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Just as important as using a good jigsaw is the quality of the blades, but with so many available how do you choose the right one?

Know your blades

Here we guide you through how to select the right jigsaw blade for the task in hand and prevent common problems such as wandering blades, excessive tear out. Soon you’ll be following a straight line to clean, accurate cuts. Need to know which jigsaw to buy first? Read our Jigsaw Buying Guide.

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Blade shank

Most manufacturers are now using T-shank blades as standard, which makes it easier to switch blades between different machines. U-shank blades are still available but the T-shank has become more popular as most jigsaws are now fitted with a tool-less blade change to make swapping blades faster and easier. Bosch also classify their blades with a T to signify a T-shank blade, for example the T144D.

Jigsaw Blade Shanks Diagram
T-Shank (left) and traditional U-Shank (right)

Match the blade to the material

Depending on the material you’re going to be cutting, it’s important to use the right blade. Jigsaw blades come in four main categories and choosing the right one ensures you create a cleaner cut, there’s less wandering and the blade will last for longer. The four main categories include:

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1. HCS

High Carbon Steel which is best suited for softer materials such as softwood, soft plastics and wood fibreboards.

Bosch T101B Clean Wood Cutting Jigsaw Blades

2. HSS

High-Speed Steel blades should be applied when working with harder material such as metal, copper, aluminium, perspex and other non-ferrous metals. The qualities of HSS means that they are generally harder and have a higher abrasive resistance so they will cut faster and have greater longevity.

Bosch T101A Acrylic and Perspex Jigsaw Blades

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3. BIM

Bi-metal blades are the ones to reach for if the material is especially hard and, although they’re more expensive, they do last much longer. The lifetime is approximately twice that of HSS blades and ten times greater than HCS blades. In the long run, it’s worth testing to see if they work better for you.

Bosch T118GFS Stainless Steel Cutting Jigsaw Blades
Bosch T118EFS Stainless Steel Cutting Jigsaw Blades

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4. Carbide

Carbide blades will get to work cutting through plasterboard, cement-bonded fibreboards, glass fibre reinforced plastic and stainless steel. Blades coated with carbide grit can also make cleaner cuts through fragile material such as tiles and glass fibre reinforced plastic.

Bosch T130RIF TC Coated Jigsaw Blades

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Blade geometry

The shape and arrangement of the blade’s teeth play a significant part in how the blade cuts. The teeth will either be milled or ground and there are advantages for each type. Looking at the geometry of the teeth will show the type of cut you can expect from the blade.

Fast Cut Blade

Milled teeth

Milled teeth are less finely sharpened which makes them more aggressive and results in a faster but rougher cut. Milled teeth will also last longer so they are best used when working with denser material. Typical blade geometry includes:

Milled-side-set-teeth

Milled side set teeth

These make a faster cut but the finished cut will be rougher. Great if you need to make cuts quickly and aren’t too concerned about the finish of the cutline.

Bosch T111C Wood Cutting Jigsaw Blades
Bosch T345XF Progressor Jigsaw Blades

Milled-wavy-set-teeth

Milled wavy set teeth

As the name suggests the teeth are formed to a wave design, which produces a fine, straight cut.

Bosch T119B Wood Cutting Jigsaw Blades

Ground teeth

Ground teeth have been filed to create a sharp edge, so use these in softer material when a smooth line is needed.

Ground-taper-ground-teeth

Ground taper & ground teeth

The alignment of the teeth is straight, which can make for fine clean cuts.

Clean Cut Blade

Bosch T101B Clean Wood Cutting Jigsaw Blades
Bosch T234X Progressor Jigsaw Blades

Ground-side-set-teeth

Ground side set teeth

For fast cuts in wood.

Bosch T144D Fast Wood Cutting Jigsaw Blades
Bosch T144DP Wood Cutting Jigsaw Blades – P is for precision

The precision version is a thicker blade that won’t flex and, with less movement at the end of the blade, there’s greater accuracy. For the best results use these with a pendulum action if your jigsaw has it; this helps to pull the fibres away so there’s less distortion in the blade.

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Bosch’s GST 160 CE has a specific design feature with its double roller blade guide system which ensures minimum oscillations and bending of the saw blade for a very true and precise cut.

Bosch GST 160 CE Jigsaw Body Grip
Bosch GST 160 BCE Jigsaw Bow Handle

Ground-reverse-set

Ground reverse set

Reverse set blades cut in the opposite direction, so these are ideal in situations when you want to keep the cutline as smooth as possible on the top surface. With the jigsaw positioned above the surface, the blade cuts on the downstroke which can cause the wood fibres to be pulled up as the blade moves upwards. Bosch have a clever solution for this with the Extra-Clean blades for wood and the reverse cutting blades.

Bosch T308B Clean Wood Cutting Jigsaw Blades
Bosch T101BR Reverse Cutting For Wood Jigsaw Blades – R – for reverse cuts on downstroke

Extra-Clean Cut

Selecting blades

Bosch are the market leader in jigsaw blades and as they state “No other company makes as many blades for as many applications.” That’s also due to the fact that they invented the jigsaw in the 1940s so they’ve used this experience to continually improve blade design.

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If you are buying in store, to provide greater clarity the tops of the pack suggest the best material to be used with and whether it’s best for straight or curved lines.

Festool blades also come highly recommended and although more expensive, those who use them justify the price:

“The results are astounding …very straight cuts in thick wood.”

– Frank Owen, Axminster Customer

Festool S 75/4 FSG/5 Extra Stable Wood Cutting Jigsaw Blades

Another cost-effective way is to buy blades in multi-packs to cover a range of cutting needs.

Pack of 30 Bosch Jigsaw Blades
Makita Jigsaw Blades L10, B11, B12 – Pack 15

Want to see our complete range of jigsaw blades? Click here.

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  • Rob

    Usefuil addition:
    Jigsaw blades cut on the up-stroke, pulling the plate of the saw into the workpiece for safety, stability and cleanness of cut. For laminates, such as kitchen worktops, blades are available that cut on the down stroke. These minimize damage to the laminate surface. However, the plate is now being pushed away from the workpiece and the operator has to use extra care to push the saw down onto the surface to counteract this and generally take greater care controlling the saw.

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