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.
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
foot nice and flat but the cut will not follow my straight line made with a
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.
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.
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
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?
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
This wont help your problem much, but give a few idea's for correcting
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
Hope this helps a bit.
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