Jigsaws are versatile tools that can cut through various materials, such as wood, metal, plastic, and ceramic. However, to get the best results, you need to choose the right blade for the job. In this article, we will explore what jigsaw blade makes the smoothest cut and how to select the best one for your project.
The Answer: Metal-Cutting Blades with High TPI
The smoothest cut with a jigsaw is achieved by using metal-cutting blades that have 21 to 24 teeth per inch (TPI). These blades have fine teeth that produce less chip-out and splintering than coarser blades. They also cut slower, which reduces vibration and heat buildup, resulting in a cleaner cut.
However, not all metal-cutting blades are the same. There are different types of blades made from different materials, such as high-carbon steel (HCS), high-speed steel (HSS), bi-metal (BiM), and tungsten carbide (TC). Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the material and thickness of the workpiece.
How to Choose the Best Jigsaw Blade for Your Project
To choose the best jigsaw blade for your project, you need to consider the following factors:
The Material and Thickness of the Workpiece
The material and thickness of the workpiece determine the hardness and flexibility of the blade you need. For example, if you are cutting wood, you can use a softer and more flexible blade, such as HCS, which is also cheaper and more suitable for scroll cutting. However, if you are cutting metal or plastic, you need a harder and more rigid blade, such as HSS, BiM, or TC, which can withstand the heat and abrasion of the material.
The thickness of the workpiece also affects the length and width of the blade. The blade should be at least 1 inch longer than the thickness of the workpiece, to ensure that the blade stays in the cut at the top of the stroke. The blade should also be wide enough to resist bending and twisting, especially for straight and curved cuts.
The Type and Shape of the Cut
The type and shape of the cut determine the tooth design and set of the blade. The tooth design refers to the shape and angle of the teeth, while the tooth set refers to the way the teeth are bent to the sides. There are three main types of tooth designs: wavy, milled, and ground. Wavy teeth have a smooth edge and are good for cutting thin metal and plastic. Milled teeth have a rough edge and are good for cutting wood and laminates. Ground teeth have a sharp edge and are good for cutting hard materials, such as ceramic and glass.
The tooth set affects the width of the kerf, which is the gap left by the blade. There are two main types of tooth sets: set and taper. Set teeth are bent to alternating sides, creating a wider kerf that helps remove waste and reduce binding and heat buildup. Taper teeth are straight, creating a narrower kerf that provides a smoother cut but requires more feed pressure.
The Speed and Quality of the Cut
The speed and quality of the cut depend on the number of teeth per inch (TPI) and the material of the blade. The TPI determines how fast and smooth the blade cuts. A lower TPI (6 to 10) cuts faster, but produces more chip-out and splintering. A higher TPI (21 to 24) cuts slower, but produces a smoother and cleaner cut.
The material of the blade affects the durability and performance of the blade. A softer material, such as HCS, dulls quicker, but has more flexibility. A harder material, such as HSS, BiM, or TC, lasts longer, but is more brittle and prone to breaking.
The Durability and Cost of the Blade
The durability and cost of the blade are influenced by the material and quality of the blade. A cheaper blade, such as HCS, may not last long, but is more affordable and easy to replace. A more expensive blade, such as BiM or TC, may last longer, but is more costly and difficult to find. A good compromise is a HSS blade, which offers a balance of durability and cost.
The quality of the blade also matters, as it affects the accuracy and consistency of the cut. A high-quality blade, such as Bosch Thermotechnology 21-Piece T-Shank Jig Saw Set, has precise and uniform teeth that cut smoothly and accurately. A low-quality blade, such as Black & Decker 75-530 Jig Saw Blades (5 Pack), has irregular and uneven teeth that cut roughly and inaccurately.
To sum up, the smoothest cut with a jigsaw is achieved by using metal-cutting blades that have 21 to 24 TPI, such as Dewalt DW3760-5 Jig Saw Blade, Metal, Pk5. However, to choose the best jigsaw blade for your project, you also need to consider the material and thickness of the workpiece, the type and shape of the cut, the speed and quality of the cut, and the durability and cost of the blade. By following these guidelines, you can maximize the potential of your jigsaw and get the best results for your project.