Jigsaw Blades - Not So Scary
Jigsaw blades are cutting tools designed specifically for use with a jigsaw, which is a versatile handheld power tool used for making intricate cuts in a variety of materials. Depending on their design, jigsaw blades can cut through wood, metal, plastic, and other materials.
A circular saw has a rotating round blade that cuts hardwood and softwood along a straight line. Whereas, a jigsaw has a reciprocating blade that cuts straight, curves, and intricate internal and external shapes. While a circular saw cuts through material quickly, the jigsaw is the more versatile and safe power tool.
Key Points About Jigsaw Blades
Material: Most jigsaw blades are made from high carbon steel. These are great blades for cutting wood, but bi-metal blades are recommended for cutting metal. Bi-metal blades have extremely hard steel teeth joined to a blade body of softer carbon steel. The high-strength teeth maintain an edge much longer than carbon steel, hile the carbon steel allows the blade to bend, somewhat, during use.
T-Shank vs U-Shank: T-Shank blades are more popular due to their tool-free, quick-change capability in many modern jigsaws, while U-Shank blades are found in older models. Some saws will accept either type of blade. Be sure the style of the blade you select is compatible with your jigsaw.
Tooth Spacing and Size: Fine-toothed blades are suitable for making cleaner cuts in harder materials or when precision is required. Coarse teeth, on the other hand, are used for faster cuts in softer materials.
The materials thickness is another point to consider when choosing blades. As a rule, at least three blade teeth should be simultaneously cutting the material at all times. This means thinner materials should be cut with a blade with as fine teeth as possible.
Timberline® woodcutting blades may have as many as 21 teeth per inch, while the metal-cutting blades may have up to 24 or more. The fewer the teeth, the faster the blade will cut. However, blades with fewer teeth also mean a rougher finish.
Reverse Tooth: These blades have teeth that point upwards (opposite of the cutting direction) and are used for cutting laminates or veneers to prevent chipping on the top surface.
Specialized Blades: There are blades designed for specific materials and purposes, such as blades for cutting ceramics or laminates.
Blade Length and Thickness: Longer blades are used for thicker materials, but they can be more prone to bending or deflecting, leading to less accurate cuts. Thicker blades can provide more stability but might not be suitable for intricate curves.
Using a Jigsaw Blade
When using a jigsaw blade, it's essential to choose the right blade for the material and desired cut type. Using the wrong blade can lead to rough cuts, quicker wear, or even blade breakage.
Safety: While a jigsaw is safer than a circular saw, all cutting tools should be treated with appropriate caution.
- Wear protective gear: Always wear safety glasses, earplugs, and a dust mask to protect your eyes, ears, and lungs from debris and noise.
- Secure the material: Clamp or secure the material you are cutting to prevent it from moving around while you work.
- Choose the right blade: Select the appropriate blade for the material you are cutting and make sure it is securely attached to the jig saw.
- Start slowly: Begin cutting at a slow speed and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable with the tool.
- Use both hands: Hold the jig saw with both hands and keep your fingers away from the blade.
- Avoid cutting through knots: If you are cutting wood, avoid cutting through knots as they can cause the blade to bind and kick back.
- Turn off the tool when not in use: Always turn off the jig saw and unplug it when you are finished using it.
Maintenance and Replacement: Blades become dull or damaged over time, so it's important to regularly inspect them and replace as needed for best performance.