The need to change a jigsaw blade frequently arises in woodworking projects for a variety of reasons. One common factor is wear and tear, where blades become less effective over time and need to be replaced. Accidental damage or bending can also occur during intense cutting tasks, requiring a fresh blade. Moreover, different materials require specific blade types, making blade replacement essential for versatility.
It’s important to note that not all jigsaws use the same blade clamp mechanism, adding complexity to the process. There are a few different jigsaw blade types on the market and not every blade fits into every jigsaw. While replacing a jigsaw blade it is important to follow all safety precautions, especially making sure the jigsaw is unplugged!
In this article, I will guide you through a step-by-step process on how to change a jigsaw blade, using the Bosch GST 150 BCE as a demonstration model. Along the way, I will provide insights into different blade types and clamp mechanisms, giving you the knowledge and confidence needed to easily and accurately handle blade replacement tasks.
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*Safety is your responsibility. Make sure you know what you’re doing and take all necessary safety precautions while working with power tools. Safety comes first!
Always be cautious and careful when using any power tool.
Most Common Reasons to Change a Jigsaw Blade
There are several common scenarios that call for changing the blade. Let’s explore the top three reasons: broken or bent blades, worn-out blades, and the need to adapt to different types of materials.
- Broken or Bent Blades: One of the main reasons to replace a jigsaw blade is when it becomes broken or bent during usage. This can happen due to accidental mishaps or when cutting through challenging materials. Replacing the blade in such cases is crucial to ensure precise and efficient cutting performance.
- Worn-Out Blades: Over time, jigsaw blades tend to wear out due to continuous usage. A worn-out blade can result in reduced cutting efficiency, leading to rough cuts or even blade slippage. Changing the blade when it becomes dull is essential to maintain optimal cutting performance and achieve clean and accurate results.
- Different Types of Materials: Another reason for changing a blade is when you need to cut different types of materials. Each material requires a specific blade type to achieve the best cutting performance. For example, cutting through wood may require a different blade than cutting through metal or plastic. Swapping blades to match the material being worked on ensures efficient cutting and prevents damage to both the material and the blade.
Jigsaw Blade Types
Jigsaw blades come in two main types: T-shank and U-shank. T-shank blades are the most common and versatile, compatible with most jigsaws. U-shank blades are less common and require a specific blade attachment mechanism.
- T-shank Blades: T-shank blades are widely recognized as the go-to jigsaw blade type. With their distinctive T-shaped shank, they securely lock into the jigsaw’s blade clamp mechanism. Renowned for their versatility, T-shank blades effortlessly handle a wide range of cutting applications and materials. Moreover, their design allows for quick and hassle-free blade changes.
- U-shank Blades: U-shank blades, also known as universal shank blades, have a U-shaped shank that fits into the jigsaw’s blade clamp. U-shank blades are typically used in older jigsaw models that are designed to accommodate this specific blade type. While not as common as T-shank blades, U-shank blades can still be found and are compatible with certain jigsaws.
Jigsaw Blade Clamp Mechanism
Jigsaw tools employ different types of blade clamping mechanisms to secure the blades. Here are a few common ones:
- Quick Release: This handy mechanism allows you to change blades quickly and easily without the need for additional tools. Simply press a lever or button, and the blade is released for removal or insertion.
- Keyless: With a keyless clamping system, you can change blades without the hassle of using extra tools. These mechanisms often involve a twist or lock feature to securely hold the blade in place.
- Screw System: Some jigsaws use a screw-based system for blade attachment. This involves loosening or tightening a screw (or two screws) to release or secure the blade. You may need a screwdriver or wrench to adjust the screw as necessary. Typically, you will find the screw system on old jigsaws.
How to Change a Jigsaw Blade (Step-by-Step)
Before you begin replacing the old blade with a new jigsaw blade, there are a few important things to keep in mind:
Prioritize Safety: Switch off the jigsaw and disconnect it from the power source or remove the battery to prevent accidents. Always follow the safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
Know Your Saw Blade and Attachment Mechanism: Identify the type of blades your jigsaw uses and understand the clamping mechanism it employs. This will make it much easier to change the jigsaw blade.
NOTE: If the blade of your jigsaw was recently used, allow it to cool down completely before handling.
Step 1: Access The Blade
Firstly, ensure that you have unrestricted access to the blade area. Flip the jigsaw upside down and remove any protective bars, covers, or hoods that may impede blade removal. These protective components are typically secured with screws or Allen bolts. It is important to have unobstructed access to the blade area so that you can proceed smoothly.
NOTE: If your jigsaw is equipped with a Quick release mechanism, consider yourself fortunate, as it simplifies the process significantly. With this feature, blade changes become much easier and more convenient.
Step 2: Remove the Old Blade
The method for removing the old blade from your jigsaw depends on the type of jigsaw you have and its specific blade attachment mechanism. Here are two common approaches:
- Using Additional Tools: Some jigsaws require the use of additional tools, such as a Hex key (Allen key), to remove the blade. Insert the appropriate tool into the designated screw or bolt and loosen it a bit to release the blade. Once loosened, you can easily pull out the old blade from the jigsaw.
- Lever or Lock Mechanism: If your jigsaw is equipped with a blade release lever or lock mechanism, changing the blade is much simpler. By pulling or turning the lever, you can unlock the blade and remove it effortlessly. No additional tools are necessary in this case.
NOTE: When using a jigsaw with a lever the blade can be ejected from the jigsaw at quite a high speed. When removing the blade, hold it with one hand while turning the lever with the other.
Step 3: Insert the New Blade
Once you have the appropriate blade for your jigsaw, follow these steps to insert it correctly:
- Ensure Proper Orientation: Check that the blade teeth are facing away from the jigsaw (the teeth of the blade are facing forward). This ensures that the blade cuts in the right direction.
- Insert the Blade: Slide the new blade into the blade holder as far as it will go. Push the blade firmly (until it clicks), but be careful not to force it. The blade should fit snugly into the holder.
- Secure the Blade: Depending on your jigsaw model, either pull back the lever to secure the blade or tighten the screws. Ensure that the blade is firmly fixed and does not move or wobble.
Once the saw blade is positioned, perform the blade’s safety check. Ensure the blade is securely fastened by gently pulling on it a few times. It should remain in place without any movement.
Step 4: Turn on the Jigsaw
Before powering on the jigsaw, make sure all the protective pieces are securely back in place. Attach them to their original positions and ensure everything is correctly aligned.
Additionally, ensure the blade is facing downward as a precautionary measure in case it wasn’t properly attached. By following these steps, you can confidently power on the jigsaw, ready to tackle your cutting tasks safely and effectively.
In conclusion, changing a jigsaw blade is a straightforward process that can be done in a few simple steps. Stay safe and follow all safety precautions. By following the recommended steps and guidelines, you can confidently replace the blade without difficulty.
Remember to unplug the jigsaw, and identify the blade type and attachment mechanism. With these key considerations in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to handle blade replacement tasks effectively and efficiently.
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