Jigsaw blades buying guide

Jigsaw blades buying guide

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

Guide written by:

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

74 guides

Choosing the right jigsaw blades is essential for cutting anything from a worktop to wood flooring and soft metals such as aluminum or plastic. From the fitting to the number of teeth, the length, High Speed Steel (HSS) or bimetallic, to wooden and metal blades, here are our tips for a nice smooth cut!

Important features

  • Fitting
  • Material
  • Number of teeth
  • Length
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Depending on the brand and type, your jigsaw will have a quick fixing system for receiving compatible blades. On modern electric machines, attaching these blades is often done without tools.

There are two main types of jigsaw blades: U-shanks or T-shanks (also known as SDS).

For some jigsaws, especially the Makita and Maktec (manufactured by Makita), specific fittings are required, known as Makita fittings. Other manufacturers are considering the same feature.

Be sure to check your jigsaw's manual before purchasing the blades. You can also take it apart to see what it is needed.

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Jigsaw

Number of teeth

The cutting edge, which is its major characteristic, is always expressed in number of teeth to cm or to the inch (one inch = 2.54 cm). The teeth can be solid, medium or fine, set or straight. On the majority of blades, the teeth are sharpened in a triangle facing upwards.

Material 

The blades can be made of different materials:

  • Bimetallic, HSS and HCS (High Carbon Steel) alloy;
  • Chrome vanadium;
  • Tungsten - toothless blade, one side covered with tungsten carbide.
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Blades

The most common blades have upward facing teeth, meaning that the blade cuts upwards. The sawdust chips are ejected from the top and can therefore be recovered by a dust extractor fixed to the back of the jigsaw. This also means that the cut will be thicker towards the top of the surface. If possible, you can trace the cut on the underside (less precision) or place adhesive on where the cut is made. Alternatively, there are down cut tooth blades and double tooth blades. Their use requires a little training.

Wood and laminate blade

The most common and most flexible are wide-toothed, set or straight, milled or ground blades, with lengths of up to 150 mm. The larger the tooth pitch (number of teeth per cm or inch), the greater the output. The setting (two-sided tooth offset) is an important factor for the yield but produces a large amount of sawdust. The wide blades are used for straight cuts - particularly for carpentry and cutting worktops etc. If the work consists of cutting curves and circles, then a scroll saw blade is necessary. You'll recognize it right away with its thin shape and forward facing teeth.

Plastic and PVC blade

With a medium-toothed blade, PVC blades are set or straight and of different lengths - the length of cut is set and in relation to the length of the blade.

Steel and non-ferrous metal blades

If you have fine-toothed blades in your collection, these should be reserved for the hardest metals. While aluminum, copper and brass will not be a problem, cutting steel is worth a bit of attention as it is possible to cut steel to a thickness of 1 to 8 mm. Use a low speed when using fine-toothed blades, as well as a lubricant, as the blade can be heated and burned. Stainless steel can also be sawed with the right lubricant.

Blades for ceramic and glass

In these instances, we use toothless blades. The tungsten carbide-coated front makes it easy to cut into tiles and ceramic. It is advisable to place a little water right next to the cut. For glass, the operation is more delicate but if you're left with no other option, special glass lubricant is available, although it is better to do a test run first.

Tips for use

You always learn from your mistakes: prior tests to determine the right choice of blade, the right settings (inclination and speed) are a guarantee of success. Today's tools and accessories are efficient, but if they are used incorrectly, they will not do their job.

When cutting ferrous metals, use a lower speed to avoid damaging the blade and use cutting oil. Also, do not over-size the blade, as this can lead to risks when cutting.

Remember to change the jigsaw blade when not in use; improper handling or malfunction will result in injury.

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Cutting oil

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Guide written by:

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield, 74 guides

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

I was trained as a pipe worker and a pipe-welder and after having traveled for 35 years working around the UK, I became the head a metal shop and then a designer and in the end the head engineer. I have designed and built a workshop where I make metal sculptures: I managed to find a piece of paradise where I can to let my imagination run wild. Auctions and garage sales are no secret to me. I find unusual objects and old tools there that I collect or transform into works of art. I also like decoration, painting on canvas, and gardening. I am developing new technologies concerning tools. To share my passion and humbly advise you in your choice of materials is a real pleasure.

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