What is a Jigsaw Used For? Cut Types, Uses & Safety Tips

What is a Jigsaw Used For

As the name suggests, a jigsaw operates by moving the blade in an up and down motion.

This makes it uniquely versatile because it can be used to make different types of cuts in different materials.

However, you need to choose the blade carefully as it determines the type of material you can cut and the finish.

To explore the full capabilities of this saw, let us first look at the types of cuts it can give.

5 Different Jigsaw Cut Types

Here is our list of cut types that you can make with jigsaw:

1) Curved Cuts

Since jigsaws use thin blades, these blades can be fitted in very tight spaces, which makes it easy to cut through a curved outline.

Additionally, jigsaws are compact and lightweight, which simplifies their use and maneuverability along curved lines.

There is actually a cordless jigsaw type that is more portable and easier to maneuver around different cutting outlines.

2) Straight Cuts

Just like table and miter saws, jigsaws can be used to make rip cuts, crosscuts and miter cuts.

The only thing you need is a guide rail to help you cut accurately on a straight line.

3) Plunge Cuts

Plunge cuts are cuts done in the middle as opposed to the edge of the workpiece.

They are mostly used when cutting slots for electrical fittings, letterboxes and the like.

However, you need to make sure that the blade has a sharp, pointy edge to easily pierce through the material.

4) Bevel Cuts

Some jigsaws are fitted with pivoting shoes that allow you to position the blade at any angle other than 90˚ to the surface being cut.

Once in this position, you can be able to make bevel cuts, though it may not be as easy as when using a miter saw.  

5) Flush Cuts

A normal jigsaw blade cannot make a flush cut because the saw’s large and wide shoe will get on the way. However, using a flush cutting blade, this is possible.

The blade has a wide design with the cutting teeth extending far outside the reach of the shoe.  

What is a Jigsaw Used For?

Photo: Makita

1) Cutting Wood

Most people use jigsaws in wood cutting but there are some limits because the blade can bend if you use it on very thick wood.

Ideally, when cutting softwood, the maximum thickness should be 1.5” while on hardwood, this reduces by half to 0.75”.

That said, downward-stroke general-purpose carbon steel blades are recommended because wood is not very hard.

With this, you can make all types of cuts, but you need to note that the more the number of teeth, the slower it will cut, albeit with a smoother finish.

With a coarse blade, the saw will cut faster, but the finish might require sanding to smoothen the edges.

2) Cutting Countertops

Countertops are usually made of rock (marble or granite), which is quite tough.

However, on a new installation, you still need to cut holes through for fitting sinks, faucets and the like.

That said, you need a tough blade for the job and the best one is a downstroke carbide-tipped laminate blade.

Since the material is hard, plunge cutting is not recommended. You need to drill a starter hole first and the recommended maximum cutting width is about 0.5”.

3) Slicing Metal

If you use metal sheets in your project, a jigsaw blade with a tungsten carbide blade can help you slice through up to a 10-gauge thickness.

However, to avoid ruining the cut, you should use a high TPI blade, typically with 21-25 teeth per inch.

We also recommend that you sandwich the sheet between thin plywood to avoid raising the edges.

4) Cutting Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles can break very easily. You have to be very patient and gentle when cutting them.

First things first, you need a toothless carbide-grit ceramic blade, which has an abrasive edge and can cut through a thickness not exceeding 0.25”.

Some tips that can help you to avoid breakages include applying water frequently to the tile for lubrication and softening.

You should also clamp the tile firmly to prevent unwanted movement.

5) Concrete Cutting

Just like metal, concrete is very tough and therefore, a tungsten-carbide blade should be used. However, you can only cut through fiber or porous concrete.

6) Carpet Cutting

Instead of using a knife or a pair of scissors, a jigsaw can give you a very clean and straight cut if you want to split your carpet.

Since most carpets are soft and relatively thin, you can cut any type provided that you use a special soft material blade.

7) Pumpkin Carving

Away from the serious stuff and did you know you can use a jigsaw to make jack-o’-lantern faces in pumpkins for Halloween?

Instead of using a knife, a jigsaw will enable you to carve the intricate designs easily and get the job done in no time.

A general-purpose carbon steel blade will do because pumpkins are very soft.

5 Safety Tips for Jigsaw Usage

Safety Tips for Jigsaw Usage
Photo: DeWalt
  • Tip 1: Always use a sharp specialized blade for the specific type of material that you are cutting.
  • Tip 2: If the workpiece is not fixed in place, always use a clamp to hold it down so that you can make accurate cuts. Additionally, use guide rails where necessary so that the cuts are accurately straight.
  • Tip 3: Don’t force the blade through hard material. You might cause damage to the saw, break the blade or harm your body.
  • Tip 4: Wear the recommended PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). This includes safety goggles, gloves, and earplugs.
  • Tip 5: If using a corded jigsaw, keep an eye on the power cord and extension cords to avoid tripping.


In conclusion, good jigsaws are some of the most versatile workshop tools because they can be used to cut through a wide variety of surfaces.

The most important thing is to do is to ensure you use the right blade for the job and consider the material’s thickness, especially if it is hard.