Common Jigsaw issues: Fixes and Blade types

The jigsaw is commonly seen as the more safe type of saw in comparison to the circular, table, and miter saw. It is also very inexpensive and can cut through various materials and cut many shapes. However, the jigsaw has some common problems. In this article I will discuss issues with cutting straight and curved lines and fixing unaligned jigsaws.


  1. Why does my jigsaw blade wander?
  2. How do you fix a jigsaw alignment?
  3. How do you cut perfectly straight with a jigsaw?
  4. How do you cut a perfect curve with a jigsaw?
  5. Why would you use a jigsaw?
  6. What is the difference in jigsaw blades?

Why does my jigsaw blade wander?

There are many reasons why your jigsaw may wander through the cut. It may be due to the blade, your method of cutting, or the limitations of the jigsaw in general. Following are the top 7 reasons why your jigsaw may be wandering.

  1. Bent blade
  2. Wrong blade
  3. Dull blade
  4. Unaligned saw
  5. Applying too much pressure
  6. Human error
  7. Using a fence

These are the top 7 reasons why your jigsaw blade may be wandering. Below, I will go over each reason, why it happens, and how to prevent it

  1. Bent blade
    • A bent blade will inevitably lead to your jigsaw naturally wandering.
    • Blades wear out over time and they normally bend if you are using the wrong blade for the task or are trying to force the blade through the wood.
    • Later in the article I discuss how to fix your blade alignment to create straight cuts.
  2. Wrong blade
    • Using the wrong blade can lead to blade bending thus resulting a wandering saw
    • When cutting straight cuts, you will use a thicker blade with longer teeth to limit the amount of give that the blade has.
    • A thinner blade is ideal for cutting curves and can lead to eventual blade wandering in straight cuts
  3. Dull blade
    • A dull blade will not make a clean cut. It will result in imperfections in the cut which could be a factor into why your saw will not cut a straight cut.
  4. Unaligned saw
  5. Applying too much pressure
    • The saw is supposed to do most of the work for you. When you try to force the blade through the wood you will likely cause the saw to wander.
    • Additionally, forcing the blade through the wood can bend the blade, thus causing the cut to not be straight
  6. Human error
    • Most jigsaw cuts are done free hand. Cutting perfectly straight lines free hand is extremely difficult.
    • To get a better cut, it is best to use the right and a sharp blade and take your time through the cut. Rushing will likely cause more imperfections.
  7. Using a fence
    • Some people try to use a straight fence as a guide to cut with a jigsaw.
    • This will only work if the blade is perfectly straight and the saw is correctly aligned.
    • Many people result in their saw blade wandering because they try to use a straight fence with a bend blade

How do you fix a jigsaw alignment?

If you suspect that your blade is not correctly aligned with your jigsaw, you can check it by using a square. You can use a combination square, precision square, or engineering square.

  1. Set square on base plate
    • You will set the square on the base plate and see if the blade is flush with the square
    • If so, your blade is square
    • If not, your blade is either not squared or it is bent
  2. Turn the screw to loosen the plate
  3. Manually adjust the plate
    • Manually adjust the plate until the blade is flushed with the square and tighten the screw
  4. Adjust the jigsaw dial

How do you cut perfectly straight with a jigsaw?

I key to cutting straight with a jigsaw is to use an adequate blade and correct adjustments. You can easily free hand a straight cut if you ensure these things. However, cutting a perfectly straight blade is a different story.

To cut perfectly straight with a jigsaw, you will need to use a fence. However, you will need to ensure that the blade is straight itself, aligned properly, and is the correct type of blade for the job.

Part 1: Create the fence

Part 2: Align the saw

Part 3: Set up for the cut

Part 1: Creating the fence

1. Cut 4×8 inch piece of plywood

To create the fence for your jigsaw, you will want at least half inch thick wood and its ideal to create the piece long enough to finish the cut with one cut.

If you are working with a longer piece of wood then a 4×16 or 4×24 inch of plywood, for example, may be better.

2. Cut one side perfectly straight

Next you will cut one side of the plywood perfectly straight so that the jigsaw will have a straight guide to go off of.

Part 2: Aligning the saw

Once you have your fence created, you will want to ensure you saw is calibrated correctly before using the fence.

1. Use correct blade type

You will use the correct blade type with the fence to create straight cuts. You will want to use a thicker blade that wont give as much which larger teeth to chop through the wood easily

2. Ensure the blade is straight

A bent blade will inevitably lead to a blade that wanders away from the line.

To ensure blade straightness, you can take the blade out the saw and lay it flat on the table on both sides. Every point of the blade should touch the table. You can check of small gaps by trying to slide a paper in between the blade and the table.

To create 90 degree angle cuts, you will need to fix the jigsaw alignment. Earlier in this article I explained how to check for correct alignment and how to fix a saw that is unaligned.

Part 3: Setting up for the cut

Once you have created your fence and double checked your jigsaw setting the your blade, you are now ready for your first straight edged cut.

  1. Mark the line where you want to cut
  2. Measure the offset distance
  3. Clamp the guide 4 inches before the wood piece
  4. Proceed with the cut

1. Mark the line where you want to cut

Before making any cut, you will want to mark where you want to make the cut

2. Measure the offset distance

Now you will measure the distance between the blade and the edge of the jigsaw fence to see how far away from the line you should put the guide.

3. Clamp the guide 4 inches before the wood piece

You will want to clamp the guide 4 inches before the wood piece so that you can give the jigsaw some runway room to ensure that you start the cut straight before touching the wood.

