QUESTION: I’ve recently started woodworking as a hobby, and one of the first tools that I bought was a jigsaw. I thought it was going to be simple, but I’m already confused by the selection of jigsaw blades available – what they’re for and which ones will fit my machine. Can you give me a basic rundown of which blades I should use for which tasks, and any other tips you may have? – Andy Morgan
ANSWERED BY: PMB Industrial Supplies
(021 715 0426
Great question, Andy. The first thing you need to be aware of is that there are two main jigsaw blade styles available – T-shanks and U-shanks, and each should only be used with a machine designed for that type of blade. (A few jigsaw models are compatible with more than one shank, though, and some machines use their own proprietary style blades.)
Make sure you know which style your machine uses before moving on to selecting blades for specific purposes.
When selecting a jigsaw blade you need to have in mind the material to be cut, and the cut you want to make. Firstly, choose a blade for the appropriate material. Jigsaws are very versatile machines and you can get blades for cutting softwoods, hardwoods, plastic, aluminium, steel and ceramics or masonry. This will be indicated on the packaging.
Generally blades for softer materials will have bigger teeth, while those for hard materials will have fewer teeth or even grit in place of teeth (for masonry).
The next step is to narrow it down further. Do you want to cut quickly in straight lines, or more slowly and in intricate curves? For cutting quickly, choose a blade with bigger, more aggressive, but fewer teeth. These blades will also be made of a thicker material.
For cutting curves you’ll need a thinner blade with finer teeth. Be aware, though, that quick cuts with big teeth won’t be as neat as slow cuts with fine teeth.
Finally, choose a blade that is at least an inch longer than the thickness of the material, to make sure that it cuts all the way through.
Hope that helps!
PMB Industrial Supplies