Standard jigsaws are mostly used for cutting straight lines, but jigsaws in general are mostly used for cutting curves or irregular shapes. But jigsaws can also cut straight lines, and they do so very well! If you only have a jigsaw on hand and are wondering how to cut straight with it, don’t worry about it.
To cut in a straight line with a jigsaw, all you really need is a good line to cut over, and the blade to follow it.
What Jigsaw Blades To Use?
To put it very simply, the right kind of blade to use for your jigsaw is one that is of good quality. That sounds vague, doesn’t it? But it is very important to use the right blade for the jigsaw, or the cut will become rough and messy.
The kind of material the blade is made of and the teeth per inch (TPI) on the blade also makes a significant difference, on top of the basic things like the size of the blade itself.
Most often, tungsten carbide blades are useful for cutting harder items, and are admittedly expensive, but very durable. For cutting straight lines, it’s best to use a wider blade than a narrow one.
Blades with a higher TPI are also better for straight lines, though they tend to be a bit more rigid.
Essentials For Making A Straight Cut With A Jigsaw
The first thing you need to do is mark out the cutting lines. These are the guidelines which mark where you’d be running your jigsaw. You can’t get perfectly straight lines without the guides, so you should always make the lines first, using a pencil and a measuring tape.
Once you have the cutting lines ready, you should look into the blades you’re going to be using. We’ve been over the kind of blades you should use for straight lines, so it’s best to keep those tips in mind.
Next, you should prepare the guides you’d be using. These are different from the cutting lines, which are just lines drawn on the surface you’d be cutting. The guides are physical guides that help keep your cut straight. For example, a set of clamps or a straightedge that the jigsaw show can be rested on while you make the cut. These are important because it’s easy to lose control of the tool and end up with a wobbly or rough cut.
Blade flexes are also important. If your blade has less flex, it is less likely to move away from the cutting line, even if it encounters a hindrance in the material, such as a knot. Thicker jigsaw blades are better for cutting wood, because they have less flex.
Thicker blades are also better for models that have an orbital setting because the orbital action will make the cut a lot faster, as well.
Making The Cut
Now that you have all the materials needed, you can do the actual work: making the cut.
To do this, first you should mark the measurements for the cutting lines. Make sure you also note which side is the waste and which is the side you need. It’s best to make sure your cutting line is straight and angled properly, because you don’t want to end up with a misaligned piece.
Also check the blade to make sure it is aligned right with the tool. If the blade is bent or misaligned, it can damage your cut, and sometimes even snap right off! This is not only bad for the tool, but also dangerous, so it’s best to make sure beforehand.
Set the jigsaw near the cut and turn it on. Let it run up to the speed you want, before you move it forward towards the material so it can begin cutting. Resting the shoe on the material is good practice, and in some cases, setting the blade on the material can also help since the blade will be able to grab the material better. This avoids problems like bouncing or uneven edges.
Don’t stop in the middle, and follow the cutting line through to the end.
Making A Long Straight Cut or Rip Cut
Sometimes, you want a rip cut – which is a cut parallel to the wood grains, rather than perpendicular. In this case, you’d want to do a long, straight cut. For this, it’s best to use a fence.
A fence for a jigsaw is as simple as clamping a straightedge along the cutting line. Make sure it’s parallel to the line. The straightedge should be at a bit of distance from the actual line to make up for the offset distance between the shoe and the side of the blade. The jigsaw will do all the work for you, so you don’t have to push too hard. Instead, make sure the line is straight.
Sometimes, the material you’re cutting through, or the blade you’re using can make it difficult to manage the same settings. You may have to adjust the speed of the tool to find the best settings for a clean cut.
If your work consists of a lot of long cuts, it’s best to give the tool a break every once in a while, so that the motor gets the chance to cool down. Since cutting straight lines with a jigsaw can result in sawdust and debris getting stuck on the blade without the chance to get shaken off, this can result in friction and thus heat generation.
To keep your jigsaw safe, you’ll have to give it frequent rests. Make sure the blade has stopped completely before you leave your jigsaw down on any surface.
Cutting a straight line with a jigsaw is easy and doesn’t require a lot of effort, though you do have to make some preparations for it. Jigsaws are great for cutting through wood, but can also be used to make clean cuts through harder materials. All you need to do is adjust the speed accordingly.