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I recently needed to cut a hole in a 3/4 inch pine wood board. The hole was supposed to be about 6 inches in diameter. I drilled a hole near the edge and used my corded Makita jigsaw. I had used the jigsaw before, but only to cut straight. I used a 10 teeth per inch blade that cuts on the up stroke. When I did this and tried to curve, the jigsaw wobbled a lot. It felt like the saw wasn't wanting to do what I wanted it to and I think I must be doing something wrong. I have watched a bunch of videos and it looks so easy to make curved cuts.

I was hoping that someone would be able to give my concrete tips on how to cut curves with a jigsaw. In articular I would like to know how to do this in 3/4 inch thick pinewood (hardwood?). I have looked this up, but I only find very general guides. Do I go fast or slow? What blade is best for curves? What speed setting should the jig saw be set at? etc.

I am a complete noob, so please don't assume that I know much already.

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    Good answers below, but one other note: push down hard to maintain good contact between the sole plate of the saw and the work. Less pressure means you rattle around and the blade can't cut as it should. (Note that this is not the same as forcing the saw into the cut.) – Aloysius Defenestrate Aug 14 '18 at 13:10
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I own hole saws for this very reason; completely perfect circular holes every time.

BUT, if you need to use a jigsaw, the best thing is to use a narrower blade they make for jigsaws (example). The "normal" blades bind a bit when curving a cut.

As far as technique,

  1. draw my circle in pencil with either a compass or a can.
  2. drill a hole near an edge, but not on the edge (maybe 1/2" in)
  3. do not muscle the jigsaw, let the teeth of the blade do their job; this will deliver a smoother cut.
  4. saw towards the perimeter at a slanted angle
  5. When you get near the perimeter, maneuver the blade to follow the curvature of the design. If you can't follow, stop sawing, back it up, and try a new approach on your angle.
  6. If you need a perfect circle that is smooth, you will need to sand the hole (especially where you made first contact with the perimeter as there is almost always a small bit of wood there that the saw can't easily get).
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Cutting curves is more difficult because the toothless back of the blade presses against the edge of the cut, forcing the toothed edge to cut sideways. The wider the blade in relation to its thickness, the greater the issue. Of course, a narrow blade is weaker.

To make it easier, there are commercial circle-cutting attachments available for sabre saws and jig saws, or you can make your own attachment.

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It just takes practice. When cutting, make sure you are constantly rotating the jigsaw as you move forward, if you stop rotating, you'll find yourself outside the line.

IMO, I hate using the jigsaw, terribly inaccurate tool. I use it only when other saws wont work, or a small cut that doesn't really matter.

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