Seeing how simple it seems to be making a jigsaw table and its sled for accurate and square cuts, I thought I had to write this article with some thoughts on making and adjusting the table jigsaw and how to use it. And on the crosscut sled.
The first thing to consider I would say is the power of our jigsaw tool. The one I used is a 600W Black and Decker jigsaw tool. There are very inexpensive jigsaws of this type, but they do not usually have a power of more than 350W, and I think they would be too low in power as to be suitable to make a table jigsaw.
They would probably work well enough with a blade like the one I showed in the first video in witch I attached the jigsaw under the plywood board, but the long blade I use along with the guide with bearings cuts a thicker kerf (it is made with thicker sheet metal and side set teeth), removing more material and thus needing a jigsaw with more power to cut without overheating the jigsaw electric motor.
See how to attach a jigsaw tool under a tabletop for use as a table jigsaw.
Also, it may seem obvious, but sometimes we forget to check something as basic as making sure that the cutting blade and the jigsaw shoe are perfectly at 90º. Some saws, like the one I used, have a notch that makes it easy to always put the metallic base back in the correct position, but on others you may have to carefully feel the position with the help of a square. Although it does not hurt to always check the position of the metallic base, because if we are a little rough (I’m not saying that I am :p ) we may have bent the metal of the base with use (or if it hits the ground 🙁 ) and we’ll need to correct it.
When attaching the jigsaw tool under the plywood board I didn’t stop long enough to check that I was placing the saw perfectly parallel to the sides of the board, so the cutting direction of the blade ended a bit skewed. I’m not sure if this has much influence when using the crosscut sled, but I think that since the cutting blade is slightly tilted with respect to the cut direction marked by the sled, the back of the blade can be pushing on one side of the cut we make in the wood while we cut it, and if we don’t hold the wood well the blade thrust will gradually move the wood to that side and thus deflect the cut. So to correct the position of the jigsaw, I decided to cut with a chisel one of the mdf sheets in between which the metallic base fits. And after filing the mdf sheet I was able to leave the jigsaw blade as parallel as possible to the sides of the plywood board.
Before adjusting the position of the jigsaw shoe, when making 90-degree cross cuts in wood strips, there was a very small deviation in those cuts.
But now they come out perfect at 90 degrees. The clean and precise cuts are perfect for 90º joints with dowels or to make the famous pocket holes. (2015: The cuts using the cross cut sled come out crooked again after a while. In the end I have to say that it is better to make the cuts at 90 degrees by hand, since when cutting by hand with this table jigsaw they come out quite well)..
And talking about clean cuts in wood, we must take into account the cutting speed that the jigsaw tells us we can keep (yes, listen to your jigsaw tool). If we want a very clean cut we only have to advance the cut slowly without rushing the saw (I never got burns on the wood by cutting slowly, which can sometimes happen with the circular saw and with the plunge router). But if the jigsaw has enough power for the wood we want to cut we can make much faster cuts, although the quality of the cut we make in the wood is much worse.
Don’t miss the video to see, in addition to all these things that I just discussed that we should keep in mind, a couple more details about the table jigsaw sled for cross cutting at 90 degrees and about turning on and off the jigsaw tool.