It’s time for another Power Tool Challenge project! This month’s theme is “favorite tool”. Although I love doing repurposed furniture projects that use a multitude of saws and tools, this month’s jigsaw project does NOT involve any furniture. In all honesty, the jigsaw isn’t my favorite tool, but I think if you’re just beginning, it might be the FIRST saw you should buy. I suppose my favorite tools would of course be a drill, and a compound miter saw, but they’re a little boring to talk about.
Jump to: Jigsaw Pros and Cons
Jump to: Tips for using a jigsaw
Jump to: Suggested Jigsaw Videos
Way back in the day when I first started woodworking in my late 20’s a jigsaw was my VERY first tool that belonged to me. I believe it was a birthday gift. Fast forward 30 years and I still love getting tools as gifts! Would you like to see the first project I ever cut out with a jigsaw?
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I cut out and painted a Care Bear for Jamie’s 4th birthday party. Remember, this was before Google image search. I don’t really remember how I drew it, nor do I remember what happened to it. I also made a Cookie Monster, and we still have that in the garage. I used it on a regular basis in my pre-k classroom with some chocolate chip bean bags I made.
My point being, if you are on a limited budget, or not sure if you want to buy a lot of tools, a jigsaw is a great place to start.
I ordered some new jigsaw blades on Amazon to test out on my projects. I’ll let you decide which you think did the better job. I traced a pattern on a scrap board using my DIY cutting board iPad Stand .
The Starrett Dual Cut jigsaw blade did a nice job on the 1x stock (3/4” thick)
This is the underneath side and it does have a really clean cut, don’t you agree?
Here’s the left side of the cutting board I used the Bosch clean wood blade on.
The back has a very clean cut with the Bosch blade as well.
Although I stayed right on the lines, the shoulders of the cutting board don’t really match, so I traced the left shoulder on a piece of paper and transferred it to the right side to make them match better.
I used the Bosch clean wood blade and it trimmed up the small amount of wood really well.
The finishing touches really DO matter. You can see that I have sanded the entire right side of the diy cutting board, but not the left at all. The same technique can be achieved with a router, but I prefer using my orbital sander with 150 grit sandpaper.
Another angle helps you see that sanding makes a huge difference!
After sanding the left side and the back of the diy cutting board, it’s time to drill a hole in the small handle. DID YOU KNOW? Placing a scrap piece of wood underneath your project will prevent tear out from the drill bit. This is the original back side of the cutting board, which will now be the front because of the small knot visible on the other side.
I was so ambitious that I ended up drilling THROUGH the scrap wood, and THROUGH my plastic banquet table (work table). oops!
Apply a generous amount of food safe mineral oil to all surfaces of your DIY cutting board.
Because your new cutting board needs a way to hang, a leather strap is in order! I didn’t have one so I cut a slither off of an old thrift store belt—perfect! Have you ever seen these Quirky scissors? They are my favorite because they open up so you can safely cut open an Amazon Prime box (which I get a few times a week) They were featured on Shark Tank.
Here it is on my diy kitchen island.
It’s a little on the petite size because I just used a scrap piece of wood from my stash. But that’s the great thing about this DIY thing—you can make it as large as you want, as long as your board is big enough.
Jigsaw Blade Comparison on Thin Plywood
To test the jigsaw blades on thin plywood, I grabbed a scrap piece for a future project and cut it in half. I cut half of the line with one blade, stopped, changed blades and continued cutting to make a comparison. (notice the batter is removed while I change blades)
I started with the Bosch Clean Wood blade, and finished off with the Starret Dual Cut blade. The reverse side looked about the same. Excuse the crooked line, but pay close attention to the tear of the thin plywood. The Bosch blade is the clear winner in this race!
The blades I tested are in the images above. I purchased mine on Amazon.
Suggested Jigsaw Videos
There are a couple of great videos I’d love for you to watch—they’re from my friend Mark Clement from My Fix it up Life. The videos are over at This Old House. The first one is How to use Orbital Action Setting. I could explain it, but mark does a much better job in the video. The second video I recommend is How to Cut Shapes.
I first met Mark at a Krylon event several years ago, and then I was invited to do another event with he and his wife Theresa. That one was Make it Stick. Be sure to check out their site. My Fix It Up Life.
Jigsaw Pros and Cons
- Using the proper blade you can cut a variety of items with a jigsaw, including wood, metal, pvc and more.
- Using the proper blade, you can make a pretty tight turn.
- Many times a jigsaw will fit into a tight space that a circular saw won’t.
- A jigsaw is relatively easy to operate—even for a beginner.
- The plate will adjust allowing the user to make a beveled cut.
- If you read your manual or watch the handy videos I shared, you can really make this saw work for you!
With all the new and improved features of new jigsaws, I really don’t have any cons.
I’m by no means an expert, but after using a jigsaw for some 30 odd years, I have a few tips below:
Tips for using a jigsaw
- Read your owner’s manual so you understand your settings, and use those settings to get your best cut.
- Be safe! Wear safety gear including safety glasses, and ear plugs and a mask for certain materials. Forgo the gloves because any saw blade can snag a glove and cause harm.
- Unplug or remove the battery whenever you are making adjustments or changing blades.
- Always check to make sure your blade is “square” before starting your project.
- Do not use a damaged blade.
- If using a corded jigsaw, always be aware of where your cord is.
- Clamp your piece to your work surface as close as possible, making sure you won’t be cutting into your work table. If your project is too far away from your work table, there will be vibration of thinner materials.
- Blade speed is optional depending on the project, but the force in which you move the saw forward should be minimal. Let the blade do the work.
- Start the blade BEFORE you approach your material.
- When making a tight curve, move the saw forward, back slightly, then forward again as you manipulate the turn.
- Don’t keep a “death grip” on the saw. (speaking from the voice of experience)
- Never operate the saw (engage the blade) without the shoe firmly resting on the material. The saw will jump around and cause injury.
- Keep both sides of the shoe firmly on the material as you saw and move forward.
- Store your jigsaw blades safely, not inserted into the saw.
A jigsaw is a very versatile tool. I’ve used it off and on for so many years, it’s my go-to little helper for sure! Click the text below to visit these projects. PIN IT!
Be sure to visit my friends and learn all about their favorite power tools and why they chose them. Look at these awesome projects . . .
H2OBungalow DIY Horizontal Wood Slat Address Plaque | My Love 2 Create Triangle Hexagon Tray | My Repurposed Life DIY Cutting Board | The Kim Six Fix Scroll Saw Book Letters | Create and Babble Cut Wood Slices | The DIY Bungalow DIY Faux Fur Foot Stool | The Interior Frugalista Small Portable Rolling Multi Purpose Table | Designed Decor Ornate Oval Wood Frame Update
Do you own a jigsaw? What’s your favorite power tool? Do you remember what your first power tool was?