaw or remove the battery before moving to the next stage. Then, you need to sand the new edges of your material. Jigsaws shouldn’t create a harsh cut, but there is still the risk of splinters and rough edges.
You’re probably best to use a sandpaper sheet if the cut section is fiddly or very curved. Choose the roughness of the sandpaper based on the material to sand. But if the cut is a straight edge, using an orbital sander will be much easier and faster.
Step 5: Safely pack everything away
When you’re finished with the jigsaw, and it has been unplugged, you should store it safely away. The blades will be sharp, so never leave them lying around unattended.
Sweep and vacuum the work area to remove any dust particles and dispose of any cut-offs or scraps appropriately. Most types of wood can be recycled at an appropriate council recycling centre.
IS THERE JIGSAW HIRE NEAR ME?
Yes. Speedy Services, the UK's leading tool hire company, have a range of jigsaws for hire nationwide. Speedy has more than 200 service centres across the nation, hire counters in selected B&Qs and nationwide 4-hour delivery, rotavator hire has never been easier.
You’ll find all the tools you need right here. Why not start planning your next DIY project and open a Speedy account today online and in-store.
Ready for more DIY tips and ideas?
Thank you for reading the Speedy Services blog. We hope you find using your jigsaw easy and becomes a go-to for future DIY tasks. If you want some more inspiration, read through our how-to's and guides on the Speedy website.
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