How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw (3 Easy Ways) - Thumbnail

How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw (3 Easy Ways)


A jigsaw is a useful tool for cutting curved lines, but in some cases, it may also be necessary to cut straight lines with a jigsaw. Unfortunately, the jigsaw always tends to find its own way, and it is difficult to keep a straight line. Fortunately, there are a few simple tricks that can help you cut straight with a jigsaw.

You can use a square as a guide for shorter cuts and a straight bar or extension guide for longer cuts, along with the techniques described in this article, to cut straight lines with a jigsaw.

In this step-by-step article, you will see that straight cutting with a jigsaw doesn’t have to be that complicated and is easier than you might think. Discover the 3 techniques I discuss in this article and cut straight with your jigsaw from now on.

What Do You Need to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw

Marking Material

In order to cut straight, accurate cutting lines, you need proper preparation and marking. A tape measure and a pencil are essential supplies for this, whether it’s making basic rip cuts, cross-cuts, or miter cuts.

Personally, I always use a Pica marker pencil. It has been my favorite marking pencil for years because of its good quality. It always gives me very precise and fine lines that are clearly visible on every type of wood I work with.

Spacers

A jigsaw blade comes, depending on the thickness of the material you want to cut, a bit through the wood. That is why it is best to use spacers under the workpiece so that it is lifted from the table. If the saw blade hits the tabletop at high speed, there is a chance that it will break. If your jigsaw blade continues to break during sawing, this may have another reason. Use my article This Is Why Your Jigsaw Blades Keep Breaking (15 Reasons) to investigate what could be the reason and fix this problem.

As a spacer, you can use pieces of scrap wood. I use some old insulation panels for this. They are light weighted and when you cut in them, the blade will go through easily.

A guide

The material you use for this can vary greatly.
You can use an aluminum rail or a piece of wood, as long as it’s a straight fence against which the jigsaw can rest while cutting.

Clamps

It is preferable to clamp them to keep the fence in place. This way, you avoid the risk of the fence suddenly disappearing and the straight line becoming crooked.
Personally, I believe that one-handed bar clamps or spring clamps are the better options for this task. More information about the various types of woodworking clamps can be found in my article What Woodworking Clamps Do I Need? 3 Crucial Clamps + Helpful Hints

What Blade Do You Need to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw?

Jigsaw blades come in different sizes, thicknesses, and TPI. To find the perfect jigsaw blade, I previously wrote the guide, Choosing The Perfect Jigsaw Blades In 3 Simple Steps | FREE DOWNLOAD. In that article, you will find all the basic information about jigsaw blades.

A strong jigsaw blade is required to cut straight lines with a jigsaw. Avoid thin blades, which are designed for cutting sharp bends.
The best jigsaw blade for straight cut is the thickest blade you can find. It will not bend as easily when cutting this way, making it easier to cut a straight line with the jigsaw.

The number of teeth is also essential when selecting the best jigsaw blade for straight cut. Stay away from low TPI teeth as they will cause too many splinters when cutting.
Rather, use jigsaw blades with 10 or 14 TPI.

How Do You Square a Jigsaw?

It is critical that the saw blade be mounted perpendicular to the jigsaw in order to make straight cuts. A bent or misaligned blade can ruin a cut. As a result, before making a cut, always check the jigsaw blade for straightness and alignment. Check the blade with a square to ensure it’s perfectly perpendicular to the shoe.

The square is used to check the squareness of the jigsaw blade by placing it on the bottom of the shoe and along the saw blade. If the saw blade does not fit with the square, you must pivot the sole until a perfect 90-degree angle is formed between the sole and the saw blade.

How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw (3 Easy Ways) - How to square a jigsaw
How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw (3 Easy Ways) – How to square a jigsaw

Method #1: How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw And a Square

A square can be used to make a short straight cut with a jigsaw, such as a crosscut cut on lumber. This is the quickest and most straightforward method for cutting straight with a jigsaw.

  • To begin, use a tape measure and a pencil to mark the size of the cut.
  • Then take the jigsaw and align the saw blade with the mark.
  • Place the square against the sole of the jigsaw now that it is in place.
  • Pull the jigsaw back slightly while holding the square firmly to release the blade from the wood and start the tool. Start cutting the wood once the blade is at full speed and slide the jigsaw along the square until it reaches the end.
How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw (3 Easy Ways) - Making a cut along a square
How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw (3 Easy Ways)Making a cut along a square

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Method #2: How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw And a Guide

Setting up a fence parallel to the cutting line can be a challenging task. A faulty fence setting means that the cut will not be made at the marker’s location. This problem has a simple solution.

  • Make a mark where the cut should be made.
  • Now place the jigsaw with the saw blade on the mark.
  • Then use a pencil to mark the side of the jigsaw’s sole on the side of the fence. This is the point where the fence should go.
  • Repeat on the opposite side of the workpiece to keep the fence at the proper distance from the cut and ensure that your cut is always accurate.
How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw (3 Easy Ways) - Mark next to the sole to set up the fence
How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw (3 Easy Ways) – Mark next to the sole to set up the fence

By clamping the fence now along the marked points you prevent it from shifting during the cutting.
Make sure that the sole of the jigsaw continues to make contact with the fence while cutting.

Depending on the blade you use, the type of material you are working with, and the thickness of the workpiece, you will need to adjust the speed of the jigsaw. Also, the orbital action will play a huge roll to achieve the cleanest cut possible. Know that there are also saw blades with reverse teeth. These are for when the workpiece cannot be turned over and there is certainly no tearing at the front.

Method #3: How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw And a Rip Guide

Some models allow the use of a conductor. These work in the same way as the guide on a circular saw and are even attached to the jigsaw itself in the same way.

When using a guide, the metal plate slides against the edge of the workpiece you are working on. By correctly setting the guide bar with the distance between the saw cuts and the edge of the workpiece, you can make perfectly jigsaw straight cuts.

How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw (3 Easy Ways) - Parallel guide by Festool (490119)
How to Cut Straight with a Jigsaw (3 Easy Ways) – Parallel guide by Festool (490119)

How to cut straight with a jigsaw – Conclusion

You can use one of three jigsaw techniques to cut straight with a jigsaw: the square technique, the fence technique, or the rip guide technique. To make straight cuts, however, you must begin with a good jigsaw. If you’re looking for a good jigsaw but don’t know where to start, check out my article How To Choose A Jigsaw – The Best Jig Saw Buying Guide


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