While you can find specific jigsaw blades that are named universal or U-shanks, this doesn’t mean that all of them are universal. The name simply describes the kind of shank that this particular jigsaw blade has. The shank is the part of the blade that the tool grips. Since different tools accept different shanks, you’ll need to find out which blade is compatible with your tool.
Different types of jigsaw blades are used to cut through different materials. The blade you choose will affect the type of material you can cut, the cutting speed of the machine, and the finish it produces. For the sake of understanding blade compatibility, we’ll be looking at two ways blades are classified—by shank and composition.
Shank of the Blade
When it comes to categorizing jigsaw blades, one of the main ways is by the shank. The shank is the part of the blade that’s locked into the clamp of the jigsaw. Blades will have either a T-shank (tang shank) or U-shank (universal shank).
T-shank blades are now the most widely-used kind of jigsaw blade on the market. These blades feature a tang that fits into the blade clamp of your power tool. They’re compatible with most modern jigsaws you’ll find on the shelves today.
U-shank blades feature a cut shaped like a “U” at the top. While these were the most common type of blade used in jigsaws for years, the development of the tool-less blade change system — which accepts T-shank blades — has caused them to lose popularity. Because of this, you’ll find that these blades are accepted less and less.
There are also a few other features that differentiate which jigsaw blade you’ll need to use. The most important is the material the blade is made out of.
The type of material will affect two things: what it can cut through and how durable it is. Most jigsaw blades are made from one of four different metals: high carbon steel, bi-metal, tungsten carbide, and high-speed steel.
You need to decide what kind of material you’ll be working with before choosing the right blade. High carbon steel blades are generally used in woodworking. To cut through hardwood, metal, or plastic, you can use a high-speed steel blade. Bi-metal blades are perfect for heavy-duty wood and metal cutting applications as well as laminate flooring. Tungsten carbide blades are used for cutting tiles and steel.
By choosing the right blade for your jigsaw, you’ll find that this power tool is one of the most versatile cutting saws in your workshop. It’s capable of handling a wide variety of materials. You just need to determine what kind of shank your saw accepts and the best style of blade for the material you’ll be working with.