How to Use a Jigsaw Like a Pro

Do you have woodworking tasks around the home that require a ton of precision? Are you finding it difficult to use a regular saw to finish the job?

For more precise woodworking jobs, jigsaws are the best tools to use. They’re easy to guide across a plank of wood and make it possible to make smooth, curved cuts.


Yet, it takes a little time to get used to the workings of a jigsaw and be able to apply it to your work. We’re going to walk you through how to use a jigsaw so you can finish your home projects!

Understanding the Machine

Before you get started, take the time to learn a little bit about the jigsaw and what it does.

When you’re using a jigsaw, you’ll be in complete control of the angle at which the jigsaw is cutting and how quickly the blade is moving. More pressure on the trigger means a faster cut.

To get a better understanding of your jigsaw, you need to understand what each part actually does. Here’s an overview of the major components and what they do.


  • The blade. Obviously, this is what physically cuts the wood. Depending on your cutting action, the blade will either penetrate the wood vertically for a more precise cut or a bit circular for a quicker cut.
  • The shoe. This is the part of the jigsaw that you actually guide across the piece of wood that you’re cutting. It helps to control the blade’s angle and keeps your jigsaw firmly on the wood.
  • The dials. These are the major features of most high-quality jigsaws. They allow you to adjust the speed that the blade is circulating at and transition between straight and orbital cutting actions.

Choosing a Cutting Style

Think about your next big woodworking project that you have and which type of cut you’ll need. After all, different types of cuts require different amounts of pressure and guidance.

The two major styles are orbital and straight.

Straight cutting actions shoot the blade directly downward through the wood and continue this motion throughout the cut. This cutting style takes a little longer, but you’ll get the cleanest cut possible.


Orbital cutting actions take advantage of a more angled cut, as the blade takes a more circular approach through the wood. You’ll get the job done a lot quicker with an orbital cut, but it might not be as smooth.

Orbital cutting

Setting Your Jigsaw Up

The most important thing you can do at this step is making sure that your wood is firmly secured with clamps. You don’t want to lose traction with the jigsaw if the wood suddenly slips out from under it.

Plug the jigsaw in and power it on. Then, pull the trigger to get the blade moving at full-speed.

Guiding Your Cut

Now that you’ve got the jigsaw up and running, it’s time to see if you’ve got what it takes to make a smooth cut.

The best way to guide your jigsaw is with the two-handed approach. First, place the shoe of the jigsaw in an area that you’re looking to cut.

With your dominant hand, grasp the top of the jigsaw to help guide the motion. Your non-dominant hand should be physically pushing the jigsaw forward along its path.

Pull the trigger and follow the line you’re looking to cut. If you need to suddenly stop cutting, just release your finger from the trigger.

Staying Safe When Using a Jigsaw

Staying Safe When Using a Jigsaw


Because jigsaws are considered heavy-duty power tools, you want to err on the side of caution when using them.

Here are some tips you should follow when using your jigsaw.

  • Wear Kevlar work gloves. The risk of injury isn’t too high if you know how to use a jigsaw, but there’s always a risk of injury if your hand or the saw happen to slip. Kevlar gloves will protect your hands from severe lacerations during an accident.
  • Keep your jigsaw away from water. Jigsaws are electrical tools, meaning they can be extremely dangerous when exposed to water. Make sure you’re using your jigsaw in a dry environment to prevent the risk of shock!
  • Start slow. You’re in control over how fast the blade moves, so you should start slow your first few times. This will allow you to get a cleaner cut and reduce the risk of your hand or the saw slipping and causing injury.

A Little Extra Advice

Now that you’ve got the gist of it, we want to walk you through a few additional tips to make sure you get the cleanest cut and the best experience.

First, don’t use too much pressure with a jigsaw. There’s no reason for you to press down on the jigsaw when cutting, as this can put too much pressure on your blade and the wood. It actually has the potential to overheat your machine!

Another tip: Focus on precision. Jigsaws are incredibly high powered, meaning you can get a clean cut completed pretty quickly. But, you want to make sure that you’re focusing on following your line and cutting precisely.

Always clamp down the wood or material you’re cutting.

Steps to Follow when Using a Jigsaw

Here is a simple guide that you can follow to use a jigsaw and achieve a clean cut. This video explains the process in detail.


jig saw tips

So, jigsaws are pretty self-explanatory when it comes to how they work. Generally, all you really need to do is turn the machine on, work to control the speed of the blade, and then focus on getting a precise cut. You’ll have to:

  • Clamp the wood down and wear a high-quality pair of Kevlar gloves.
  • Decide on the cutting action (orbital or straight) that’s best for your job.
  • Guide your cut using two hands and without pressing down on the wood.

As always, feel free to comment if you have any questions on how to use a jigsaw!

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