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Jig Saws



Choosing A Jig Saw

Portable and capable of cutting curves in a number of different materials.

Jig Saws

 In this photo, a portable power tool, known as a jig saw, is being put to the test, cutting through 8/4" Mahogany. Notice it is cutting about an 1/8" outside the line. While it may seem like I missed the mark, I am cutting outside the line for a reason. (even if I did miss the mark, I wouldn't admit to it). Actually the reason for doing this is the fact that in a thick material like this, there is too much chance for the blade to flex, and wander into the area I don't want cut. While I'm slowly and carefully cutting along the line, the bottom side could be wandering all over the place without me knowing. (I'm not falling for that again).


Also, it is much faster to cut outside the line, and then using a router and a jig, along with a pattern bit, and clean up the cut. Done this way, there is no chance of any difference in the four quarters of the table. I can hear it now. What four quarters is this guy talking about? The answer to that is with the full length pattern of the curve, I only rout half of the length of the table. Then I flip the jig end for end, and do the next section. The same process is repeated on the other side of the table. Doing it in fashion guarantees that the table is exactly the same shape all the way around. (a smaller pattern was used on the ends, but it was done the same way.

Jig saws are pretty consistent in the direction that the blade tends to bend. I'm not 100 percent sure why that is, but over the years, using different jig saws, they have always proven to pick a side to lean towards, and stick with it. The new FesTool Jig Saw claims not to do that, even in four inch thick material, but until I actually test it out, I can't vouch for it. So far though, this company's claims have been 100% accurate.

These saws range in price considerably, as does the quality. It is safe to say that the higher priced ones are generally better, but there is, as always the exceptions. My suggestion would be to try them out if it can be arranged, prior to buying it. I know this isn't always possible, but in some local retail stores, it can be arranged. Other items to check would be ease of blade changes, length of stroke, or blade travel, amperage of the motor, ease of tilting the base for miter cuts, an option I rarely have had a need for, and will it cut in an orbital action as well as vertically. A saw with this capability will make rough cuts much faster than just a verticle stroke. The blade support system is very important, as it plays a major role in producing straight cuts.

The other thing to check, is the type of blade it will accept. Although I haven't seen any in recent years that use a brand specific blade, just keep it in mind, prior to making a purchase.

Speaking of blades, they are available to cut wood, plywood, melamine, tile, steel, aluminium, and plastic. I may have missed something, but you get the idea.


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