A jigsaw blade cutting through some wood.

Master your DIY projects with this beginner's guide to jigsaw blades

Published 23rd January 2023
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Jigsaws are an essential component of many DIY projects and choosing the jigsaw blade can make the difference between a smooth, precise cut and a rough, uneven one. But with different fittings, teeth sizes, and other features, how do you go about picking the right blade for your job?

Well, we've put together this buying guide covering the different types, the materials they're best suited for, and how to choose the right blade for your specific project so you get the perfect cut every time.

Types of jigsaw blades

First and foremost, it's important to understand the different types - get the wrong one and you won't be cutting anything. While some power tool manufacturers use their own specific fittings, the most common types are T-shank and U-shank blades.

As the name suggests, T-shank blades have a T-shaped slot that fits into the jigsaw's blade holder, while U-shank blades have a U-shaped slot. T-shank blades are generally considered to be more secure and less likely to slip, making them a popular choice among professionals. U-shank blades, on the other hand, are considered to be more versatile, as they can be used with a wider range of jigsaw models.

Jigsaw blades for different materials

If you want to make sure you're spending your money wisely, it's worth making sure you've got the right blade for the material you're cutting.

  • High-carbon steel (HCS): These are cheaper, more flexible blades better suited to general wood cutting. As they're relatively affordable, they can be bought in bulk as they're more likely to dull quickly.
  • High-speed steel (HSS): If you're cutting hardwoods or other tougher materials like metal and reinforced plastic, these blades are more durable than HCS, although that also makes them less flexible.
  • Bi-metal blades: They combine the flexibility of an HCS body and the durability of HSS teeth, so you get the best of both worlds in a blade for cutting hardwoods and metals.
  • Tungsten carbide blades: These are more of a speciality blade that is more heat resistant and durable. They're generally used for cutting through ceramics, steel and fibreglass.
  • Reverse-tooth blades: Jigsaw blades usually work by cutting on the up stroke, but that's reversed on these blades as the teeth point in the opposite direction. That makes them better for materials that are likely to splinter, such as laminates.
  • Scrolling blades: These are much narrower than other jigsaw blades, which allows you to cut tighter curves without the blade binding. Use these if you need precise and detailed cuts.

What jigsaw blade TPI do I need?

As a general rule, the higher the teeth per inch (TPI), the smoother your cut will be, while a lower TPI will cut faster. If you're cutting softwoods, a blade with a lower number of teeth like a 6-20 TPI will do the job. If you're cutting hardwood or metal, a blade with a higher number of teeth, such as a 14-36 TPI blade, will be better suited for the task.

How to make jigsaw blades last

When it comes to getting the most out of your blades, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind. One is to always use the right blade for the job, as using the wrong blade can cause the jigsaw to bind and lead to uneven cuts.

Another is to regularly clean and lubricate the blades, as this will help to prolong their lifespan and ensure that they continue to cut smoothly.

Key points to remember

When buying jigsaw blades, it's important to consider the different types, the materials you'll be cutting, and TPI of the blade. By keeping these factors in mind, you'll be able to choose a blade that's best suited for your needs and help you achieve the precise, smooth cuts you're after. Additionally, by keeping your blades clean and lubricated, you can ensure that they last longer and continue to perform well.

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