How To Use A Jigsaw To Cut Curves

Cut inner curve motif on wood.

At some point in woodwork, you will need to cut a curve into a wood piece. This applies whether you’re an amateur enthusiast or you’re already a veteran on the woodwork scene. Now you have the task, and we’ll present you with the solution – a jigsaw. Indeed, there is no doubt that a jigsaw is a powerful tool that can help you achieve beautiful and accurate curves on wood.

However, for many, the prospect of cutting curves with a jigsaw can be quite a daunting one. In light of that, let us first address your features. Using a jigsaw to cut curves on wood pieces is not at all a complex process. On the contrary, it is relatively straightforward. But, it does not take some technical know-how to use the jigsaw to create your required result.

This is where we come into the picture. In this article, we’ll walk you the steps on how to cut curves with a jigsaw. Furthermore, we’ll throw in some crucial tips on using the jigsaw to make your work process smooth. In other words, this article is your one-stop on everything you need to know about cutting curves with a jigsaw.

But first, let us take it from the basics. What is a jigsaw, and why is it an excellent tool for cutting curves in wood?

Facts You Should Know About using Jigsaw To Cut Curve Line?

Before we dive into our guide on how to cut curves with a jigsaw, you should know exactly what the tool is. This way, you can relate better when we start talking techniques and tips for cutting with the tool.

The jigsaw is a sawing woodwork tool that comprises an electric motor and a reciprocating saw blade. This reciprocating blade is the very reason jigsaws are ideal for cutting curves. The edge allows you to cut various shapes, even irregular curves such as in stenciled designs.

Moreover, jigsaw also has sole plates that have a bevel adjustment. As such, you can cut at angles up to 45 degrees, unlike the typical vertical strokes other tools offer. Indeed, with a jigsaw, all you need is the right blade and useful tips. In no time, you’ll be cutting curves like a pro.

That said, let us dive right into all you need to know about cutting curves with the jigsaw.

Items You May Need to Achieve A Perfect Curve Cut

Before we walk you through how to cut curves with a jigsaw, here’s a checklist to ensure that you have all you need. Depending on the type of cut you’re making or the work material, you may not need all the items on this list. Nonetheless, here are some essential items for cutting curves with a jigsaw.

  • A jigsaw in good working condition (this is a no-brainer).
  • Curve-cutting or scrolling blades.
  • A workbench.
  • A marker or carpenter’s pencil.
  • Clamps.
  • A drilling machine (optional).
  • A protractor (for when you need to mark out circles).
  • Finally, safety gear or protective equipment.

A Step-by-step Guide on How to Cut Curves With A Jigsaw

Now that you know the materials you need to cut curves with a jigsaw, let us see how to do it. Read further to find out more.

Step #1: Prepare the Material You Want To Cut

Make ready the material you’ll be cutting. However, in terms of this material, there are some things you must know. The jigsaw generally works better on thinner materials. In other words, you can use it to cut pieces such as softwood, tiles, and even thin sheets of metal.

On the other hand, workpieces like hardwood may be more challenging to work with. This is because these materials are rather rigid and may bend the blade of the jigsaw. So, while you may indeed cut through the hardwood, you’ll not get square cuts. Moreover, the process is much more complex and may lack accuracy.

Step #2: Check the Equipment

Checking your equipment is a vital step that you cannot afford to skip before workshop activity. In this case, your equipment includes your workbench, and of course, the jigsaw itself. 

First, you need to make sure that the read underneath your workbench’s cutting surface is unobstructed. This will ensure that when the blade of your jigsaw cuts through the wood, it can move freely. Then, examine your jigsaw to ascertain that it is in good work condition. Also, check that all screws and bolts are securely in place.

Step #3: Choose Your Blade

There are a variety of blades that can function in your jigsaw. What determines the blade you choose is the type of cut you’re making and your workpiece. For the purposes of this guide, we recommend using a T-shank blade. They are ideal for cutting curves and are less likely to dislodge at high speeds.

Also, we advise that you use a blade with a downstroke. This will ensure the upper face of your workpiece (where people will see) remains smooth. In addition, opt for a blade with higher teeth per inch (TPI) rating. Although these blades are slower, they make for a smoother and more superior finish. This makes them perfect as you don’t need speed while cutting curves. 

Step #4: Set the Speed of Your Jigsaw

Next on our tips on how to cut curves with a jigsaw — setting the appropriate speed. There’s usually a dial on all jigsaws where you can set the speed you want. We recommend setting the dial to lower speeds while cutting curves. 

This will reduce the risk of you making mistakes while cutting. Moreover, blades with high TPI ratings do not handle fast or aggressive cutting very well. So, whether you are a woodwork beginner or veteran, always use lowers speeds while cutting curves with your jigsaw.

Step #5: Test Cut on Scrap Material

If you feel the need to practice before working on your actual workpiece, please do so. It takes a while to get the hang of cutting curves with a jigsaw perfectly. We recommend using a part of the same material on which you will be working. This way, you can confirm if the sharpness and speed of the blade are on optimum levels.

Step #6: Set up & Properly Clamp The Workpiece

Next, place your workpiece on the bench. It is usually best to position your material on the edge of the workbench instead of in its middle. This way, you can move both the workpiece and jigsaw if you need to do so while you cut. This particular trick can go a long way in helping you achieve an accurate cutout.

Also, you will need to clamp the board to the workbench. In most cases, you may need only two clamps. But don’t hesitate to add more if you need them. Clamping your workpiece will ensure it does not move around while you cut the curve, thereby disrupting your workflow.

Step #7: Mark Out the Curve

We cannot overemphasize the importance of this step. Without markings on your workpiece to guard you, you’re more prone to making mistakes. Therefore, never assume that you can without marking out your curve or even straight lines.

You may use a carpenter’s pencil or a maker to map out the path of your curve. But, make sure the lines you create are evident and accurate. Also, ensure that your lines’ width is not wider than the blade’s, as this may become confusing.

Step #8: Making the Cut

Once you’ve done all the above, you are now ready to start cutting the curve. However, depending on the position of your curve, they are steps you must follow. 

Curves at the Edges

Edge cuts are typically the more straightforward task. Here’s how to do it.

  • Move the jigsaw close to the point you wish to start your cut. But, don’t place it directly against your starting point. 
  • Next, turn on the jigsaw and make sure it is at its lowest speed. Then, move it up to your starting line and slowly begin the cut.
  • Then, as the cut progresses, press the blade into the wood and gradually increase the blade’s speed (Note it should not be too fast).
  • While cutting, make sure the base of your jigsaw rests comfortably on top of the material you’re cutting. This way, it can easily slide along as your progress on the curve.
  • Finally, guide the blade along the line you have mapped out until you reach the end.

Circular or Internal Cuts

Now, these are less straightforward. But, with the right tips, you can achieve such cuts without any hassle.

  • By now, you should have marked out the circle or curve you’ll be cutting. So, using a drilling machine, make a hole inside the circle or on the waste part of your workpiece.
  • The hole you make should be larger than the width of the jigsaw blade. Also, it must be big enough to allow a 360 degrees turn.
  • Next, insert your saw blade into the hole you have just made.
  • Once you’ve done that, turn on your jigsaw and then cut to the perimeter (edge) of your circle.
  • Finally, guide your jigsaw to cut through the markings of your circle or curves.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article on how to cut a curve with a jigsaw will help you achieve your desired results. Always remember, mastering the principles of cutting curves with a jigsaw is not an impossible task. However, your first few trials may not be perfect. But, with practice, you’ll be cutting curves like a pro in time. Just take it slow and keep the pressure on!

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