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How I made my jig saw cut a LOT better

i often hear woodworkers complain that using a jigsaw can be a frustrating and inaccurate experience but if you use it properly this can be one of the most versatile handheld power tools in your shop in this video i'll show you how to use it the right way including some tips that i'll bet you've never heard before honestly if you don't stick around until the end of this video you're going to miss some really good stuff so let's get started a jigsaw is actually one of the safest power tools in your workshop because the exposed portion of the blade is usually beneath the work piece however this does affect how you must support your workpiece during the cut let's just say you shouldn't hold it on your lap while you work it's a common practice to just let the board hang off the edge of your workbench as you cut and that's fine as long as there's enough wood on the bench top to keep it stable so it doesn't shift while you work if in doubt clamp it down another option is to elevate your work piece so the blade can go all the way through without going into your bench top some sort of riser blocks or bench cookies are really handy for this purpose but they don't have to be fancy you can use scraps of wood as long as they're thick enough you can even use chunks of styrofoam because the blade moves up and down rather than a circular motion a jigsaw is unlikely to violently kick back out of a cut like a circular saw might but it can bounce upward if you use poor technique perhaps the greatest danger comes at the end of the cut when some folks just grow impatient and they try to withdraw the tool before it stops its reciprocating motion the end of the blade can then catch on and damage the work piece or even a hand to place carelessly nearby so let the tool fully stop before you remove it from your work finally a jigsaw usually runs around a hundred decibels that's about four times louder than what's considered safe for unprotected ears so wear hearing protection wear your safety glasses and if you're going to be sawing for more than a minute or two you might even want to get a good dust mask the term jigsaw can be a little confusing because it's been applied to different tools over time when i was in eighth grade shop class i was taught that this was a jigsaw and this was a saber saw technically a jigsaw is any tool where the blade moves up and down in a reciprocating motion so that means that this and this and this are all technically examples of jigsaws nowadays though at least in the u.s we commonly call this a scroll saw this a reciprocating saw and this a jigsaw i like a jigsaw that has a variable speed mechanism so i can run it fast for softwoods a little bit slower for hardwoods and really slow for metals some saws have an orbital feature which moves the blade slightly forward and back as it goes up and down this produces a more aggressive cut that is certainly faster especially in soft woods as long as you don't mind some extra splintering along the edge i also insist on a saw that has a quick release feature for fast tool-less blade changes this usually means the saw requires t-shank blades as opposed to the older u-shanks which often required an allen key and a set screw to hold them in place honestly i wouldn't give a dollar for an old u-shank saw at a yard sale now as far as the number of the teeth on the blade is concerned generally the fewer the teeth the faster the blade will cut but the rougher the result may be now faster cuts aren't just about saving time if you have thick material such as a 2×4 you need a blade that will remove all that wood more efficiently or you're going to generate a lot of blade dulling heat so i think something around six teeth per inch is best for thick materials ten teeth per inch i think is a good all-purpose blade if you cut mostly three-quarter inch stock which is what most of us do if you work with a lot of thin materials three-eighths quarter inch then you might look for something finer than 10 teeth per inch if you work with a lot of very dense materials such as acrylics and metals then you're going to require fine teeth to limit the aggressiveness of the cut around 24 teeth per inch is a good range for those materials choosing the right blade is only the first step toward getting a high quality cut with a jigsaw you also have to understand how the soft functions most blades feature upward pointing teeth or teeth that are angled toward the base of the saw this pulls the saw downward toward the work piece and it makes it easier to control the tool as compared to a blade with downward facing teeth or teeth that are angled away from the base of the saw this might want to lift the saw up off the work piece with each stroke and it'll make the saw harder to control and you might get more vibration upward facing teeth are more likely to tear at the wood fibers as they exit the cut which is on the top of the work piece that means in most cases you want the good side of the board the one that will be most visible in the completed project facing upward this is especially true when you're cutting across the grain which is when most tarot occurs but what if you need a clean edge on the top side of the work piece and you can't flip it over well as i mentioned reverse tooth blades are available to cut on that downward stroke these are mostly used for cutting laminates such as countertops and you have to be really careful to hold the saw tight on the surface as you cut of course that just transfers the tarot from the top surface to the bottom what if you can't tolerate tear out on either side of the board well in that case you might put a piece of painters tape on this top side and then cut through it the tape helps reinforce the surface fiber so they're less likely to tear along the edges of your cut another option is to use a knife to score the fibers along your cut line this will produce a nice crisp edge but it could be more difficult to score a curved line than it is to score a straight one perhaps the biggest complaint many people have about their jigsaw is their inability to get square edges because the blade just deflects to the side while they cut now while a cheap saw might not guide the blade as well as it should the problem is most likely how you're using the tool when making any cut be it straight or curved you have to let the blade do the work if you try to push it to cut faster than the teeth wants to remove the material you'll put too much stress on the blade and it'll start to wander and deflect inside the kerf this may mean applying less force with duller blades with fine tooth blades or with narrow blades that simply bend more easily as i mentioned a dull blade will drift a lot more than a sharp one jigsaw blades are not that expensive there's really no use reason to use a dull blade keep some extras on hand so you can swap them out as soon as they begin to dull deflection is most common during curved cuts because folks tend

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