Why Is My Jigsaw Not Cutting Straight? (Causes & Solutions)

Last Updated on July 7, 2022 by Liam Bronson

Making straight line cutting using jigsaw.

Imagine yourself trying to cut a straight line with your jigsaw, but your jigsaw blade keeps bending and veering off the cutline. You will surely get frustrated, right? Well, such an annoying experience is fairly common among beginners in woodworking who are trying their hands on a jigsaw for the first time. But why does the jigsaw sometimes not cut straight?

A jigsaw might not be cutting straight for several reasons. One reason is that the blade might be dull. Second, you might be using it the wrong way. Besides, it might be a case of damaged bearings or some other reason. So, if ever your jigsaw is not cutting straight, you need to zero in on the real reason why it fails to cut straight. Once you’ve figured out the real reason, only then can you start troubleshooting your jigsaw.

Main Reasons Why Your Jigsaw Fails to Cut Straight

Reasons abound as to why your jigsaw might not be cutting straight. Knowing these reasons will help you narrow down your troubleshooting options to the real reason behind its inability to cut straight. Here is a rundown of the possible reasons why your jigsaw is not cutting straight:

Lacking Guide Bearings

If your jigsaw is outdated, meaning you bought it in the 90s or early 2000s, chances are, your jigsaw lacks guide bearings. Of course, the jigsaw has already evolved since the early 2000s. Now, jigsaws have guide bearings that earlier jigsaw versions didn’t have. 

So, if your jigsaw is outdated, it is high time to shift to a newer version of a jigsaw. Guide bearings provide secondary support for jigsaws. Hence, without these guide bearings, the jigsaw will likely veer away from the cutline, frustrating you in the process.

Applying Excessive Pressure on the Jigsaw Blade!

Another possible reason you can’t cut straight with your jigsaw lies in the way you use it. Besides, you might be misusing your cutting blade. For example, it might cut sideways if you apply too much pressure on the jigsaw blade. 

When using the jigsaw, just give it a little push, enough to make it move forward. The jigsaw will indeed work its way and cut on its own without too much effort on your part. Go along with the jigsaw instead of impatiently forcing it to move forward. 

Apply downward pressure instead while pressing against the guide. This way, you can achieve a straight cut.

Remember that even a little excessive force can cause the jigsaw to veer off the mark. So, when using the jigsaw, apply the minimal push that you can apply to make the jigsaw move forward. 

Blade Clamp is Damaged

One possible reason behind the inability of the jigsaw to cut straight is a damaged clamp. The jigsaw blade will not be amply supported if the clamp is faulty or damaged. Thus, it will absorb all the shocks and stress from cutting, making the jigsaw blade deviate from the cutline.

So, if your jigsaw isn’t cutting straight, check the blade clamp if it is loose or damaged. If the screws are already stripping out, you can replace them.

Damaged Bearings

As mentioned above, the new versions of jigsaws come with guide bearings. These guide bearings support the jigsaw blade while it cuts. But if these guide bearings are damaged, they can’t support the jigsaw blade, causing it to swerve. 

Good thing damaged bearings are easy to replace. You only need to remove the shaft from the jigsaw. Then, replace the damaged bearings with new ones. Afterward, reposition the O-ring onto it.

It might be due to damaged bearings if you find it hard to figure out why your jigsaw isn’t cutting straight. Damaged bearings, of course, can have a significant impact on the performance of your jigsaw. More often, the issue gets resolved by simply replacing the guide bearings. 

Bases Are Misaligned

Your jigsaw usually comes with a base, plate, or shoe. Although these things are the same, they have different names, depending on who manufactures them. But let’s simply refer to it as the shoe. If the shoe is not aligned or if it is damaged, the jigsaw will have a hard time cutting straight. 

Set the jigsaw on a flat surface to check if it is level or not damaged. The shoe will lay flat and in contact with the surface if it is not damaged. 

However, if there are parts that don’t come in contact, it might be that the shoe is warped. In such a case, you can install a new shoe. You can do this by simply removing the screws that hold the shoe. Then, replace the shoe with a new one.  

Using the Wrong Jigsaw Blade

Another possible reason is you’re using the wrong jigsaw blade. Jigsaw blades vary from one another. So, you might have picked the wrong jigsaw blade if it fails to cut straight. It will be best to refrain from using cheap jigsaw blades of poor quality. Such jigsaw blades might prevent your jigsaw from cutting straight. 

Of course, cheaper jigsaw blades appeal strongly because you can save if you buy them. Yet, if you use them, they might bend because they are made of cheaper alloys. Moreover, they might tend to dull faster while not cutting well. 

Another factor you must consider when choosing a jigsaw blade is the TPI or teeth per inch. If you want fast action, you can go for lower TPI, anywhere between six to nine teeth. 

However, if you want a cleaner and more precise cut, you should go for jigsaw blades with higher TPI with 12 or more TPI. Nevertheless, the cutting process becomes slower with higher TPI blades. 

Applying Excessive Pressure on the Jigsaw Blade

The amount of pressure you apply on the jigsaw blade might also cause the jigsaw blade to veer sideways. The jigsaw blade doesn’t require much force. Just let the jigsaw blade do the cutting with a minimal push from your hand. Remember that minimal lateral pressure can cause the jigsaw blade to veer off the cutline.

It will be best to apply a steady and consistent downward pressure sans forcing the tool forward. Press the device against the guide to let the jigsaw cut straight. This way, you can expect a tidy cut from your jigsaw.

What If Your Jigsaw Suddenly Veers Off the Track?

If you are cutting straight and suddenly your jigsaw veers off the cutline, don’t panic. Stop cutting and figure out why it is veering off the cut line. Moreover, you can use the following tips to set your jigsaw on the right track:

  1. Always have a new and quality jigsaw blade at hand, and ensure you only buy from trusted brands of jigsaw blades. 
  2. Select the jigsaw blade best suited for the material you will cut. Jigsaw blades, of course, come in different made and materials. Figure out when to use one type over the other. 
  3. Make it a habit to rest your jigsaw after an extended cut. This way, you will not overwork your jigsaw blade and motor. 
  4. Hold your jigsaw with both hands when you cut.
  5. Allow the jigsaw blade to cut at its pace. Don’t force the issue: just walk the thin line between fast and slow. 
  6. Always use a guide to enable the jigsaw to cut straight.

Conclusion

Jigsaw blades can either be T-shank or U-shank. They might also be of varying materials. There are jigsaw blades for construction lumber, fine wood, hardwood, plywood, or MDF. Besides, almost all jigsaw blades, however, are made of metal. But they might be made of high-carbon steel (HCS), HSS, bimetal, carbide, and diamond grit. You can also cut a cement board using a jigsaw. 

It is indeed frustrating if your jigsaw would not cut straight. But now that you know why your jigsaw fails to cut straight, you can make the necessary adjustment to ensure that your jigsaw will cut straight.

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