A jigsaw is a great and versatile tool that can be used for many workshop projects. It was one of the first tools I bought for the workshop with which I have done many projects.
If you are building a workshop and considering getting a tool for it, I would recommend getting a jigsaw as one of the first tools, after a drill. You can easily make straight cuts or curves and depending on the blade, you can cut through different materials.
Some time back I built a guide for a jigsaw that is particularly suitable for crosscuts and short straight cuts. Nevertheless, I found that the guide does not serve well for long straight cuts, so I decided to build a DIY jigsaw guide rail (jigsaw guide track) that will help me do so.
If you are building a workshop on a budget or you just want to make an enhancement to your jigsaw you should consider making this jigsaw guide jig. This is definitely one of the best and easiest jigsaw guides you can build. You’ll save money and it will definitely help you with your projects and builds.
A simple DIY jigsaw guide rail that you can easily build for your workshop no matter your skill level. Learn how to build this easy portable jigsaw guide track that is perfect for a small shop!
You can also use this guide for jigsaw in combination with the jigsaw cutting station. The guide rail could be used as is or you can fix it to a cutting station that will allow you to make crosscuts and angle cuts. Check it out!
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*Safety is your responsibility. Make sure you know what you’re doing and take all necessary safety precautions while working with power tools. Safety comes first!
Always be cautious and careful when using any power tool.
What you'll need to build the Jigsaw Guide Rail
Birch Plywood – (60 x 14 x 1,2 cm)
4x Planed Spruce Wood Stripes
– 2 for rails – 60 x 2,8 x 1,3 cm
– 2 for stoppers – 8,4 x 2,8 x 1,3 cm
Wood Glue, Wood Screws
How hard is it to build a jigsaw guide track?
Not hard at all!
This is an easy woodworking project for beginning woodworkers. It is a simple woodworking jig that needs a few cuts and screws. It can be easily completed in a day. No special tools are required.
Do you need a lot of tools to build it?
Fortunately, you don’t!
You can make this guide rail using just a jig saw and a hand drill. I believe you would already have these two tools in the workshop.
Can I cut a straight line with a jigsaw?
Yes, you can. Though it can be very tricky to make a straight clean cut with a jigsaw. The main intent of a Jigsaw is to cut angles, curves, and other difficult cuts, that’s what this tool is best at. To make a straight cut you can use a guide for a jigsaw.
Also, check these tips on how to cut straight with a jigsaw.
How do you make a smooth clean cut with a jigsaw?
Follow these 2 tips to cut clean with a jigsaw:
- Use the right blade depending on the material and the type of cut you want to make.
– A reverse tooth blade will prevent from developing burrs on the bottom side of the cut.
– A dual-cut blade will almost prevent burrs on both sides of the cut since it has teeth in both directions. You’ll get much better results with any of these blades.
- Use masking tape (painter’s tape) while cutting. The tape will help to hold down the fibers while you make the cut which leads to a better result.
The jigsaw guide rail is made out of plywood and spruce wood and you can cut around 50 cm in length depending on the type and size of your Jigsaw.
How to make a Homemade Jigsaw Guide Track
Step 1: Build the Jigsaw Guide Base
I started by measuring the jigsaw base plate cover. Using the cover will let the jigsaw slide easier in the track with less effort when pushing (tracks for this jigsaw guide are made out of planed spruce wood).
The width of the shoe cover for my jigsaw is 8,4 cm – take the width of your jigsaw into account when building the jigsaw guide rail.
Cut a rectangle for the jigsaw base. The base is 60 x 14 x 1,2 cm and is made out of birch plywood.
I cut the base width just a little bit more, not only to take into account 2 rails and the shoe cover but also a little bit of space between the shoe and the tracks that will allow for the jigsaw to slide easier.
The extra bit of wood can be cut off on a circular saw or a router table at the end if necessary.
