A jigsaw is one of the most versatile power tools you can have in your workshop. These phenomenal cutting tools can make straight lines, curved cuts, and plunge cuts in different types of materials. Cut metal, wood, plastic, tile, laminate flooring, and more! You can use an orbital action jigsaw and a pendulum action jigsaw, depending on your project. You can use a jigsaw on almost anything – that’s what makes it so great. All you need is the right cutting blade.
You need to consider a few things when deciding which type of jigsaw blade to use. These include the shank of the blade, the material, and the number of teeth it has. You’ll also need to think about the material you plan to cut. When you take all of this into consideration, you’ll be able to use your jigsaw in a wide variety of ways.
Read Also: How to Change a Jigsaw Blade
Type of Shank
A new blade will make all the difference to your projects. There are two types of jigsaw blade shanks that these saws accept. They’re known as the universal shank (U-shank) and the tang shank (T-shank). You can identify the shank type by the shape of the blades. A T-shank blade will be shaped like a T, whereas a U-shank blade will have a U shape on the end.
T-shanks are the most widely used form of blade shank today – all newer jigsaws use them. They’re made for jigsaws that offer tool-free blade-changing systems because they snap right into place. Since most jigsaws now offer this feature, you’ll most likely need T shank blades.
U-shanks used to be the most commonly used blade style for older jigsaws. They’re named after the “U” cut-out at the top of the blade’s shank. With the new tool-free blade locking system, U-shank blades have gone out of style, and many jigsaws won’t accept them.
The second thing to consider is the material of the saw blade. This will determine its durability and its ability to cut through certain materials. For the best results, make a note of which materials you plan to cut – will you be cutting hard materials like sheet metal or soft materials such as wood? The best jigsaw blade for you will depend on the type of material you’re cutting. Buy blades with this in mind, as it will help you cut faster and with greater accuracy.
All blades are made from metal, but the most common jigsaw blade materials are high carbon steel, high-speed steel, bi-metal, or tungsten carbide. High carbon steel blades (also known as HCS blades) are the most flexible and cheapest jigsaw blades. They’re mostly used for cutting wood and are great for general purpose use.
These blades are good for making curved lines in soft woods but will experience more blade wear and tear, thanks to how inexpensive they are. You’ll need to take extra care to ensure they remain sharp and produce clean cuts.
High-speed steel blades (or HSS blades) are more durable and heat-resistant, making them perfect for cutting metal, plastic, and wood materials. Take greater care when you cut curves with these blade types. Cutting curves may cause them to snap.
Bi-metal jigsaw blades are more expensive, but their versatility makes them a worthwhile investment. These types are made from two types of steel and are best suited for heavy-duty cutting applications in wood and metal. These types of metal cutting blades are very durable. As they’re a combination of the blade blades mentioned above, they’re great for cutting tight curves.
Finally, tungsten carbide blades offer the best heat resistance and durability of any jigsaw blade. They feature a layer of tungsten carbide grit on the cutting edge. These blades are perfect for cutting through tile, ceramics, or steel. Carbon tipped blades are also good for cutting laminate flooring and soft plastics.
If you’re looking to cut straight lines, you’re better off going for a thicker blade. Jigsaw blades can often create angled cuts in thicker materials, but opting for a blade with a bit more thickness can help create a better cut quality in different materials. A blade that is too fine may lead to heat buildup, which will reduce the blade’s lifespan.
Teeth Per Inch (TPI)
Another thing to consider when choosing a jigsaw blade is the number of teeth per inch (or TPI.) The number of teeth will affect the quality and speed of the cut. Blades with fewer teeth will make a faster, rougher cut, while blades with more teeth will make a slower, smoother cut.
Watch out for the tooth shape, too, as they influence how a blade cuts. Ask yourself whether you’re looking for a clean cut or a rougher, faster cut. If you’re looking for a super-smooth, straight cut, opt for a reverse tooth blade. These types of metal and wood cutting blades will ensure you get those smooth lines. Ground teeth will make very fine, sharp cuts, whereas milled teeth will result in a faster but rougher cut, making them good for metal cutting. The right jigsaw blade and tooth type will depend on what type of cut you’re after.
By choosing the right blade for your jigsaw, you can use it in a wide variety of ways. Whether you’re looking to build a new set of kitchen worktops, some new shelves, a bird feeder for the garden, or something else entirely, make straight cuts and tight curves with little effort. With the right blade, you can produce clean, fast cuts in almost any material, turning any device into your arsenal’s most versatile power tool.