How Does A Jigsaw Work?

August 21, 2022

Cutting wood board panel with jigsaw.

Having adequate skills to operate a jigsaw is crucial to its efficient and safe usage. Such knowledge will come in handy in reducing the rate of accidents when using it. However, using a jigsaw is not as riskier as other power tools. Nevertheless, any exposed blade will entail a lot of risks. Thus, it will help if you understand how the jigsaw operates to mitigate the level of risk involved in its use.   

As a beginner in using a jigsaw, it will help if you know its essential components and understand the dynamics of its functioning. In this way, you will have better control of this tool and achieve better results out of its use. In this post, you will learn the dynamics behind the functioning of the jigsaw. 

The Dynamics Behind the Functionality of the Jigsaw

If you would disassemble or dismantle a jigsaw, you will quickly see its various essential components. You can divide these components, however, into many parts. Nevertheless, its main parts are the grip, motor, fine blade, and wire

The jigsaw blade does the cutting, while the motor powers the jigsaw blade using vibratory motion. Unlike the circular saw blade, whose speed gets measured in Revolution Per Minute or RPM, the jigsaw blade’s speed gets measured in Strokes Per Minute.

The motor drives the narrow blade using a reciprocal or up-and-down motion. Its movement is like that of the sewing machine’s needle. The eccentric gears connect the saw blade to the motor, and the axes of these gears are off-centered.

Since the motion of the motor is rotary, this rotary motion needs to be converted into reciprocating motion. The gears then serve as the enabling components in converting the motor’s rotary motion into reciprocating motion. 

The teeth of the jigsaw blade point upwards. So, the jigsaw cuts upstroke. Hence, if you want to prevent material splintering, you should turn the workpiece over to start cutting from the back of the workpiece to avoid splintering on the wood’s front side. 

When cutting, you should set the jigsaw base against the workpiece. As the saw blade cuts upward, the wood gets pulled against the base. 

Most jigsaws offer variable speed and have a specific dial for speed control. Thus, with this dial, you can have perfect control of the cut. If you’re cutting plastic or metal, you can set the speed at a slower pace, while if you’re cutting wood, you can set the speed at a faster pace.

Learn more about how does the jigsaw work.

How Does the Jigsaw Blade Function?

You will soon discover various jigsaw blade types as you shop for jigsaw blades. Besides, you need to screw the blade onto the tool in the older jigsaws. Yet, Bosch introduced the tool-free blade changing system in the past, which further improved jigsaws. 

Nowadays, most manufacturers have followed suit and now distribute jigsaws with tool-free blade change features. Moreover, you will find two types of jigsaw blades: T-shank and U-shank blades. The industry standard, of course, is the T-shank blades, preferred by professionals. Besides, the T-shank blades last longer and fit tighter onto the tool.

When selecting a jigsaw blade, it is also essential to consider the tooth shape, spacing, and cutting angle. These factors have a bearing on the cut’s cleanness, speed, and optimal performance. 

For example, the ground and side-set tooth produces fast and clean cuts on plastics and wood, while a milled and wavy set tooth will cut most plastics and metals. You will also find milled side set tooth, providing rougher yet faster cuts on plastics and wood. 

You will also discover a taper-ground tooth perfect for achieving fine, clean, and accurate cuts. Moreover, you will find blades with reduced kerf made of carbide and diamond-grit edges. These blades are perfect for fast cutting on tough materials.

Material Out of Which the Jigsaw Blade is Made

Since jigsaw blades come in different models and brands, and different manufacturers manufacture them, they also differ in build and make. Besides, manufacturers use different materials to enhance the performance and life of the saw blades. 

The common materials used by manufacturers are high-steel carbon (HCS), High-speed steel (HSS), Bi-metal (BIM), Tungsten Carbide (TC), and Diamond-grit blades

HCS saw blades are perfect for softer wood, plastics, and laminated particle boards. The HSS is ideal for cutting metal because it gets made of more robust steel. 

The BIM contains a mixture of high-speed steel and high-carbon steel. This combination can create a flexible and robust material for demanding applications. These saw blades are not prone to breaking and are versatile enough. They also exhibit longer lifespans compared to other saw blade types. 

On the other hand, TC exhibits sterling strength to easily cut through abrasive metals and reinforced plastics, cement board, fiberglass, stainless steel, glass, tile, bricks, and cast iron. 

However, diamond grit jigsaw blades are very versatile and can cut through rough materials with ease. They can cut through slates, granite, marble, and other hard stones. Their durability, likewise, is remarkable.

Frequently Asked Questions

After learning about the jigsaw blades and the dynamics behind the operation of the jigsaw, it will also help if you are cognizant of the FAQs about the jigsaw, for these might also be the questions you have in mind:

Can You Use the Jigsaw Vertically?

The answer to this question is affirmative. Yes, you can use your jigsaw to cut vertically. But its blade should be fit and well set and is a flush-cut blade. The reason is that if you cut vertically, the blade will come closer to the ground, but the shoe will hit the ground first.

Can You Use the Jigsaw for Lamination and Stone Cutting?

Of course, you can use the jigsaw for cutting laminates and stones, but your jigsaw should be strong enough, and you should use jigsaw blades designed for these applications. If you don’t have a jigsaw and jigsaw blades meant for these challenging jobs, you might as well forgo the idea. 

Can Jigsaws Cut 2x4s?

You can cut 2x4s using a powerful jigsaw with a long stiff blade. The blade should have fewer teeth per inch. Using a bi-metal saw blade will be best because the 2×4 thickness is rugged. Most high-carbon steel are capable of cutting up to 1.5″ in softwood and 3/4″ in hardwood.

How Thick Can a Jigsaw Cut?

The thickness of the wood you can cut depends on several factors like the jigsaw power, type, and the blade’s length. If all these factors align with your projects, you can cut up to 3″ thick wood.


The jigsaw is an excellent tool to jumpstart your woodworking activities. If you can’t afford at this moment a workshop bedecked with all the power tools such as a table saw, circular saw, bandsaw, or miter saw, you can still engage in woodworking using the jigsaw. You will not spend that much if you buy a jigsaw. 

Nevertheless, using the jigsaw, you can engage in simple projects that are easy to make. Of course, understanding how the jigsaw works is essential for efficient and safe use of this tool, and reading through this post can help you know the essentials of using the jigsaw.

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