A jigsaw is one of the essential power tools in a woodworker’s workshop. There is much you can do with a jigsaw. But you must take some precautions while using this versatile power tool to achieve the best results.
Why does a jigsaw jump while cutting? This is a much-asked question by woodworkers who use a jigsaw to perform their cutting tasks. There are multiple reasons for this. So, there isn’t a single answer, but it is more the result of multiple factors that you need to take care of to prevent your jigsaw and prevent it from jumping.
You probably use a jigsaw at least once a day in the course of your woodworking tasks. A common issue that you might encounter is your jigsaw jumping and marking the timber. It is the blade that causes many of the problems while cutting.
We usually use a jigsaw to make curved cuts in wood. What many people do not know is that there is much more that you can do with a jigsaw. You can even use it to cut materials other than wood like steel, copper, plastic, etc.
But to get the best performance from your jigsaw, you need to take care of certain things. Or else, your jigsaw may jump and start performing all sorts of acrobatics. The main culprit for a malfunctioning jigsaw is the blade. But the way you use this useful power tool also has a lot of bearing on its performance.
Things like dull blades, unsuitable blades, incorrect grip, age of the machine, and incorrect settings can all contribute to the tool not performing as it should.
Getting a Good Cut from Your Jigsaw
If you notice that your jigsaw jumps while cutting, cuts at a bevel angle, or weaves around like a lost soul, there are ways of correcting the issues. Here are a few things to consider for getting the best out of your jigsaw:
Position Your Saw at 90°
Before you start cutting, ensure that your blade is at 90° to the surface of the wood. If all other conditions are favorable, you can get a clean cut perpendicular to the material’s surface. Keep your blade at 90° the base of the machine flat on the surface.
Use a Relatively New Machine
An old, worn machine can cause multiple issues. There is some truth in the saying that “you can’t flog a dead horse.” With an old and worn machine, there is a limit beyond which you cannot improve the performance by adjusting the settings. Consider replacing your old jigsaw with a new one.
Adopt the Right Stance
Stand with your legs planted firmly on the floor with your arms free to move. Having the support of a chair or wall helps keep your body steady as you cut.
Draw a Cut Line
An obvious point worth mentioning – draw a line to cut. Don’t rely on your line of vision, as it can distract you and you may deviate from the planned trajectory of the blade. Needless to say, you should also keep a clear line of vision along the line of the cut.
Use a Sharp Blade
The best blades will eventually become blunt. There’s no sharpening a jigsaw blade. Once you see signs of wear and tear on your blade, discard it. Burn marks on the sides of a blade indicate that the blade is becoming blunt.
One thing that happens as a blade becomes blunt is that the blade “set” gets worn down. The set of a blade is the way the teeth protrude laterally. It is what gives the blade enough clearance to move freely while it cuts.
Once the set wears down, the blade has insufficient clearance in the kerf and it overheats due to high friction. This is one of the primary causes of a jumping jigsaw blade.
A bent blade can cause a blade to bounce. If you see your blade bouncing, check its straightness along the length. A bent blade is unable to move freely in a vertical direction. If you notice that your blade is bent, replace it immediately.
Too Sharp a Curve
We tend to discuss more about jigsaw cutting in straight lines. But its unique capability is to cut along tight curves. But if the curve is too sharp, it could generate friction, and your blade will jump and even jam and break. The wider the blade, the wider the curve it can cut, and vice-versa.
Before you start cutting, ensure that all the parts of your jigsaw are firmly in place. Parts of a jigsaw can easily become loose due to vibration. You will usually find it easy to tighten screws and bolts on a jigsaw to avoid any malfunction during operation.
Incorrect Type of Blade
There is a variety of jigsaw blades that you can get to cut various materials. You need to know the correct type of blade required and use it. It is a good practice to check the manufacturer’s specs before using a jigsaw blade.
Downward Pointing Teeth
Most jigsaw blades point upwards. But sometimes if you have material prone to chipping line MDF or OSB, you may need to use a blade with downward-pointing teeth. The downside (excuse the pun!) of this configuration can be that the blade tends to jump.
Avoid Cheap Blades
Steer clear from cheap blades. You will find a cheap blade economical in the short run but it can cost you dearly in the long run. Cheap blades are made of poor-quality steel and will never perform as well as the better-quality ones.
A good-quality blade on the other hand will give you a cleaner and safer cut. The steel is good and the blade has well-defined teeth. It will perform better and last longer than a cheap blade.
Incorrect Blade Length
If the blade of your jigsaw is not long enough to cover the thickness of the wood, the blade ends will catch and make your jigsaw jump while cutting. Therefore, before you start cutting, take some time out to ensure that your blade extends as far as needed.
You will see a variety of accessories for jigsaws like guides, covers, and so on. Many of these accessories help you work better but many do not. But to ensure that your accessory is doing what it is supposed to do, ensure that you have installed it correctly.
Take care to read the instructions and watch YouTube tutorials if required. After installing an accessory and your jigsaw starts to play up, you know it is the accessory that is the cause, and you can remove it to restore your jigsaw’s performance, or reinstall it properly.
Rotating parts of a jigsaw contain bearings and bushes among other moving parts. When they wear out, the machine can become noisier. Your jigsaw’s performance will deteriorate and if unattended, some parts may get damaged.
It is a good idea to have the bearings and bushes of your jigsaw checked regularly as part of preventive maintenance.
How to Prevent Jigsaw Kickback
Kickback is an extreme form of jumping. It occurs when your jigsaw blade kicks back rather than bounces. The saw blade causes the machine to move erratically with chances of the jigsaw blade breaking and flying at you. It can result in a serious injury.
Replacing your jigsaw blade regularly and ensuring that it gets replaced before it becomes blunt can avoid kickback issues.
Pro tip: Ensure that your jigsaw comes up to speed before you plunge it into the wood.
A jigsaw is a handy power tool to have in your woodworking workshop. But for it to perform optimally, you need to take adequate precautions. One of the biggest nuisances is a jumping jigsaw.
Follow the tips that we have provided here to get hassle-free usage out of your jigsaw in all your woodworking projects.