Guide written by:
Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield
Choosing the right jigsaw blades is essential for anything to cutting a work top, hardwood floors or relatively soft metals such as aluminum or plastic. Shape, denture, length, steel HSS or bimetal: from wooden blades to metal blades, here are our tips for a nice smooth cut!
Jigsaw blade: what type of fitting?
According to its brand and its type, your jigsaw has a quick fixing system dedicated to 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) dedicated 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 disassemble it to see exactly of what it is composed.
What are the characteristics of jigsaw blades?
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 heavy, medium or fine, angled or straight. On the majority of blades, the teeth are sharpened in a triangle facing upwards.
The blades can be made of different materials and in particular by:
- Hard steel HSS (High Speed special), used in elements such as drill bits;
- Bimetal, HSS HCS alloy (High Carbon Steel);
- Chrome vanadium is often used in wrenches;
- Tungsten - toothless blade, one face covered with tungsten carbide powder.
What blade for which material?
The most common blades have upward facingteeth, meaning that the blade cuts upwards. The sawdust chips are ejected from the top and can therefore be recovered by means of a vacuum cleaner fixed to the rear sleeve of the jigsaw, designed specifically for this purpose. This also means that the cut will be thicker towards the top of the surface. If possible, you can trace the cut on the wrong side (less precision) or place an adhesive on which the cut is made. Alternatively, there are also downwardly toothed blades and double-toothed blades. Their use requires a little training.
Wood and Laminated Blade
The most common and most flexible are toothed, square or straight, milled or ground, in various lengths of up to 150 mm. The larger the tooth pitch (number of teeth per cm or inch), the greater the flow rate. Fitting (two-sided teeth offset) is an important factor for the yield but produces a large amount of sawdust. The wide blades are reserved for rectilinear cuts - in particular in joinery, for cutting a work plan etc. If the work consists of cutting curves and circles, then a special blade is available. You'll recognize it right away thanks to its narrow form and forward facing teeth.
Plastic and PVC blade
Medium-toothed blade, PVC blades are set or straight and of different lengths - the length of cut should be provided and is normally relative to the length of the blade.
Blades steel and non-ferrous metals
If you have fine-toothed blades in your array, they 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 in terms of how to go about it. Cutting steel thickness 1 to 8 mm is do-able. When using the finest toothing, a low speed is preferred, without forgetting to use a cutting oil dedicated to this metal, or else the blade can be heated and carbonized. Stainless steel can also be sawed with the right lubricant.
Blades for ceramic and glass
In these instances, we use blades without teeth. The front face covered with tungsten carbide layer which can pierce, without any trouble, 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 cutting oil is availabl, although it is better to do a test run first.
It's always better to learn from our mistakes: preliminary tests to determine the right choice of blade and the right adjustments (inclination and speed) are a guarantee of success. While the tools and accessories are performing well for now, they will soon fail to perform their role if they are misused.
Prefer a reduced speed for the cutting of ferrous metals so as not to damage the blade and use cutting oil. Do not over-size the blade's length or you leave yourself open to unnecessary risks.
Remember to only ever change the jigsaw blade when it is off, for if any mishandling or malfunction occurs, you can be severely injured.
For the amateur hobbyist to the experienced professional or anyone that is simply curious, follow the links below for related accessories, advice from our editors and more helpful guides:
- How to choose your jigsaw?
- How to choose your drill?
- How to choose your drill bits?
- How to choose your wrench and sockets?
- How to choose your carpentry and joinery tools?
- How to choose your metal cutting machine?
- How to choose your grinder?
- How to choose your kitchen work top?
- How to choose your hardwood floor?
- How to choose your lubricant, grease or oil?
- How to choose your vacuum cleaner?
- How to choose your chip vacuum cleaner?
- How to choose your interior floor tiles?
- How to choose your wall tiles?
- How to choose your tools for working with tiles?
- How to drill tiles?
And to work safely:
Guide written by:
Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield, 68 guides
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.