NOTE: I used a thicker sheet of plywood for the base (1,2 cm). A thinner would work as well, 9mm perhaps, but I like how sturdy and solid is the jig. Also, the jigsaw blade holds better in the slot, with less chance of bending and the cut being skewed.
It can be problematic to make a straight 90-degree angle cut with a jigsaw. These tips will help you not to end up with a skewed cut:
- The thicker the piece you cut the higher the chance the cut will be skewed
- Progress slowly while cutting, apply pressure on the jigsaw evenly, and try to keep the jigsaw in a straight position
- One of the most important things – use a jigsaw blade designed for long, straight, and precise cuts. There are plenty of jigsaw blades on the market and each servers a different purpose
Cut the guiding rails and the front/back stoppers. Crosscutting is easy with this jigsaw guide.
I decided to use planned spruce wood rails (60 x 2,8 x 1,3 cm). The jigsaw slides nicely in those and the extra width of the rails makes it easy to clamp the jigsaw track down to a workbench while cutting.
Step 2: Attach the Tracks
1. Attaching the first guide rail
First, glue one of the jigsaw guide tracks to the base. Secure the guide with hold-down clamps and wait until the glue dries off.
Additionally, if you will, fix the rail with a few screws. This step might be unnecessary but woodworkers tend to over-secure things. 😉
I am one of them so I inserted several screws along the track.
2. Attaching the second guide rail
To secure the second track, put the jigsaw on the base, place the second track along the other side of the jigsaw, and adjust until you get a nice slide of the jigsaw.
Fix the track temporarily with clamps and secure it with screws. (I did not use glue for the second track). Take your time to position the track.
Tape one side of the jigsaw shoe with adhesive tape (e.g electrical tape) when fixing the second rail. A tiny space will be created that will allow for the jigsaw to nicely fit the guide rail and slide easier.
3. Attaching the stoppers
Measure and cut the stoppers so they fit nicely between the guide tracks.
Fix the stoppers with glue and screws.
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Step 3: Drill in Sight Holes
After attaching the rails drill in holes across the jigsaw guide. Not only it will be easier to place the jigsaw on the track, but the holes will improve visibility and it will be easier to follow a line while cutting
Mark the place of the first and the last hole on the guide, and then mark several places along the guide and cut the holes in.
To cut the holes in I am using a 15 / 20 mm Forstner drill bit.
Place the jigsaw on the track and slowly cut a slot.
Sand both the edges and the surface of the jigsaw guide a bit to get rid of splinters and allow for the jigsaw to slide easier.
Using the Jigsaw Guide Rail
Using the jigsaw guide track is quite simple.
- Draw a line on the piece of wood you want to cut.
- Place the jigsaw guide track over the line and adjust it accordingly using the sight holes.
- Secure the jigsaw guide
- Make sure there are no obstacles in the cut path
You should always consider clamping down the jigsaw guide and the workpiece to a bench.
NOTE: Keep in mind which side of the line you want to make the cut.
The guide is very easy to use. Simple, portable, and easy to set up. One of the best guides for a jigsaw you can make by yourself. You can make it quickly and it doesn’t cost much.
I was honestly surprised at how nice long and straight cuts I was able to make with this jig. Also, the cuts are clean and not skewed as sometimes happens while cutting with a jigsaw.
Nevertheless, for a clean perpendicular cut, you should also consider using some of the tips mentioned above. It is mainly the combination of the jigsaw guide rail and the appropriate blade that will get you the best result.
This jig is a nice addon for your jigsaw. I’ve been using it for multiple projects, it is simple to make, easy to setup and it will get the job done.
DIY Jigsaw Guide Rail Video Tutorial
Check out the video below for a step-by-step guide on how to make this simple jigsaw guide rail for straight precise cuts.
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I hope the information shared in this blog post inspired you and now you will be making an enhancement for your jigsaw. 😉 If you have any questions on the jig I might have missed in the post let me know in the comment section below.