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Tools 101: How to Use a Jigsaw

Power tools can be scary.  It’s important that we learn how to safely use power tools and overcome our fears.  Learn how to safely use a jigsaw and select the correct blade for the job in the Tools 101 Series.

*This post is sponsored by The Home Depot and contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Today we are introducing a new series called Tools 101, in which we are going to demonstrate how to use basic tools.


What is a Jigsaw?

The Jigsaw belongs to the reciprocating saw family.  It allows you to make curved cuts that a traditional straight saw or miter or circular saw isn’t equipped to do.  The jigsaw is used to cut wood, thin sheet metal plastics, and laminates. It’s a very versatile tool and is an excellent tool and saw for the beginner DIY or woodworking newbie.  While the steps for using a jigsaw are pretty much the same no matter what brand you use,  I will be showing you how to use a jigsaw using the RYOBI ONE+(TM) 18V BRUSHLESS JIGSAW.


The Ryobi 18v Brushless Jigsaw comes cuts faster and has more runtime and power because of its brushless motor.  It has a ‘Lock-on’ trigger with a variable speed dial for slow starts to fast cutting.  And it’s compatible with LITHIUM+™HP batteries for even better performance.  All in all, it’s a solid tool.  Now let’s jump into this.

The components of the Jigsaw

It’s important to know and familiarize yourself with the components of the tool.


Some of the features:

  • The lock-on button allows you to “lock” the saw on while cutting for longer periods.  So you won’t have to pull the trigger constantly.  It is located on the handle above the switch trigger.
  • The variable speed lever is located on top of the saw handle, above the switch trigger.
  • The adjustable base lever allows you to rotate the jigsaw at an angle.  The angle is noted on the bevel scale indicator.

How to select the right blade

It’s important to know what types of blades your jigsaw uses.  Blades come typically with a T or U-shank. The Ryobi Brushless Jig Saw is designed to use T-shank blades only. The blade is then determined by the material that is being cut.  Many blades are color coded and are labeled with the type of material it is meant to cut.  The next thing you want to consider when selecting the blade is the type of teeth.  Some jigsaw blades are for rough cuts while others are designed for finer cuts with less material tear-out.


How to load the blade

Remember to always remove the power source, in this case, the battery before loading or removing the blade.

Rotate the blade clamp lever to the left and insert the blade.  Release the clamp and you will hear it snap in place.  Pull on the blade to ensure its in place.    

Here’s What you do

  • Before we get started, make sure to wear safety goggles and your hair is pulled back.  Also when using power tools you don’t want to have any necklaces or jewelry dangling. I personally, don’t even like to wear rings when using power tools.
  • Make sure the battery is removed.
  • Attach the blade.
  • Adjust the orbital knob for the type of material you’re going to cut.
  • Adjust the variable speed lever. Beware not to run the saw at low speed for an extended period.  This could cause the saw to overheat. Use the orbital guideline that is provided with the tool for guidance.
Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Cordless Brushless Jig Saw Orbital Setting Guide
  • Connect the power to the jigsaw by inserting the battery or plugging in the cord if you have a corded jigsaw.
  • Rest the front of the jigsaw base on the cutting surface, making sure the blade isn’t touching the surface, then pull the trigger.

Types of cuts

StraightStraight cuts can be made clamping a straight edge like a board to the material or using straight edge attachment, which is sold separately.

Plunge: To achieve plunge cuts, drill a hole into the material, insert the blade, and proceed with the cut.

Scroll: Scroll cuts are made by guiding the jigsaw along the cut area by applying pressure to the handle. Remember not to force any cuts. Move with the saw as it cuts.  Too much force can cause the jigsaw to overheat.

Bevel: Unlock the base adjustment lever and rotate the jigsaw to the desired angle.  Lock the adjustment lever in place.  You can cut a straight beveled edge or a curved beveled edge.

Things to consider

A jigsaw can be used to cut 2×4 lumber, but it’s not the best tool for cutting this type of wood.  If using a jigsaw on 2×4 be sure to use a blade that is equipped to handle the density of the material.  Don’t go at a fast speed.  The depth in which a jigsaw can cut is largely determined by the blade you are using.  But the depth can range from 1 1/2in. to 6in.


I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the ProSpective 2018 Campaign. As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.


For more tool reviews and home maintenance projects check out these posts:

Review of the Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Brushless Drywall Screw Gun

Ryobi ONE+ 18V Bolt Cutter Tool Review

How To Build a Large Planter Box Using Scrap Wood



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One Comment

  1. My brother and I are working on restoring our basement to be made into a game room. I’m not really familiar with power tools so I appreciate you explaining some tips to remember when using a jigsaw. Especially the tip about making sure there is no power at all when changing the blades so you don’t get injured.

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