How to Make Plunge Cut with Jigsaw

August 21, 2022

Jigsaw plunge cut techniques

You might already have learned how to cut any shape in the middle of a wood sheet in your Industrial Arts class using a jigsaw. You might also have known that it is called a plunge cut. Yet, if you haven’t tried making a plunge cut before, you don’t have to fret or worry, for it is quite easy to learn. First, you only need to drill a pilot hole in the wood. Then, let the jigsaw blade drop onto this hole to start cutting. But what if you don’t have a drill at hand? Can you still make a plunge cut? 

Well, you can still make a plunge cut without drilling a pilot hole. It is easy and can save you some time. Nevertheless, you must only use a particular blade type that features a sharp tip when doing a plunge cut. Using your jigsaw, you should position its shoe front against the wood. Then, you start the blade at half its full speed. Slowly drop it down onto the wood as you draw it forward with care. In this way, you can get the blade through the wood and start cutting afterward.

Step-by-step Guide on How to Use Jigsaw to Make Plunge Cut

Most cuts using a saw, whether making crosscuts or rip cuts, start at the edge of the wood. But the plunge cut is different because the cut begins at the middle surface, away from the wood’s edges. You need to do such a cut when you need to cut a shape inside the surface area of the wood. To perform such a cut, you can follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Draw the Cut lines

Before beginning to cut wood, you need to outline the cutlines. So, when making a plunge cut, you need to outline the cut lines with precision. In this way, you will have a clear guide of what shape you will cut and where to cut. 

Measure twice and cut once also applies in this case. Make sure that you’ve measured the shape that you would like to cut out with precision. In this way, you will not need to make alterations or recutting afterward.

Step 2: Set the Jigsaw at the Right Position

As mentioned above, you can make a plunge cut sans drilling a pilot hole. You only need to properly position the jigsaw’s shoe front on your workpiece to set the blade aligned or nearly horizontal to your cutline. 

Press the jigsaw’s baseplate on the board with firmness. Let the jigsaw blade hover over the cut line. You can use high speed. Turn off the pendulum function. Then, lower the jigsaw blade to set it in contact with the wood.

Step 3: Turn on the Jigsaw and Lower It

To start cutting, you can turn on the jigsaw and let it gather enough speed. Let the blade move first before letting it touch the wood. You can practice on scrap wood so that you will not make mistakes when cutting the actual workpiece. 

Let the jigsaw blade Plunge into the wood surface. Hold the jigsaw tightly and press firmly on the wood surface to make a hole. Then, tilt the tool slowly back to let the jigsaw blade penetrate the wood. 

As the jigsaw blade burrows a hole onto the wood surface, the shoe will soon sit flat on the wood surface, allowing the jigsaw to burrow further its way through the cutline. As you lower the jigsaw, pull it a bit towards you to allow the jigsaw blade to pierce the wood cleanly without snapping.

Step 4: Completely Cut Out the Delineated Shape

Once the jigsaw is already sitting flat on the workpiece’s surface, you can continue cutting through your outline. Make sure that you cut with a steady hand while tracing the cut lines with care. Once you’ve completed the cutout, you can turn off the saw and let the cutout fall out of the wood.

When To Use Plunge Cut with Jigsaw?

You can engage in a plunge cut if you like to cut out a square, rectangle, or any other figure at the middle of a wood sheet. The plunge cut necessitates drilling a hole onto the wood’s center for the jigsaw blade to drop into. Such a method is easy. Nevertheless, it may take extra time and effort on your part. 

So, if you are not in the mood for using a drill to make a hole onto the wood surface, you can always make a plunge cut sans drilling a hole. You only need to follow the abovementioned steps to create a plunge cut without drilling a hole. This method, of course, saves you time and effort and may come in handy if you don’t have a drill at hand.


It will be good to note that jigsaw works well when cutting softwood with a maximum thickness of 1-1/2 inches. It also works well when cutting hardwood up to 3/4-inch thick. The jigsaw blade, of course, may bend when engage in cutting curves on thick boards. Thus, you may end up making beveled edges instead of square ones. You can avoid bending the jigsaw blade if you don’t force the jigsaw onto the wood. Moreover, it will help if you have a sharp jigsaw blade.  

The jigsaw is a powerful tool with a reciprocating blade. Hence, you need to follow the safety tips when using it to make plunge cuts. Besides, you need to be familiar with the user’s manual, wear the appropriate PPE, keep the components of your saw lubricated, and make sure your hands are away from the reciprocating blade.

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