What is a jigsaw tool? A basic introduction to the Jigsaw

If you are someone who is very handy and likes to do wood repairing chores often. Then, you must have heard from your friends or family to purchase a jigsaw. No, I am not talking about the jigsaw puzzle you used to play with during your childhood. It is something else entirely. So, what is a jigsaw tool? Do you even need it? What is a jigsaw tool used for? Well, do not worry, I will answer these questions for you. I’ll tell you about its uses, its working, and some maintenance tips. 

What is a jigsaw tool?

What is a jigsaw tool?

Allow me to define jigsaw tool for beginners. A jigsaw is an easy-to-use device, but you need to have basic knowledge about it. With the help of jigsaws, you can make precise cuts in some specific materials. Jigsaws are used for wood repairing chores and DIY projects that include wood. Along with wood, they can also cut plastic, metal, and ceramic tile. Now that is what I call versatility.

The feature that makes them handy is their capacity to accommodate blades of different sides. These various blades help the user to make precise cuts in the specific material. Another perk of using jigsaws is the comfort that they provide. The user can easily handle this tool with one hand.

 This user-friendliness is the reason why they are considered to be ideal for power tool novices. Most of the jigsaws available in the market need electric support, while others also feature battery support. The batteries used in this tool are usually made up of lithium-ion or nickel-cadmium.

Jigsaw is not just used to make a simple cut; it offers more than that. Along with many other jigsaw tool uses, they can also make different kinds of cuts. With the help of a jigsaw, you can create curved cuts, straight cuts, plunge cuts, and bevel cuts. You can easily employ all of them just by using some specific blades, altering the blade’s side, or handling the jigsaw at an appropriate angle.

Learn more about jigsaw in our jigsaw cutting guide.

Essential parts of a jigsaw

What is a jigsaw tool?

To operate a jigsaw, you first need to know the essential parts. Unless you don’t have rudimentary knowledge about its elements, you won’t use it properly. The main components of the jigsaw include:

Base Plate:

The metal base of the jigsaw is called shoe/sole/base plate. This base plate is placed on the specific material that you are planning to cut. The shoe of the tool is customizable, and you can easily adjust it with the screw.

The blade:

The blade is the part that cuts the material. It is a bit protruded from the shoe. It is manufactured in a way that facilitates the cutting process. For making precise cuts and meeting users’ requirements, blades are available in different sizes. You can change the blade according to the size of the cut that you want.

Learn more about jigsaw blades in our jigsaw blade guide.

The blade clamp

The third important part, the blade clamp, is used to adjust blades in position. Blade clamps either use screws or levers to change the blades.  

The blade roller guide 

The blade roller guide is the part that supports the blade when it is cutting the material. This part makes sure that the cuts are smooth and precise.

The handle

The handle is the part from where the user grips the jigsaw. The ergonomic structure of the handle makes it easy for the users to guide the jigsaw and the cut.

On-off switch

Beneath the handle, there is an on-off switch, which is used to operate the jigsaw. There is a trigger along with that, which helps to adjust the cutting speed.

Lock button

On the side of the handle, there is a lock button. Once you decide the speed that you are willing to work on, you can lock it. This lock feature makes it comfortable to work for a long time.

The orbital action dial

The orbital action dial is another crucial part of this tool used to decide the blade’s directions during each stroke.

variable speed dial

While cutting, you need to control your tool. For this purpose, jigsaws feature variable speed dial. It allows you to adjust the maximum cutting speed of your instrument. When you are pressing the trigger, the speed won’t exceed the maximum limit adjusted on the variable speed dial.

The power cord

The power cord is the wire that provides electric support to run your tool. The jigsaws that feature battery support have their batteries located at the backend.

additional parts

Along with these essential parts, many jigsaws feature some additional parts. Some of them have a dust blower at the rear that helps in improving visibility. Some other also features an LED light over the blade that helps in making precise cuts. A laser guide is also available to highlight the cutting line. The internal blade storage option of some jigsaws makes it easy to assemble all the blades in a single place so that you can find them easily.

How does it operate?

You might have seen a sewing machine. If not, you must know how it works as the needle goes inside and outside of the sewing machine. Similarly, the blades of the jigsaw move upward and downward to cut the material through its teeth. The motor is used to convert the cords/battery’s electrical energy into mechanical energy of the moving blades.

To start cutting, you have to decide the area that you want to cut correctly. Choose the blade size according to your desired precision. Place the shoe of the jigsaw over that area. Set the variable speed dial. Turn it on. Press the trigger and start cutting along with moving the tool over that material. Grip the handle properly; you can also lock the cutting speed if it bothers you in handling the device. If you have to cut wood, then you have to operate it at high speed. However, plastic and metal require low cutting speed.

Interested in buying a jigsaw? Here are our top picks under 100 dollars. 

Bottom Line

Now you know, what is a jigsaw tool? To make your device work efficiently, you need to maintain it. Lubricate your jigsaw often. Avoid overheating, and keep it free from dust. Keep the blade clamp and blades grease-free. Try to keep them away from moisture. If you are using a cordless jigsaw, take care of the battery recharge. Otherwise, the battery will die out the moment you need it the most.


  1. What type of tool is a jigsaw?

    Jigsaw is a cutting tool and can be named as a modern form of hand saws. This tool is composed of reciprocating blades that can cut straight as well as curve.

  2. What is the base of a jigsaw called?

    The wide metal base of the jigsaw is flat in shape and is called the shoe of the jigsaw. This shoe surrounds the reciprocating blade of the jigsaw and protects it from the collisions of the pieces of the material during cutting.

  3. How do you know what jigsaw blade you have?

    Jigsaw blades are of two types T shank blades and U shank blades. Mostly modern jigsaws have T-shank blades. The type of jigsaw blades can be determined by observing the shape of blades and also by counting the number of teeth per inch on the blade.