How to use a jigsaw

| | | | |


How to use a jigsaw for anyone new to DIY.

Things the manual may not include….

but please take the time and read the manual too.

Sharing 15 tips to help you learn and use a jigsaw.

Let’s get busy!

How to use a jigsaw

I’m writing this for the women DIYers, but the same applies to gentlemen.  Ninety-five percent of my readers are women. 😀

The jigsaw works like a sewing machine.  The blade moves up and down like the needle sewing.  Of course, the needle puts this together and the blade cuts thing up.

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you.  I only share products I like, used and have ordered, OR products I want.

I started using my dad’s jigsaw around 9 years old.  He gave it to me when I moved from home.  The photo above is my current jigsaw.  I love it.  The large knob on top turns the blade.  If I place a scroll saw blade it makes smaller circle cuts.  This jigsaw is similar to mine.  Mine is around 15 years old…wow!

The Tips

1 ~ Don’t leave the store without trying the jigsaws on for size. Hand size. Most hand tools are for larger man hands and not for the small delicate hands of us girls.

2 ~ Read the manual!  I know it’s boring.  I wish tool manufacturers would hire DIY blogger to write tool manuals.  Make sure you know all the parts and tools that come with any tool.  The manual will have the steps to change blades, speeds available, and types of blades to use.  Plus sometimes there are tips and tricks to help use tools in ways you may not know about.

Plugin for Power

3 ~ When you get your jigsaw home {exciting isn’t it} plug it in, grasp firm and turn it on. This will show you how loud it is and the amount it can vibrate. It will be louder and vibrate more when cutting. Doing this steps also helps to feel turning off the jigsaw.

4 ~ Again turn on the jigsaw and hold it as you would while cutting. Again get the feel of the buttons to turn off and on while holding the jigsaw at cutting angle.


5 ~ When cutting circles and curves, it helps me to also “feel” going around the curve.  Feel from the back of the jigsaw as well as the blade front. It took me years to feel and understand this.  You will need to practice and get the feel of the need of the back turning along with the front.

6 ~ I have trouble staying on a straight line with a jigsaw.  I do use a long ruler to follow a straight edge that helps.  But a Dremel saw follows a straight edge even better.  That’s why I love my new Dremel saw.


Another tip when using a straight edge is to measure from the blade to the edge of the plate.  Measure on both sides.


Then mark your measurements on masking tape.  This side is 1 11/16, the other side is 1 1/2.  Then you know how far from your cut line to place the straight edge.

7 ~ A jigsaw is great for cutting MDF, medium density fiberboard.  You need to change your blades often.  MDF dulls blades faster than wood.  The dust from MDF is fine, so wear a mask.

Angle Cuts

8 ~ This may be hard to explain, but here it goes. Some jigsaws will cut at an angle, say 45 degrees. My saw does this, but I would rather use a miter saw.  I’ve noticed the blade gets a bit off and does not cut straight up and down. This is due to either number 7 or cutting too many circles with the same blade. When I cut circles I always cut counterclockwise. I think this causes the blade to curve. To avoid this cut slower and change blades often.

How to use a jigsaw | Country Design Style | countrydesignstyle-com

9 ~ To cut a shape in the middle of a board I like to drill a hole to insert the blade.  The manual may show a plunge cut.  I don’t like doing plunge cuts.  The saw is hard to hold and I’ve broken blades trying to plunge cut. 🙁

Miscellaneous Tips

10 ~ Use the correct type of blade and a sharp blade. There are more types of blades than material to cut. Plus there are smooth cut, fast cut, rough cut, etcetera.

11 ~ Don’t try and cut too fast. I’m still guilty of this one. Let the saw do the cutting.

12 ~ Secure your project well. I use more clamps than is necessary, but rather safe than sorry.  Clamps give you more hands.

13 ~ This will be in the manual…but use eye protection.

14 ~ Enjoy the creativity a jigsaw brings into your life.


15 ~ Remember to share your jigsaw projects with Country Design Style! 🙂

In short, a jigsaw is the second power tool a DIYer should purchase…a drill is the first…in my opinion.


Above is my favorite jigsaw project.  We had a staircase with a round window in a previous home.  A scrap piece of MDF and drawing out our logo within a pattern, I used the jigsaw to cut.  When we moved I almost toss it.  Instead, I found a large inexpensive clock, cut down the piece about 6 inches and added it to the frame.

Next, I aged scrap wood and added the clock hands and mechanism to make a rustic clock.  I sold it. 🙂


If I was on the market for a new jigsaw this would be the one.

If you have additional tips to share, please add them in comments.  Our DIY community appreciates your tips too!!!

Remember to “Create at your own risk!”

Join the newsletter

Subscribe to get our DIY HelpLetter each Thursday. Plus grab your Interior Decorating Ideas e-book.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Similar Posts


  1. Stephanie S. says:

    Thank you for a great tutorial. I have timied in using my tools. . Love your blog.

  2. Thanks so much for the jigsaw tips. Wonderful!!
    This makes me want to finish up a couple of projects ???????? Thanks for lighting a fire to inspiration and Interesting possibilities.
    I just have one add… When you find the “one” jigsaw you love, get every blade that is offered. Two or ten if possible. Maybe this saves you from dashing to the hardware store in the middle of a project or a “I wonder if” conundrum!! (Which, for me, is usually after hours.)
    Happy Fall!

Leave a Reply