When I think of all the possible ways I have in my workshop to cut wood, the jigsaw is the most flexible and versatile power tool of all.
Where other cutting tools are tied to making straight cuts, the jigsaw offers more possibilities.
It can make straight and curved cuts in materials such as wood, plastic, metal, and even ceramic tiles.
Whatever material you want to cut, the device always remains the same. You just need to find the right jigsaw blade for the job.
It seems like a difficult task, but it is simple.
Choosing the perfect jigsaw blade you need can be done in 3 easy steps:
Find out what type of shank you need, choose the right blade material, and determine the correct TPI.
Okay, maybe it’s all a bit sketchy at this moment, but trust me, getting the right jigsaw blade is easier than you think.
Below I will explain what you should pay attention to in order to determine the best blade for your purpose in 3 simple steps.
In this blog, you can download a handy template for free as a guide that you can consult again and again when you need to tailor the jigsaw blade to your work.
Where there were previously uncertainties when determining a jigsaw blade, this will be a piece of cake after reading this blog.
There are 3 important factors to consider before purchasing a jigsaw blade:
- the shank of the blade,
- the blade material,
- and the number of teeth on the blade or the TPI.
Once you understand all these factors, you will be able to buy the perfect blade you need again and again.
Step 1 | Shank
A first and also important factor in determining the right jigsaw blade is the type of shank they have.
A jigsaw holds its blade by means of a clamping system. The place on the blade where the lock with the jigsaw is made is called the shank.
Depending on the brand and type of your jigsaw, there are two types of shanks, the U-shanks or T-shanks (also known as SDS).
To be 100% sure, always check your jigsaw manual before purchasing the saw blades.
What is the difference between T shank and U shank jigsaw blades?
Actually, the difference is very easy to perceive visually and very recognizable.
T-shank blades have a “T” shaped lip on the top. This lip fits perfectly into the blade clamp of your power tool.
These knives are currently the most widely used blade on the market.
U-shank blades have a “U” notch at the top.
These jigsaw blades are used less and less and are replaced by blades with a T-shank.
There is also a third, albeit the less used type of shaft for some Makita jigsaw blades.
The jigsaw blades have two round holes at the top of the blade, as you can see in the picture below.
Step 2 | Blade material
The next thing to consider is what material the jigsaw blade is made of.
The composition of your blade determines which materials can be cut with it and how durable it will be.
Before you can make the right choice from which material the saw blade is made, you will first have to determine which material you want to cut.
Jigsaw blades can be made from different types of material:
The most flexible and cheapest jigsaw blades are made from carbon steel. These blades are mostly used for general wood cutting applications.
As high speed steels are more heat-resistant, they are perfect for metal, plastic and wood. The downside is that they are slightly more expensive.
By combining two types of steel, one obtains Bi-metal jigsaw blades. These are very durable and are best suited for heavier applications in wood and metal.
Finally, there are the carbide jigsaw blades. These knives are perfect for cutting through tiles, ceramic or steel.
Step 3 | TPI of the jigsaw blade
The third and final factor to consider when choosing a jigsaw blade is the TPI.
What does TPI mean in jigsaw blades?
The number of teeth per inch (TPI) on a jigsaw blade will determine the quality and speed of the cut.
If you choose blades with fewer teeth, or low TPI, you will make faster and rougher cuts.
If you choose blades with more teeth, or high TPI, you can make slow but smooth cuts.
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What is the best jigsaw blade
As you can see in these three steps that I have gone through, there is no clear answer to this question.
Which jigsaw blade is best for your project depends on these factors.
To determine the jigsaw blade for your project, I’ve summarized these 3 steps in a handy template, which you can download for free below.
To make it even easier for you, I have already made a small selection of high-quality jigsaw blades.
I’ve already grouped them by the different uses such as general wood, hardwood, plastic, metal, and ceramic tile.
There is an incredible number of types and brands of jigsaw blades.
If the one you need is not on this list, you can use the given examples as a starting point and continue searching and selecting which blade you need.
Carbon steel blade for general wood
High speed steel blade for metal, plastic, and wood
Bi metal blade for metal and wood
Carbide steel blade for ceramic tiles
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