5 Classifications of Jigsaw Blade: Know Before You Choose
Of course, a jigsaw blade is used in a jigsaw and since the tool is versatile enough to cut different materials, it requires a different blade for each use.
Additionally, the blade determines the quality of the finish, and therefore, they are available in different types and different classifications.
In total, there are 5 classifications and these can be broken down into the following:
Classification of Jigsaw Blades
1. Shank Type
A blade’s shank is the part that is inserted and locked into a jigsaw’s clamp. This is very important to consider for compatibility purposes and there are two types.
T-shank blades are the most common types because they are compatible with most modern jigsaws. They are characterized by a tang at the tip and two extrusions on the sides that give it a small T shape and hence the name.
This design is compatible with the tool-less blade changing systems that are built into newer jigsaws, and they simply snap into place as you push them inside the blade clamp. Therefore, they make the whole blade changing process very easy.
On the other hand, U-shank blades have their tips cut in a U shape, which gives them their name. They were originally used before the T-shank type came along but are no longer very popular because they are not compatible with tool-less blade changing systems.
That said, you need to check your saw’s compatibility as it might be having the old blade changing system that is only compatible with U-shank blades.
2. By Material
Jigsaw blades can also be classified by the material used to make them. They include:
High Carbon Steel (HCS)
High carbon steel blades are the most commonly used type for woodworking because they are very affordable. High carbon steel is strong but very flexible. Therefore, such blades are only ideal for cutting thin wood because, with thick wood, they might bend and cut inaccurately.
However, most are usually depth rated and in most cases, the longer they are, the deeper they can cut.
High-Speed Steel (HSS)
High-speed steel blades are made up of a more complex metal alloy that contains carbon, molybdenum, and tungsten, which gives them better cutting performance.
This performance includes being less flexible and more heat-resistant as compared to high carbon steel blades. As such, you can run them at higher speeds and cut tougher material. That said, these can be used to cut wood, plastic, and metal.
Bi means two and this blade is made of two types of steel: carbon steel and high-speed steel. This gives them the benefit of both materials, which include super strength, flexibility, heat, and wear resistance.
As a result, they are ideal for cutting hard surfaces such as metal sheets and hardwood.
Though expensive, tungsten blades provide the best cutting performance. However, they are not entirely made using tungsten. They don’t even have teeth. Instead, they have tough tungsten carbide cutting edges that are extremely heat-resistant.
This makes them ideal for cutting extremely tough materials such as metal and ceramic tiles.
3. By Teeth Per Inch
The number of teeth per inch has a direct impact on the quality of the cut’s finish. Few teeth are considered to be in the range of about 6-20 while many are above 20 per inch.
With that in mind, blades with few teeth per inch cut faster but produce rough cuts. They are not ideal for cutting hard materials such as metal and ceramic because they may rip the surface unevenly and ruin the cut. Their best use is in wood cutting.
However, blades with many teeth per inch cut smoothly and very accurately, albeit at a slower pace. They are therefore ideal for cutting hard materials like metal.
4. By Teeth Geometry
Milled teeth are not very sharp. Due to this, they cut more aggressively but at a faster rate as compared to ground teeth. This dull-teeth design gives them high wear resistance and makes them suitable for cutting dense materials.
That said, milled teeth can be in the following styles:
Milled Side Set
This arrangement places the teeth in alternating side angles, which makes the blade cut very fast, although with a very rough finish. As such, blades with milled side set teeth are ideal to use on hard materials such as metal and hardwoods.
Milled Wavy Set
With a milled wavy set design, the teeth are arranged in a wavy pattern one after the other. This produces a smooth straight cut and is ideal for softer materials such as softwood, thin plywood, and plastics.
However, blades with this geometry cut at a slower rate as compared to ones with milled side set teeth.
As compared to milled teeth, ground teeth are sharper and this is ideal for making smoother cuts but at a slower pace. However, the sharp edges wear quickly if used on hard materials. Therefore, the teeth are ideal for cutting light materials such as plastics and softwood.
The teeth can be laid out in the following styles:
Ground Side Set
Just like with the milled side set, this style places the teeth in alternating side angles, which makes the blade more aggressive. As a result, the teeth cut faster and can be used on relatively dense materials as compared to ground taper and reverse sets.
Ground Taper Set
As compared to ground side set teeth, ground taper set teeth are arranged in a straight line but tapered close to the edge. This makes them suitable for smooth cutting in light materials like plywood and plastic sheets.
Ground Reverse Set
This style is very similar to the ground taper set but the teeth edges point in the reverse direction (forwards). The design is meant to produce the smoothest cuts because it cuts during the downstroke, which prevents splintering in wood.
The teeth style is also ideal for brittle materials such as ceramic tiles because it prevents chipping.
When classifying by specialty, reversed tooth blades are made for materials that are prone to splintering or chipping because they cut during the downstroke. This is because the teeth face in the reverse direction as compared to other blades, which is forward.
Such blades are ideal for cutting plywood, laminate worktops, and ceramic tiles.
Considering that a jigsaw’s shoe extends further outward than regular blades, this does get in the way as you approach a corner or the floor. A flush-cutting jigsaw blade is designed to enable you to go all the way through so that the cut sits flush on the ground or a corner.
It achieves this by being very wide to the point that it extends further outwards than the shoe. This gives you enough width to get into very tight spots.
If you want to make cuts from the middle of a surface, you need a blade that can punch a hole through to help you get started. This is where plunge cut blades come in. The blades are fitted with sharp tips that easily punch through soft materials such as plasterboards.
To achieve the full potential of jigsaws, you need scrolling blades. These are narrow, strip-like blades that are ideal for making intricate cuts in wood. They are mostly used by creatives who want to create decorative work from wood.
As you can see, there are different types of jigsaw blades and they all cannot be simply classified in one way. You have to check through the different classifications then select the properties that make the perfect blade type for your project.