A jigsaw can be one of the handiest tools in your shop, good for everything from small woodworking projects to framing jobs, such as cutting rafters or stair stringers. Of course, their strength is in making curved or intricate cuts. Here are some things to look for when choosing yours.
The feel. Pick it up and get a sense of how it will handle in use. It should be reasonably light so you’re not fighting the weight of the saw itself. Traditional saws have a D-shaped handle, but the newer barrel-grip offers an alternative. Similar to the handle on a palm sander, it allows you to hold the saw directly over the blade; the idea is to give you more control.
Make sure it’s easy to see the blade when you’re cutting; jigsaw cuts must often be precise, and you need to be able to watch the cutline. The blade alignment can be important â€“ both in adjustability and the makeup of the guideâ€¦ metal vs. plastic.
A quick blade-change setup â€“ which doesn’t force you to use Allen keys or a screwdriver â€“ is handy when you break a blade or need to change to a special blade for a special job. Fortunately, it’s pretty common these days.
Variable speed cutting action is great for different jobs, and if you plan on cutting larger dimension lumber with your jigsaw, orbital action, which moves the blade in more of a circular pattern than simply up and down, can really speed up your work.
Next time we’ll look at different blades.