A good jigsaw blade for the type of tool you commonly work with will give you a nice, even and straight cut. It’s needed to increase the lifespan of the tool that you’re using. So, which jigsaw blade should you buy? The following guide and review will try to give you the answer.
What Materials Are You Going to Be Cutting Through?
The first question to ask yourself, is what materials you are likely to use the jigsaw blade on? Depending on the construction and the specifics of the blade, it could be used to cut through one or more types of materials.
There are jigsaw blades out there created for use on wood (hardwood, laminate, and softwood varieties), ferrous and non-ferrous metals, mild steel, plastics, tiles, fiberglass, plexiglass, masonry, leather, and thick fabrics.
The blade itself should be provided with information about the types of materials that it can be used on. There could also be blades advertised as capable of cutting through a range of materials such as non-porous substances.
Blades are designed differently to address these specific needs. Thus, looking at the blade should give you some additional information about its intended purpose and whether it’s the right product for your needs.
Jigsaw blades come in many varieties, designed for high speed, fast cuts, and long life. However, the most important distinction to make is the shank type. It will be determining for the manner in which the blade gets attached to the machine and whether it’s compatible with the equipment you own.
There are two common varieties out there: t-shank and u-shank blades.
A t-shank blade is a more popular pick. It works with all jigsaws that come with a quick blade change option. An external tool is not required for the removal of the old one and the attachment of the new blade, which simplifies the process.
U-shank blades have to be fastened manually and usually; a tool will be required to complete the task. There’s a locking screw that keeps the blade in place, which ensures stability.
Size and Shape Considerations
The blade size will depend on the specifics of the jigsaw itself and on the type of material that’s going to be cut. The machine’s manual should provide more information about blade sizes that are compatible.
A general rule of thumb is that the length of the blade should be at least one inch longer than the thickness of the material you’re going to be cutting through. Keep in mind that the bottom of the blade is not supported by a machine, which is why it could potentially bend. Thus, longer blades tend to be thicker to reduce the risk of distortion.
Thinner blades will give you clean and fine cuts. At the same time, there’s some risk of warping, especially when the blade has to handle a tougher material. This is why choosing the right blade for the particular job is so important.
Materials Used to Make the Blades
A jigsaw blade could be made from an array of materials. These will once again have an impact on the toughness of the blade. A few of the most popular possibilities out there include:
- High-Speed Steel Blades: A high-speed stainless steel jigsaw blade is very hard and highly resistant. Because of these characteristics, such a blade is capable of cutting through a wide array of materials. The problem with HSS blades is that they have limited flexibility and they can be damaged by the heat generated during the cutting process.
- High Carbon Steel Blades: Anyone looking for flexibility and cost-efficiency will be drawn to high carbon steel blades. These do get damaged quicker than HSS options and they’re not as tough. Still, high carbon steel is an excellent pick for woodworking.
- Bi-Metal Blades: This type of blade combines the best of both worlds. A bi-metal blade brings together the flexibility of high carbon steel blades and the resilience of the HSS jigsaw blades. Carbon steel bodies come together with high-speed teeth that are bonded to the body. Such versatile blades can be used to complete a wide array of cutting projects.
- Tungsten Carbide: The final option is a tungsten carbide blade. Of all the options on the market, this is the most expensive one. It’s predominantly suitable for specialized applications. The blade is made of tungsten and carbon that are bonded to a steel shaft. It delivers incredibly smooth cuts and will bit produce chips or cracks in even the toughest of materials.
Types of Teeth
The considerations for the selection of the best jigsaw blade include a few additional essentials. Now that you’re done with the type of blade and the material it’s made of, it’s time to focus your attention on the teeth.
Teeth can be milled or ground with the milled being blunter and lasting longer. Milled teeth are best for use on rough surfaces but they can’t produce the smoothest of cuts. Ground teeth tend to be sharper, they produce smooth cuts but they also wear out faster.
Other than the type, you can also look at the design of the teeth.
Wavy teeth get their name from the wave-like arrangement. They produce very straight and smooth cuts for maximum precision. Teeth that are taper set tend to be straight. While the cut will be slow, it’s also going to be incredibly precise.
Reverse teeth are similar to the tapered variety but the arrangement is in the opposite direction. If you’re working with a material that can crack or chip easily, a reverse toothed jigsaw blade will be the right one for you.
Finally, side aligned teeth allow for very fast cutting. The downside is that the cut will not be precise and polished but rather rough.
There isn’t a single rule for the selection of the best jigsaw blade out there. It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Each of the varieties and specifics mentioned in this guide is ideal for a specific use. Acquaint yourself with the possibilities and make a good choice on the basis of what you’re trying to accomplish.