Jig Saws

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A Jig Saw is used for making curved or straight cuts in a wide variety of materials. A Jig Saw performs best in thinner materials like metal, wood, and laminate.

Take a look around this page and how easy it is to use a Jig Saw. Make sure to check out the quick introduction video featuring our friends from Shanty2Chic.com!

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Tips & Safety
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Tool Diagram

Cutting Laminate

Use a laminate-specific blade and cut the material slowly to decrease chipping.

Cutting Sheet Metal

Secure the metal sheet between two pieces of tightly clamped plywood. This will keep the metal from shredding and chipping. Make sure to use a metal-specific blade.

Choosing a Blade For Metal Cuts

For smooth cuts in metal, use a metal-specific blade with 21-24 TPI (teeth per inch).

Keep a variety of clamps on hand

Make sure to have clamps on hand to secure your work pieces prior to cutting.

Using A Scrap Wood Barrier

You can clamp a piece of scrap wood under your work piece to act as a barrier between the work piece and your work bench or saw horse. Doing so will also help prevent splintering.

Diagram: Jig Saw
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Base Plate

The base of the saw that sits flat on the work piece.

Instructions: Always operate the saw with the base completely flat on the work piece.

Bevel Cut

A cut made at an angle towards the inside of the work piece.

Instructions: Secure your work piece and mark your cut. Adjust the bevel to the angle you want. Align the line of cut with the 45° blade guide notch on the base when making 45° bevel cuts. Install the battery or plug the saw in and make your cut on the waste side of your cut mark. It is best to make test cuts no scrap material before cutting your workpiece.

Bi-Metal Blades

Bi-metal blades are made from two different types of metal and are layered together to make them last longer.


Binding is when the saws blade gets stuck or slows down

Instructions: Try cutting relief cuts if your blade is binding.

Blade Clamp

The portion of the saw that holds the blade in place.

Blade Shank

The section of the blade that is held in place by the blade clamp.

Instructions: Always be sure you know which kind of shank your jig saw accepts before purchasing blades.

Blade Stroke

The distance that the blade moves up and down

Cross Cut

A cut made across the grain of the wood or material.

Instructions: Install your battery, or plug in the saw. Secure your work piece and mark your cut. Adjust the blade depth so that the teeth fall just below the work piece (no more than 1/4"). Install your battery, or plug the saw in. Remember to bring the blade just on the waste side of the cut, and make sure the motor side of the saw is over the supported part of workpiece. Make your cut, and be sure the blade comes to a complete stop before lifting the saw back up on any cut.

Curve Cut

Sawing along a curve; might be used for making wooden wall decorations

Instructions: Use a high speed setting (low speed for cutting metal), and apply light pressure as you go around a curve. If the curve is especially sharp, you may want to make relief cuts to help with blade performance.

Down Stroke Blades

A jig saw blade with downward pointing teeth.

Instructions: Use this blade when you'd need the to protect the top of your work surface. Popular with cutting Laminate Countertops.

Edge Guide

An accessory that fits through the nose of the saw. It helps make straight cuts.

Instructions: Slide the edge guide through the holes in the front of your saw, and adjust it so that the vertical flat piece rests against the edge of your cutting piece. You can adjust the fence for wide or narrow cuts as necessary.

Guide Wood

A piece of scrap wood

Instructions: Clamp a straight piece of wood to your work piece. Saw with the shoe right against the guide wood.

Orbital Sawing Action

A feature that allows the saw blade to cut through materials faster (do not use with metal).

Instructions: Refer to operators manual to confirm blade types and materials recommended for this feature.

Relief Cuts

A cut that you make on the waste side that lets you move the saw more easily around a curve you're cutting.

Instructions: Cut straight notches along the outside (waste side) of your workpiece. This will give your saw blade more room to move without pinching and binding.

Rip Cut

A cut that goes with the grain of the wood; might be used for cutting a long piece of wood for a frame

Instructions: Measure your cut. You may need to use a piece of guide wood, or an edge guide to keep the cut straight. Turn on the saw with the blade slightly away from the wood. When the saw is up to speed, slowly move the saw forward to make the cut.

Sacrificial Wood

Wood placed underneath your work piece that you don’t mind cutting during sawing. This is used to keep your work piece's edges smooth, the rough parts will be in the sacrificial piece.

Instructions: Clamp sacrificial wood tightly to the bottom side of your work piece. Do your cuts as usual.

Scroll Cut

Sawing a pattern in material that has curves and shapes; might be used for making wooden ornaments

Instructions: If you're cutting along curves or any other kind of fancy shapes, keep the saw on maximum speed setting and low orbital motion for more control. It's best to use a fine-tooth or a high TPI blade, preferably a scrolling blade.


Teeth per Inch - how Jig Saw blades are measured

Instructions: blades are rated by TPI and depending on what you need to cut, you may need to have a collection of wood blades, plastic blades, and metal blades.

Up Stroke Blade

Most Jig Saw blades are up stroke blades.

Are Jig Saws dangerous?

As long as you follow all instructions in your Operators Manual and take all the required safety measures, you can operate a Jig Saw safely.

What can I cut with a Jig Saw?

Jig Saws are made to cut wood, plastics, and metals. Make sure you have the appropriate blade to cut your material.

Can I cut 2x4s and other large varieties of wood with a Jig Saw?

If your saw is powerful enough (usually a larger corded unit), you can cut through 2 in. thick materials. Refer to your Operators Manual for sizing specifications.

How do I know which blade to use?

Blades are rated by TPI (teeth per inch) and by the material they are optimized to cut. Select your blade according to the type of material you want to cut. Wood cutting blades typically have lower TPI, plastic-cutting blades have mid range TPI, and metal-cutting blades have higher TPI.

How do I know which blade shank my Jig Saw needs?

Before purchasing blades for your Jig Saw, make sure to refer to your Operators Manual. The most common types of blade shanks are "U" shanks, and "T" shanks. "U" shanks are most common on Jig Saws that require a tool for blade changes. "T" shanks are most commonly used on Jig Saw that have a tool-less blade change.

What is BladeSaver™?

RYOBI's newest ONE+ 18V Jig Saw has BladeSaver™, which allows you to adjust the shoe of your saw to access the unused teeth of the blade. This gives you more life out of your blade.

What does orbital action do?

Orbital action provides an extra thrusting motion, and allows the blade to cut through material faster. Orbital action is not recommended for use on all material types (i.e. metal). Refer to you manual for when to use orbital action.