Jigsaw Techniques for Plywood

By Robert Preston
A jigsaw is capable of making angled cuts.

Plywood sheets provide a cheap material capable of being used in a variety of woodworking projects. The various cuts that are required for shaping plywood are best served to differing styles of blades. One common plywood cutting tool is the jigsaw, which is capable of quickly and accurately cutting bending shapes.

Identifying the Correct Saw

While the versatility of the jigsaw makes it capable of creating nearly any cut in a piece of plywood, it is not always the ideal saw for the job. Lines that require long, straight cuts through a piece of plywood are better suited for a circular saw or table saw. Similarly, cuts which must be made at an angle are easier to make with saws with blades which can be tilted.

Holding the Saw

When cutting with the jigsaw, the metal shoes which run on either side of the blade, perpendicular to the cutting edge, should be kept flat on the material being cut to ensure that the saw does not slip and is as easy to control as possible. One-handed jigsaws are held solely by a handle while two-handed varieties feature a hand grip near the front of the saw which a second hand can hold for extra stability when working with a clamped piece of wood.

Cutting

The jigsaw is capable of freehand cutting; however, drawing a pencil outline on the wood that marks the desired final shape of the product is usually best. When cutting with the saw, a craftsman errs on the side of not cutting off enough wood. While seamlessly filling in an accidental notch is difficult, excess wood left on the piece can be removed through sanding.

Cutting a Hole

Most cuts made with a jigsaw begin from one edge of the plywood; however, using a jigsaw for cutting a hole in the middle of a piece of wood is possible. Using a drill bit larger than the blade of the saw, a hole is drilled inside the section of hole that will be cut out. The blade can then be passed down through the hole, and the saw can be used to cut out the hole from the inside.