Q&A: Best power tool for cutting a shape on a 2″x10″x16′ board?

Question by Madmartigan: Best power tool for cutting a shape on a 2″x10″x16′ board?
I’m building a pergola in my backyard and I want to add some decorative cuts to the ends of the top joists. I am going buy a tool to do so today and was going to compare prices at several stores, but I don’t know what the tool I should be buying is.

I was considering buying a jigsaw but feel that the blades might be too thick to make the curves I want to make.

I was also considering a router, but I don’t know if that’s the right tool for cutting 1½” deep.

Anybody who has done this before or who has experience
Anybody who has done this before or who has experience…with this I would really appreciate your help*

Best answer:

Answer by psychopiet
Get a jigsaw and buy some smaller blades. There are blades especially made for figurative work. They are cheap. A router is more difficult to use, and almost useless for 1,5 inch.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!


  1. Depends on how much you want to spend. If you plan on doing a lot of woodworking, invest in a band saw. A router is for decorative edging and such, would recommend a band saw, and you might find once you have it that it is just the begining of what you can do.

  2. Jigsaw will work, unless you’re doing very intricate curves. You can buy extra-thin blades that will cut sharper curves than the usual blade, and you can cut in from different angles for inside corners. Buy a pretty decent one if you’re working with wood that thick, it will cut much easier than a cheap one.

  3. With that size of wood you are well into band saw territory. You could investigate hiring one rather than buying one outright.

  4. jig saw for shore that the most practical price and Performance and you’ll have it for anther project.

  5. I’d have to say a Jigsaw is the best choice here.

    A band saw is definitely more powerful an can handle the 2 inch depth easier, but good luck swinging a 16 foot board around a stationary saw to cut some decorative curves.

    I’d get a good jigsaw too since you are cutting some thick wood, definitely not the cheapest one they sell.

    I’d also buy a variety of blades, some thicker, stouter blades for the less intricate parts of the design because they will cut faster and hold up to the heavy duty wood. And then some thinner blades for the more intricate parts.

    Also I would buy several of each size you plan on using, they can dull quickly if you are using a very hard wood, and they also snap from time to time. The last thing you want to do is be running back to the store several times when your blades give out on you.

    Cut slowly and take your time let the cutting motion do the work, not the pushing forward motion, this will help with preventing blade snapping as well as keep the blade sharp longer.

    I like jigsaws that allow you to “unlock” the blade assembly and direct it independently of the rest of the saw. This can make doing fancy cuts much easier since you don’t have to spin the entire saw around. You’ll understand what I’m talking about when you see them in the store.

    Oh and make a template out of poster board or thin sheet plastic. for your design so each copy is consistent.

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