How to Choose Right Jigsaw Blade for Your Next project?
A jigsaw is a very popular and valuable power tool which is used for a wide range of cutting applications. When used as recommended, it is free from harm, user-friendly and most importantly, offers enhanced accuracy without requiring you to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on an expensive cutting machine. However, a jigsaw is only as good as its blade. And not just blade, the right blade!
Many different types of jigsaw blades are available in the market for a variety of cutting applications. If you are looking to buy a new jigsaw blade, this post will surely provide you with some valuable information on how to buy one for your next project.
When it comes to buying a new jigsaw blade for your next project, there are a number of questions that need to be answered to make sure that the blade you choose is perfect for the job.
What you should care when buying a Jigsaw Blade:
- What are the types of jigsaw blades available in the market?
- What are the different types of materials that different types of blades can cut?
- What are the different materials used for making jigsaw blades?
- What are the different blade sizes?
- What is the importance of blade teeth?
This post will answer all of this and a lot more in detail to make it easier for you to buy a perfect jigsaw blade.
So, let us begin!
Table of Contents
1. What are Types of Jigsaw Blades?
Jigsaw blades are divided on the basis of their shanks and these shanks are only compatible with particular types of jigsaws. Checking the manual of your jigsaw will easily help you understand the shank type you should select for your jigsaw.
There are also models which are compatible with multiple shank types, however, most of the standard ones only accept one.
Jigsaw shank types are generally divided into 2 main categories: T-Shanks, U-Shanks. Let us know each of these types in detail.
- T-Shanks: very popular and very commonly used. Many of the U-shank jigsaws are also compatible with T-shank blades. Blade changing systems have advanced substantially and T-shanks are created to facilitate this quick change of blades. A T-shank blade doesn’t need a lot more than a simple push of a button to replace the blade.
- U-Shank: Also known as Universal shanks, they are now not as popular as T-shanks due to their slower blade changing speed. The majority of the U-shank jigsaws require the user to fasten the blade in place with the help of a retaining screw or an Allen key which slows down the process.
2. Choose Blade by Cutting Material Types
Apart from the shank types, blades are also differentiated on the basis of the application they are used for. Some of the most common types of blades on the basis of application include:
- Metal: For cutting strong materials, like pipes, angle iron, and sheet pipes, one needs a jigsaw blade made from hardened alloy which features tightly-grouped and precision-ground teeth similar to the ones found in older hacksaws. One can go for a carbon steel blade for quickly cutting through ferrous as well as non-ferrous materials, like copper, steel, brass and aluminum.
- Wood: Blades that feature sharp, large teeth that are widely spaced are exclusively created for cutting through construction lumber. Ones that have closely spaced, smaller teeth are used for cutting finer wood with a smooth finish. If scroll work needs to be done, narrow blades with sharp, plunging-type tooth can be used.
- Plastic: If your application requires you to cut different types of plastics, acrylic, PVC, Plexiglass, and polycarbonate, a multipurpose jigsaw blade can be the best fit for you. These blades prevent burring, melting and chipping of the work material.
- Soft Materials: There are blades exclusively designed for cutting soft materials, like rubber, leather, foam, carpet, etc. These blades ensure smooth and damage-free cutting.
- Drywall and Plaster: Special drywall/plaster blade is what you’ll need to cut these hard materials with finesse. These blades prevent breaking, crumbing and cracking of work materials.
3. Materials for Making Jigsaw Blade
Many different types of metals and compounds are used for manufacturing blades. The general rule of thumb is harder blades can cut harder materials. However, there are also blades which can be used for hard and soft materials. Thus, it is very important to go through the jigsaw manual to know the type of blade perfect for the model and application.
Some of the most common blade materials:
- High Carbon Steel: HCS or High Carbon Steel blades are made from iron with 0.55% to 0.95% of carbon and 0.30% to 0.90% of manganese. They are highly flexible blades which can neatly cut softer materials. A major drawback of these blades is their weakness. But as they are cheapest of the blades, they are very commonly found in workshops.
- High Speed Steel: HSS or High Speed Steel blades do not accelerate the cutting speed. These blades are not as flexible as HCS blades but are harder. While this blade can cut harder materials, the heat generated during the cutting process often wears them.
- Bi-Metal: These blades are made from HCS and HSS. Their body is made from HCS to offer better flexibility and their teeth are made from HSS for cutting harder materials. The combination of both the materials makes them excellent for harder and heavy cutting. Moreover, they can last about 10 times more than HCS and HSS blades.
- Tungsten Carbide: This material is made by a carbon and tungsten compound. This compound is bonded to a steel shaft and generally features grit, like sandpaper and no edges found in other types of blades to enable smooth cuts. These are most expensive of all the blades and can cut hardest of the work materials.
4. Different Blade Size
When it comes to choosing the size of the blade, the types of materials which need to be cut and how the material will be cut can help make the decision. It is recommended that the blade size should at least be one inch longer than material thickness. It is also important to note that the thickness and width of the blade affect its maneuverability and flexibility. Longer blades are generally thicker to prevent bending of the blade and less wide, thinner blades are weaker but excellent for clean cuts, intricate patterns, and sharp curves.
5. What is the Importance of Blade Teeth?
It is the blade teeth that are responsible for the cutting action of a blade. Blade teeth define how rough or fine a blade makes the cut.
TPI of Blade: TPI (Teeth Per Inch) is the unit used to measure the total number of teeth in a square inch. Generally, harder materials need higher TPI and softer materials need lower TPI. Apart from the cut, TPI also determines cutting speed.
Types of Blade Teeth: Blade teeth are generally ground or milled. Ground teeth have sharper edges but wear quickly. Milled teeth are not as sharp and last for a longer duration.
Teeth Layouts: Apart from the type of blade teeth, the teeth are designed in different layouts as well. Some common layouts:
- Taper: Straight alignment of teeth. Ideal for very fine, slow cutting.
- Wavy: Alignment of teeth in the shape of a wave. Ideal for fine, straight cuts.
- Reverse: These are like tapered teeth but in opposite direction. Ideal for materials that are prone to chipping.
- Side: Offset design makes them ideal for rough, faster cuts.
Now that you know a lot more about jigsaw blades, start searching for one online to ensure that it perfectly suits your cutting application.
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