4. Proceed with the cut

Proceed with the cut and make sure that you apply even pressure along the jigsaw guide to make sure that your blade does not wander

How do you cut a perfect curve with a jigsaw?

Cutting a perfect curve with a jigsaw is much more difficult than cutting a perfectly straight line. With cutting a perfectly straight line you could try to cut free-hand, but you also have the option to use a jigsaw fence.

However, you do not have the luxury of using a jigsaw fence when cutting curves. You will have to free-hand your cut.

Cutting perfect curves free-hand with a jigsaw take enormous skill and a steady hand. However, it can be done with the following advice.

1. Correct saw blade

You will need the correct sawblade for the job. When cutting curves it is better to have a jigsaw blade that is thinner and more likely to give to your curves.

A very thick blade will be harder to maneuver.

Next you will want to ensure that the blade is not bent, because bent blades will always make your job harder.

2. Have a steady hand and take your time

In this step, patience is a virtue. You cannot rush free hand curves. Keep the saw perfectly flat on the wood, take your time and pay attention to the line.

Also, do not force the blade through the wood. This will increase your chances of the blade wandering and not creating that perfect curve.

Why would you use a jigsaw?

You may have realized that the jigsaw blade has many drawbacks. It is hard to get perfectly accurate cuts and the blade itself may lead to many issues if not used correctly. However, there are many pros to using a jigsaw in comparison to the other saw types.

Reasons to use a jigsaw

  1. Its the safest saw
  2. Cheapest saw blades
  3. Material versatility
  4. Cut versatility

1. Safest saw

The jig saw is the safest saw in comparison to the circular, miter, and table saw. The way that the blade is configured, you are less likely to injure yourself accidentally.

If you would like to learn more about the safety of the jigsaw and the other saw types, then you should check out my article “Safest saw for Beginner DIYers“.

Even though this saw is very safe, it still isn’t the best overall saw in my opinion due to some of its limitations and drawbacks.

2. Cheapest saw blade

The jig saw is a great saw to do a quick project or to get someone started in woodworking. Jigsaw blades are very cheap in comparison to the blades of other saws. However, they do not last as long, so this benefit is mitigated for the serious woodworker.

3. Material Versatility

With the jigsaw, you can buy blades to cut through many different types of material. You can cut through wood, metal, plastic, and more. This versatility will allow for the use of the jigsaw in many different projects

4. Cut versatility

A jigsaw is a great saw to cut free hand curves. You can cut curves that you would not be able to cut with a miter, table, or circular saw.

This is one of the biggest benefits of using a jigsaw.


I rarely use my jigsaw because I have other power saws like a table and miter saw. However, this jigsaw is very capable and completes most tasks.

Now, this saw is not the most powerful, and if you are going to use a jigsaw more often, then I would recommend getting one with a little more amps.

Purchase my Jigsaw: BLACK+DECKER Jig Saw, 4.5-Amp Amazon link

Purchase a better Jigsaw: BLACK+DECKER Jig Saw, 6.0-Amp Amazon link

What is the difference in jigsaw blades?

Now that you know how to make straight and curved cuts, fix an unaligned jigsaw, and the benefits of the jigsaw. You may have decided to get a jigsaw after all.

Before starting on any project, you will want to ensure that you use the right blade for the project.

The cut material

First you need to choose the right blade for the type of material that you want to cut. Many blades are designed to be used with multiple types of material.

For example, you can get a blade that can cut wood, plastic, and metal.

The length

Next you will need to choose the right length of blade. You will need a blade that is long enough to effectively complete the cut, but also not too long so that the blade does not bend over time.

Many packs of blades come in different sizes so that you can choose the one that matches the range of thicknesses that you will be cutting.

The teeth

It is essential to choose a blade with the right teeth for your project. The teeth can vary in number, size, and shape.

Teeth type

The teeth can be milled or ground. Milled teeth produce a rough cut in comparison to ground teeth, but the cut is quicker.

Milled Teeth: Rough cuts and quicker

Ground Teeth: Smoother cuts but slower

Teeth direction

The teeth can also be reversed so that the blade is cutting downwards. This provides benefits in which side of the wood will have the “rough edge”.

Normal teeth direction cuts upwards. As a result, the rough edge will be at the top of the wood. Reversed teeth will cut downwards and have a rough edge that is on the bottom of the wood.

You can easily flip the wood to have a rough edge on the opposite side, but maybe in certain scenarios, that may not be possible.

Teeth number

The more TPI, or teeth per inch, that you have, the finer and slower cut you will produce. A lower TPI will result in a rougher and quicker cut.

Higher TPI = Slower & Finer cuts

Lower TPI = Quicker & Rougher cuts

Certain materials will need a certain range of TPI to cut that particular material. Normally would not have to worry about this, as long as you buy a blade that will cut through the material that you want to cut.

The blade thickness

The jigsaw blade thickness should be considered in woodworking because you will want a thicker blade for straight cuts so that the blade wont give as much and cause the saw to wander.

A thinner blade should be used for curved cuts so that you will be able to maneuver the saw easier.


In this article, we learned about the common issues found when operating a jigsaw and we discussed how to fix and address those issues. We also learned about the benefits and drawbacks with jigsaws, along with how to pick the right jigsaw blade.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and I wish you luck on your woodworking journeys!


My name is Rachel Blanding and I am a woodworker. I started woodworking at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I mainly create and refurbish furniture and create art. In this site I will share with you the knowledge I have gained over the years, and what worked for me and what didn't.

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