Jigsaw & straight cutting in melamine


I am trying to cut some toekicks out of 5/8" melamine with a jigsaw. I tried the cutting guide that came with it and I keep the guide tight and saw foot nice and flat but the cut will not follow my straight line made with a speed square. I also tried clamping the speed square to the work and using it as a guide for the saw without the guide, keeping the saw's foot tight to the square and still the blade wanders off course. It is a brand new craftman top of the line and new bosch blades meant for "fine cutting in wood, plywood and plastics". Thanks for any tips.
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I would guess that since the melamine is particle board, the blade is steering around the chunks making it wander. Jigsaw blades can wander sometimes anyway even in good materials. My advice is to switch to a circular saw, it will cut straight and you at least have some chance of minimizing chipout.
brian
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"mark" wrote in message

Beg or borrow a good jigsaw, like a Bosch 1587 or equivalent, and see if it makes a difference.
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Slow down on the feed-rate.
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Either buy a handsaw or a Bosch jig saw. Both will do the job but the Bosch is a wee bit easier. A toe kick is a pretty short cut, so a decent handsaw will work just fine.
mark wrote:

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foot nice and flat but the cut will not follow my straight line made with a speed square. I've had the same problem with my Bosch 1590. It makes a wonderfully fast, smooth, and square cut, but I can't cut a straight line by holding it against a straightedge or using the guide. I have better luck following the line freehand, but that leaves very tiny little waves as I adjust to keep it straight. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, or I wonder if jigsaws have drift the same way bandsaws do. On the other hand, I've used a couple types of straightedge cutting guides with my almost-antique Skil circular saw with Freud blade, and those have worked very well for cutting a straight line. Sorry I don't have advice for how to fix your jigsaw problem - but you're not alone. Andy
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"Andy" wrote in message

Blade/setup/technique. Using the proper, sharp blade for the task/material, taking care that your Bosch is properly adjusted, and letting it do the work should improve your results.
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Progressor blades. They make all the difference in how a Bosch jigsaw handles "problem" materials.
Jeff
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I looked at the bosch but could not see any advantage over the craftsman. The craftsman is convertable to barrel grip, has a LED work light, laser, blower and vacuum, tooless blade change, cast foot and about $100.00 less than the bosch. Don't get me wrong, I gave a bosch recip. saw and 1617 router and like them both. http://www6.sears.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId 001&catalogId001&categoryId1481&langId=-1&rrc=1&productId8484915

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Ignore the toolsnobs that tell you your Craftsman is crap. Craftsman still puts out good quality tools in their top line stuff. I have used jigsaws that would follow a guide well and others that don't. Brand wasn't the issue. Yours may well be one that doesn't. I've seen Bosches that wouldn't either. Surprisingly, I have a $40.00 Black and Decker that does this very well. Freehand the cut and clean up with a file or use a handsaw as someone suggested.

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You can't see the advantage just by looking. You have to actually *use* it to tell the difference -- which is that the Bosch cuts straight, and the Craftsman (as you have discovered) does not.

Yep -- and there's a reason for that cost difference (see above).
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You might see the difference if you compared the cut Bosch to the Craftsman cut.
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"Leon" wrote in message

LOL ... no kidding. Quality tool, properly used, quality results.
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If you have a router, cut the piece 1/16 - 1/8 proud of the line and use the router + guide + straight bit to make the final cut.
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wrote:

There's nothing there that would affect the quality of the cut, (the laser doesn't do any cutting); except perhaps the Bosch is $100 more, and maybe the "cast foot".
Do you get any different results when you turn off the orbital action? Have you tried slowing down the feed rate? How many TPI is the blade? How much mechanical support is there for the blade you are using? With the thing unplugged, if you grab the blade, is there any slop if you wiggle it around?
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The only answer I can think of that made the bosch better is that the blade must be perfectly parallel to the edge of the foot.

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I have had the same trouble with Porter Cable and Dewalt saws. Try to keep the back of the saw up against the fence and follow your line with the front. Trying to push the front of the saw up against the guide puts to much side pressure on the blade and it won't follow as well. The blade gets twisted.
Tim

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mark wrote:

This wont help your problem much, but give a few idea's for correcting it slightly. Cutting straight lines with a jigsaw is not easy, (as you have found out) especialy using a fence. Not saying that the quality of the machine is not important, but the main factors are: 1)    The blade would have to be EXACTLY parrelell with the fence guide. 2)    The blade would have to be precision ground so that the set of teeth are the same on each side. 3)    The shaft on the saw can not have any slop.
As others have mentioned, sometimes you can jag, all of the above and cut a straight line but very rarely. I have Jigsaw with a laser guide,(Bloody waste of time) I only used the guide once, for about 12"'s and cutting straight with it was a miserable experience. Following a pencil line was easier and more accurate.
Considering that you may not have a circular saw, the way I would attack this job is to: 1)    Cut the piece with the Jigsaw, free hand following a line. 2)    Ensure that any wobbles are on the waste side of the line. 3)    Either plane or use a belt sander to remove the inconstancies down to the line. Hope this helps a bit. regards John
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