Jigsaws are versatile tools that cut precise and safe lines and should be a staple in any toolbox. However, you will probably have different jobs that require various blades on for your jigsaw, and in the past, this could get confusing and hard to manage and keep track of. Luckily, new blade technology has taken the guesswork out of using different types of blades on a variety of jigsaw machines.
Jigsaw blades are interchangeable, because most models of jigsaws are compatible with the t-shaped blade head. The t-shape head of the jigsaw requires no tool to fasten it to the jigsaw. It is interchangeable with almost all newer designs of jigsaws, which is why most of the newer models use this interchangeable blade fastening design.
There are many different jigsaw brands and blades out there. However, most of the popular brands can handle either the older U-shaped blade design, which requires a tool to fasten it to the jigsaw or the tool-less T-shaped blade.
There is also a U-shaped blade that is used in older models and on some newer models that accept both blade types. Read on to find out more about interchangeable jigsaw blades.
Which Jigsaw Blades are Interchangeable?
Out of the two types of jigsaw blades that are available, the T-shaped blade is a much more common attachment type for modern jigsaws making it more likely to be interchangeable between brands of jigsaws.
The U-shaped blade head for jigsaws is also known as a “universal blade, which is confusing since not many modern jigsaws use this type of blade head attachment.
Basically, all major modern jigsaw brands switched over to work with T-shaped shank blades because it makes changing blades on the machine faster and easier.
Even though the U-shaped shank blade is nicknamed the “universal” blade type, don’t be fooled. U-shaped shanks are outdated, and T-shaped shank blades are more accessible to interchange with other brands of jigsaws because of their popularity.
U-Shaped Jigsaw Blades
On older models of jigsaws and some of the less expensive models available today, the U-shaped blade head can be mounted to the jigsaw with a screw set. The additional tool needed to fasten the blade to the saw can be annoying.
(Amazon affiliate link)
It is a big reason why most of the mainstream jigsaw manufacturers moved away from the U-Shaped head for their jigsaw blades.
Even though the nickname for the U-shaped shank blade is the “universal” blade, this is no longer true for modern-day jigsaws.
The U-shaped blade head or shank gets its name from the U-shape cut in the blade’s head. There needs to be a hole directly under the U-shape where a screw set is fastened with a tool.
This extra step to fasten the blade to the jigsaw can get irritating and takes a longer time to replace blades.
Although it has lost popularity with modern jigsaw manufacturers, the blade shanks and jigsaws that use them are still available. (Source: Saw Features)
T-Shaped Jigsaw Blades
The most widely used shank type for jigsaw blades is the T-shaped shank. The enormous popularity of the T-shaped shank on jigsaw blades is because of its ability to be fastened to the jigsaw quickly and without any tools.T-shaped jigsaw blades from DeWALT
(Amazon affiliate link)
Almost all contemporary models and brands of jigsaws work with T-shaped shank blades or both U-shaped and T-shaped.
Many of the most traditional jigsaws available today have a design that holds a T-shaped blade shank because of their ease of use for consumers.
The T-shaped blade shank design is called a “T” because of the shape of the shank head at the top of the blade.
Removing or entering a blade into the jigsaw takes little more than the press of a button to fasten to your jigsaw.
Since there is no need to use a tool to fasten the blade shank to the jigsaw, many manufacturers have shifted from the U-shape to the T-shaped shank blade head, making the T-shape interchangeable with many models of saws. (Source: Saw Features)
How to Choose the Right Jigsaw Blade
Choosing the right jigsaw blade requires you to understand how several critical features of a jigsaw blade interact with the material you are cutting.
Related article: Can You Cut Drywall With A Jigsaw?
Once you determine that your jigsaw blade is interchangeable and works with your jigsaw, there are several factors that you should consider before buying the blades for your jigsaw.
Some of the most important factors to consider for a jigsaw blade is detailed below:
Blade Teeth Per-Inch (TPI)
The number of teeth on the blade per inch can influence how quickly the cuts are made and determine the final balance and rate that the wood will be fed into the cut.
Cutting with tight angles and precision requires more teeth on the blade, and a good rule to keep in mind is maintaining at least three teeth in the wood at all times.
The fewer teeth per inch, the faster and less accurate the cut will be made. Use higher-numbered TPI for intricate jobs on smaller pieces of wood or material and lower TPI blades for large materials that you need a little more power and speed for. (Source: KMS Tools)
Not all materials for blades are made equal. Some metals are better than others in terms of giving precision cuts, as well as their durability.
Multiple blade material types can cut some materials, and some blades can cut into various materials.
The three main types of metal that jigsaw blades are made out of are listed below along with details about the types of jobs they are best suited for:
- High-carbon steel(HCS): HCS is an excellent metal for blades cutting through wood and plastic. Since they are less stable than other types of metal jigsaw blade, they tend to dull faster. HCS is more flexible than other blade types and is excellent for scroll cutting.
- High-speed steel(HSS): HSS metal blades are more durable than the more common and less expensive HCS blades. The HSS metal blades are great for cutting through non-porous materials like metal or acrylic. However, HSS is not as flexible and can break more easily than HCS blades.
- Bi-Metal(BIM): BIM blades are both flexible and durable and are the best metal blade type for all jigsaw cutting projects. However, BIM blades are more expensive than either HCS and HSS blades.
( Source: Wood Magazine)
The Blade Teeth Direction
Most cutting is done on the upstroke of a jigsaw because this is a natural motion to maintain forward momentum through a cut. Most jigsaw blades are designed to create a precision cut with an upstroke design with teeth that are angled upwards at the shank.
However, if you require a specialty blade for a particular material or a unique design, you may need to consider a blade with teeth angled downwards away from the shank, which cuts on the downward stroke.
These down-cut blade types are available, though they are not as common as up-cut blades.
The Final Cut
Since T-shaped jigsaw blades are so much more comfortable than the traditional U-shaped shank blades, most of the jigsaw manufacturers have moved over to them. The T-shape blades can be used on virtually all modern jigsaws and are interchangeable across models.
If you have an older jigsaw or a jigsaw that is a cheaper current model, you may need to use U-shaped shank blades, which are still available. Just don’t expect them to be interchangeable with many other modern-day jigsaws on the market.
I hope this article was useful to you. Thanks for reading and good luck with your woodworking projects!
Cheers, tools owners!
Related article: How Tick Of A Piece Of Wood Can You Cut With A Jigsaw?