V. Ryan © 2006


Jigsaws are general cutting and shaping tools. They are provided with a selection of blades suitable for cutting and shaping a range of materials. They are ideal for cutting thin manmade boards such as plywood and MDF and they are capable of cutting detailed curves. They can also be used to cut kitchen tops and quite thick material. Thin material (4mm to 6mm) can be cut quite quickly but great care must be taken when cutting thicker material (6mm upwards).

Safety and use of jigsaws are outlined below. Remember, before operating any power tools you must receive training from a suitably qualified instructor.


1. Always plug power tools into a RCB (circuit breaker) as a safety measure against electrical faults.
2. Wear goggles to protect eyes from dust/chippings and a face/dust mask to prevent breathing in dangerous dust particles.
3. Always read the manufacturers instructions very carefully and follow them.
4. Always seek instruction / training from an appropriately qualified instructor before using any tools, especially power tools.
5. Make sure that the mains cable cannot be tripped over or that it causes a hazard in anyway.
6. G Cramp the material to be cut/shaped to a firm workbench before starting.
7. Fit an extraction bag to the jigsaw. This will collect most of the dust.
8. Use the guard at all times.

Below is a typical jigsaw. The ON/OFF switch is located on the handle as well as the switch lock. When the switch is pressed the jigsaw starts although holding the switch in position whilst cutting can be uncomfortable. However, if the switch lock is also pressed this holds the switch in position which means that finger pressure on the switch can be released and the jigsaw continues to work.

Two speed adjustments are seen on this model of jigsaw. They alter the speed at which the blade moves up and down. The speed of the blade is determined by the type of material being cut. Usually a jigsaw will be proved with a table of speeds relating to materials.




A selection of blades can be fitted to a jigsaw. The type of blade depends on the material. Furthermore, coarse blades with ‘rugged’ teeth are normally used to make rough cuts whilst blades with fine, numerous teeth are used to cut and shape very accurately.
For example, cutting an accurate and smooth curve in MDF will mean that a fine blade with at least 21 teeth per inch (TPI) will be fitted.
To fit the blade the guard is moved back and usually a screwdriver is used to loosen the blade locking screw. The blade can then be removed and replaced. More modern jigsaws have quick release mechanisms that allow very quick replacement of blades.