Which Recip or Jigsaw Blade Should You Buy
Posted by Mark Hunter - December 04, 2013
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One size doesn't fit all. It never does, not really. And especially not for our power tool consumables such as jigsaw (or sabre/recip saw) blades.
Here's a quick buying guide to help you choose the right blades so that you're getting the most for your cash.
Manufacturers, such as Bosch, colour-code their blades so that at a glance you'll have an idea of the application the blade was manufactured to perform.
Obviously it's helpful to know what the colours mean. So:
- Grey = wood
- Blue = metal
- White = wood and/or metal
- Black = specialised
Another quick visual guide to help you choose the correct jigsaw blade is the number of teeth. Basically, the more teeth per inch on the blade denotes a more accurate, smoothercut.So, if you're cutting for accuracy, and cleanness of finish, you'll need a jigsaw blade with more teeth.
Buzzing through a piece of rough hardwood, at speed, requires a very different kind of jigsaw blade from when you wish to cut through a piece of stainless steel.
However, not all teeth are created equal.
Jigsaw and recip saw blades have teeth that are designed in a certain way for a certain purpose. The manufacturer will advise you on the blade, or on the packaging, as to what the teeth are designed to do.
The metal on the teeth will either be:
- Milled and side set designed for quick, rough cutting into hard and softwood, aluminium, plastics and non-ferrous metals
- Milled and wavy set ideal for fine, straight cutting into plywood, soft steel, aluminium and non-ferrous metals and plastics
- Ground and side designed for quick cuts in wood
- Ground and taper ground blade with a taper ground spine for fine and clean cuts in wood and plastic
The vast majority of jigsaw and recip (sabre) saw blades are fabricated from carbon steel. Generally the fabrication of the steel will be identified as follows:
- HCS:designed for cutting softer materials such as softwood, wood fibreboards and soft plastics
- HSS:hardened, high-grade, high speed steel, perfect for cutting harder materials, like metal, aluminium and non-ferrous metals
- BIM:Bi-metal bond of HCS and HSS, making the blade able to deal with high-demand cutting. The bond is highly elastic and is suitable for cutting abrasive wooden materials, hard plastics, non-ferrous and ferrous metals, hardwoods, etc
- Bi-metal blades should be used if there is a risk of shank breakage
- Bi-metal blades last around 10 times longer than HCS blades
To help you understand how these various factors will affect the choice of jigsaw blade you'll make, let's consider a couple of typical applications to which you'd use a jigsaw blade.
- Ideal Blade: Bosch T101 BF
- Why is it ideal?
- This blade is fabricated from bi-metal (BIM). As stated above, this is designed for cutting hardwoods, but it's teeth are ground and taper ground, meaning they will provide a fine, clean cut
- Ideal Blade: Bosch T101BR
- Why is it ideal?
- The blade is fabricated from HCS, a carbon steel for use with softer materials. Because the teeth are ground and taper ground, the cut will be clean, which is important when cutting worktop as you don't want to damage the surface of the material
- Ideal Blade: Bosch T101A
- Why is it ideal?
- The T101A part of Bosch's "black" range (see colour guide above), and is designed for cutting plastics and arcylics. The teeth are short, ground and taper ground, again for a smooth, clean cut. The teeth are very tightly spaced meaning the cut will be straight and fine.
- The blade is fabricated from HSS, a high-grade, high speed steel.
If you've got any questions or comments about jigsaw blades and the bests ones for the jobs you do, let us know in the comments section below.
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