While there is a specific type of blade called a universal blade or U-shank, this doesn’t mean that all jigsaw blades are universal. This name is simply there to describe the kind of shank that this particular jigsaw blade has. The shank is the portion of the blade that is gripped by the tool. And since different tools accept different shanks, you need to find out what blade is compatible with your tool.
There are a few different types of jigsaw blades which are used to allow the power tool to cut through different materials. The blade that you choose will affect what material you can efficiently cut, the cutting speed of the machine, and the finish that it produces. For the sake of understanding blade compatibility, we will be looking at two particular ways that blades are classified—by shank and composition.
Shank of the Blade
The main way that jigsaw blades are categorized is by the type of shank that they have. The shank is the piece of the blade that is 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 have a tang on the top of it that fits into the tool-free blade clamp of your power tool. These blades are compatible with most of the modern jigsaws you will find on the shelves today.
A U-shank blade has a cut shaped like a “U” at the top of it. While these were the most common type of blade used in jigsaws for years, the advent 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 are used to differentiate which jigsaw blade you will need to use. The most important feature aside from the shank type is the material that the blade is made out of.
The material a jigsaw blade is made from will affect two things: what material it can cut through and how durable it will be. Most jigsaw blades that you’ll come across will be made from any one of four different metals. These metals are high carbon steel, bi-metal, tungsten carbide, and high speed steel.
You need to decide what kind of material you’ll be using your tool on before deciding which blade is right for you. High carbon steel blades are generally used in woodworking applications. 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. And 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 and applications. You simply need to determine what kind of shank your saw accepts and what style of blade is ideal for the material you’ll be working on.