Can I use a jigsaw to cut tree branches?

by Sam Wood | Last Updated: 04/11/2020

Yes, you can, but not without caveats. There are lots of reasons you may want to use a jigsaw to cut tree branches. They are a tool lots of you will have to hand and chop through wood easily, so surely they will do the same things to tree branches? Well yes and no, lets jump in.

Why not use a Jigsaw

Safety is the main reason why I would recommend you not to use a jigsaw to cut tree branches. This is not the job they are intended for and there are a few reasons why they are not suitable for this job.

Blade

Normal wood cutting blades on a jigsaw are intended to cut dry wood, not wet greenwood. This means you will be cutting with an imperfect blade, which can clog up and get stuck. As far as I have seen so far I haven’t seen a jigsaw blade dedicated to cutting greenwood.

Safety

A jigsaw likes to bounce and tree branches can be springy themselves. This could lead to a safety disaster with both the jigsaw and branch bouncing around. If you do decide to go down this route then be very careful.

Access

It can be hard to get a jigsaw into small confined spaces and this can be an issue when it comes to cutting tree branches. Due to the large base plate on a jigsaw, they are hard to sneak into small gaps and product flush cuts.

Jigsaw to big to get flush cut

Jigsaw to big to get flush cut

Here you can see above how the jigsaw can struggle to get a close cut when objects are in the way. Here it is a wall but it could just as easily be a tree branch.

Below you can see how much closer a tool such as a folding saw can get. The folding saw here can get at a lot of the tree stump that the Jigsaw just doesn’t have a chance of getting near to.

Folding saw can get in nice and close

Folding saw can get in nice and close

Why use a jigsaw

So with all these negatives around using a jigsaw why would someone consider them as a branch cutting tool?

You have one

This is probably the main reason someone would consider using this tool to cut branches. You already have one in your arsenal. A jigsaw is a common tool and many people will have one already wheres they won’t have a reciprocating saw or a chainsaw. When it comes to a powered saw to cut tree branches many people won’t have anything other than a jigsaw.

Speed

A jigsaw will get the job done quickly. When used correctly they saw through wood like butter and will do the same to branches, dependent on size. So if you want the job done quickly you may well turn to the jigsaw.

Easy

A jigsaw is easy to use the tool and will be an easy way of chopping branches. When compared to using a manual saw many people will choose the jigsaw because of the perceived ease of use.

How to use a jigsaw to cut tree branches

Please note that we do not recommend using a jigsaw for this job. It is just a little bit too dangerous and there are lots of other cheap, affordable tools that will get the job done just as easily. A reciprocating saw or a folding saw are both great options here.

However, if you are going to use a jigsaw then please follow the steps below to minimise the danger to yourself:

  • Go slow, don’t go racing away with the jigsaw, try and take it nice and slow. Remember safe is slow and slow is safe!
  • Try and stabilise the branch. Try to stabilise the branch if at all possible to stop it vibrating. This will reduce the chances of the saw bouncing out and causing harm.
  • Don’t go for big branches. It’s advisable not to go after massive branches with a jigsaw. To start with it will be hard with a jigsaw as they only have a small blade. There are also much better tools that will do it quicker, such as a bow saw.
  • Use the best blade possible. While you may not be able to find a specialist greenwood cutting blade for your jigsaw there are still some blades which will be better than others. You want a wood blade with large teeth and large gullets, lower tpi is also advisable.

 

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Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!