Saw Blade Express Presents: A Quick Guide and FAQs for U-Shank and T-Shank Jigsaw Blades for Craftworkers

Few blade types can match the ability of the jigsaw to create intricate, curve cuts in a vast variety of materials.  However, a jigsaw is only as capable as the blade put into it.  So, we have put together a quick Frequently Asked Questions reference guide for Illinois buyers looking for the perfect jigsaw for their needs.

Q:  What is the difference between T-Shank and U-Shank jigsaw blades?

A:  The shank type is determined by the head of your jigsaw.  U-Shanks, or universal shank, are the older standard, and require tools such as an Allen wrench to replace the blade.  T-Shanks are newer and growing in popularity, as they allow the user to rapidly change the blade without tools - but only on machines that support them.

Q: What blade materials are appropriate for which jobs?

A:  Jigsaw blades are generally either made of carbon steel or Bi-metal. Carbon steel blades come in a variety of hardness, starting with HCS, or High Carbon Steel, going up to HSS, or High-Speed Steel.  HCS is best used on softer materials like wood, fiberboard, and some plastics. HSS is good for harder materials like mild steel, aluminum, and non-ferrous metals. Moving up to bi-metal, these blades are more flexible than the HCS and HSS and are best for jobs with higher than average stress or strain. They can also be used on a wider range of jobs including all of the above-mentioned applications, depending on the width and tooth formation. There is one more category, and these blades are usually made of HCS with a carbide grit or have carbide teeth welded to them. These blades, with a carbide grit, or carbide teeth are the most expensive but are extremely durable and capable of cutting through even the hardest metals and ceramics commonly seen in Illinois.

Q: How does teeth-per-inch (TPI) affect cutting?

A:  Generally speaking, a high TPI results in a slower, finer cut.  High TPI blades are appropriate for mild steel, aluminum, and non-ferrous metals.  Lower TPIs are often better for Illinois woodworkers, as they are effective at clearing out debris and sawdust.

Q: What teeth type should I pick?

A:  Tapered teeth allow for finer work, but at a slower pace.  Wide-set side teeth work faster but create rougher cuts.  Illinois craftworkers should consider the quality of cut required, before picking a type of tooth for their blade.

Saw Blade Express

The Saw Blade Express team prides itself on knowing the right tool for the right job.  If you have any questions, please email us at!