If you only have a jigsaw in your workshop and you want to make straight cuts or crosscuts, this jigsaw guide will help you do so.
This jig serves both as a jigsaw guide as well as a jigsaw crosscut jig. The build is solid, you’ll only need a jigsaw to build it and it will come in handy for a lot of workshop projects. But the best part, it really doesn’t cost much to build it and you’ll have a nice addon to your workshop.
If you are building a workshop on a budget you should consider making this jig, definitely helped me with my projects. I’ve used this jig for countless projects over time and I am really happy with how it works.
The main purpose of a jigsaw is to cut curves and angles and other intricate cuts. That’s where the tool really shines. You can also make straight cuts with a jigsaw but that might be a bit tricky and quite difficult to end up with a straight and clean cut.
However, that can be achieved with a guide for jigsaw. You can get a straight edge from the shop or build one yourself.
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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!
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What you'll need to build the Jigsaw Guide
Birch Plywood – (30 x 40 x 1,2 cm)
2x Aluminium L Angle – (40 x 1,1 x 1,4 cm; 30 x 1,1 x 1,4 cm) – thickness 1,5 mm
M4 Bolts (Countersunk) – 1,5 cm, M4 Nuts Washers
Double-Sided (Carpet) Tape
Handle or a Piece of scrap wood (20 x 2,8 x 1,8 cm)
How to make a Jigsaw Guide and Crosscut Jig
Step 1: Build the Jigsaw Base
I started out by cutting a piece of birch plywood (40 x 30 x 1,2 cm). Use the jigsaw for the job.
Try to make a perfect rectangle, it will be easier later on when fixing the aluminum guide to the base. Apart from that make sure one of the 40cm sides is a straight cut.
You might ask now how to make a straight cut with a jigsaw since I don’t have the guide yet? Good point, well, I used a straight piece of wood for that. Or you can build a jigsaw guide rail for straight cuts. Both would work just fine.
TIP: To avoid tear-out with a jigsaw:
- Use the right blade. You can use a reverse tooth blade or a dual-cut blade. You’ll get much better results with both of these blades.
- Use painter’s tape. The tape will help to hold down the fibers while you make the cut.
I used a straight piece of wood that served as a guide to cut out the plywood base.
It can be problematic to make a 90-degree angle cut with a jigsaw. These tips will help you not to end up with a skewed cut when using a jigsaw:
- The thicker the piece the higher the chance the cut will be skewed
- Progress slowly while cutting and try to keep the jigsaw in a straight position
- If using a guide do not press too much against the guide with the jigsaw. That might lead to a skewed cut.
- The most important thing- use a jigsaw blade designed for long, straight, and precise cuts.
Step 2: Attach the Jigsaw Cutting Guide
First, you need to cut two aluminum L angles. One serves as a guiding rail for the jigsaw the other one serves as a stopper for right-angle cuts/crosscuts.
- The guiding rail is the same length as the longer side of the board.
- The crosscut L angle is a little bit shorter than the width of the board. The reason is that we will cut off the wood excess after fixing the guiding rail.
You should end up with 2 aluminum angles as shown in the picture below.
One angle goes on the top of the jig the other one on the bottom.
1. Fix the Guiding Rail
Measure the width of the jigsaw and the center of the jigsaw blade. The center of my blade is a little more than 4 cm. (Jigsaw shoe included)
Tape a double-sided tape on the angle and tape it to the base at a distance slightly greater than 4 cm.
Drill several holes for M4 bolts in the guide rail. Flip the board over and enlarge the holes to countersink the bolts.
Tighten the bolts and cut off the wood excess. That should give a nice straight edge.
2. Fix the Crosscut Fence
Turn the board and draw the line where the crosscut fence will be placed. If your board is a perfect rectangle you can use a ruler marking gauge to mark the line. Otherwise, you’ll need to make adjustments until you get a perfect 90-degree angle between the guiding rail and the crosscut fence (a long rectangular ruler will help).
Follow the same previous steps mentioned above and fix the crosscut fence to the board.
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Step 3: Shape the Jigsaw Guide and Get Rid of Wood Excess
Mark the position of the handle first, then draw the design of the jigsaw guide.
Don’t attach the handle yet tough, do so after cutting the shape (it would be difficult to cut the inner parts of the guide). For the handle, I am using a piece of spruce wood.
Draw the design of the guide and get rid of wood excess.
The guide will be lighter and it will be easier to work with.
Don’t forget to cut out the center. That will allow for holding the cut piece while making crosscuts.
Tip: For short 90 degree cuts with a Jigsaw you can use a speed square.
Once the shape is cut attach the handle with glue and wood screws.
You can optionally sand off the surfaces and edges of the handle.
Using a Jigsaw Guide and Crosscut Jig
There are a few ways how to use a jigsaw guide.
- Make straight long cuts along a line using the guiding rail – draw a line on a piece of wood you want to cut. Attach the jigsaw guide along the line and cut. You can use the handle to press down the guide or attach the guide to a table with clamps and cut using both hands.
- Make crosscuts with the crosscut fence – since the aluminum crosscut guide is attached at 90 degrees to the cutting edge your cuts will end up right-angled. You can make both long and short cuts. For short cuts, you can use the space in the center of the guide to hold down the piece.
I was quite happy with the results, especially with the crosscuts. The guide is very easy to use, portable, and very convenient for cutting smaller pieces.
Just keep in mind – if you want to have 90-degree crosscuts make sure the L angles are perpendicular to each other. It is definitely worth spending a bit of extra time on this part since that determines how accurate the guide will be.
If you only have a jigsaw in your shop this homemade jigsaw guide will definitely help you with your projects. It helped with mine.
I hope this article was helpful and now you are ready to build one yourself! It is a versatile jig, easy to use, and very much helpful when starting with woodworking. Also, check these DIY circular saw guides every workshop should have.
How to Make a Jigsaw Guide and Crosscut Jig Video
If you want to see how it is done check out the video below for How to Make a Jigsaw Guide and Crosscut Jig.