We use a jigsaw to cut different shapes in various materials. But you need a suitable blade to do this. With a good blade, you have a versatile power tool for performing several tasks with different types of cuts on various materials.
Why does my jigsaw blade bend? It is a much-asked question and there is no single answer to this. If your jigsaw blade bends or it is not performing the way it should, then you need to identify the underlying cause of the malfunction. Once rectified, your jigsaw can work wonders for you!
You can get the best performance from your jigsaw by cutting softwood of a maximum thickness of 1 ½” and hardwood of a maximum of ¾”. A common issue with jigsaw blades is their tendency to bend while cutting thicker sections.
When a jigsaw blade bends, the tendency is to produce a beveled edge while cutting instead of a square one. You can minimize the possibility of this occurring by taking a few precautions.
Some of these measures include using a sharp and new blade, and not excessively forcing the blade forward to cut the wood.
We also call jigsaws saber saws. The jigsaw is unique in that its blade moves vertically up and down as it cuts. Other than wood, we can cut plastic, tile, and metal among other materials. Before you use a jigsaw blade it is always better to refer to the specifications on the packaging to get the optimum use from it.
Usually, jigsaw blades for tight radius cuts are made from carbon steel, with lengths between ¾” to 2” long. Such blades have a width of ¼” but you can use blades with widths of 3/8” for general cutting.
The teeth per inch (TPI) of 6 will give you a fast but rough cut. For finer cuts, you can use a blade of 10 TPI or more. We even get toothless blades that cut materials other than wood like leather and tile.
You can consider buying bi-metal blades. Although they cost more, they last longer and have reduced chances of breaking.
So much about the jigsaw and its blades. It’s a handy tool to have around your woodworking workshop. But there are a few best practices you need to adopt to get your jigsaw to perform well and least of all, not bend as many do.
Possible Reasons for a Jigsaw Blade to Bend
A jigsaw blade may bend due to multiple reasons. Once you know the possible causes for a jigsaw blade to bend you are well on the way to ensuring that it doesn’t happen. Here are a few likely causes for a jigsaw blade to bend:
- Dull or blunt blade.
- Using an incorrect blade.
- Cutting very sharp curves.
- Putting too much pressure on the jigsaw, pushing it into the cut.
- Trying to cut material that is too thick.
- Worn jigsaw parts.
- You aren’t holding the jigsaw squarely or firmly on the surface.
- Not making use of clamps when required.
- Using blades with insufficient tension.
- Not keeping the blade straight while cutting.
Preventing Your Jigsaw Blade From Bending
We have seen above the factors that contribute to a jigsaw blade bending. Now, all you need to do is to take the necessary precautions to ensure that your jigsaw does not bend. Here’s what you need to do:
Use the Correct Type of Blade
You can get a variety of jigsaw blades on the market. They vary in terms of size, shape, widths, lengths, materials, and TPIs. The variation in the specs of jigsaw blades makes them suitable for one application and material and not for another.
Ensure that you choose the correct type of blade for the task at hand. If for example, you need to cut metal, a diamond blade would be the most suitable. This type of blade has tremendously sharp teeth and will cut through metal smoothly.
Correct Storage Practices
You should store your jigsaw blades in a cool and dry place. Keep them away from direct sunlight. Excess exposure to the heat of sunlight can result in changes in the blade’s temper, rendering it brittle. The blade becomes prone to bending or cracking.
Maintain Sharp Blades
You can sharpen some jigsaw blades but cannot sharpen others. With constant use, your jigsaw blade tends to become dull and will not perform as well as it used to.
If your blade is the sharpening type, get it sharpened regularly. If it is not, you need to replace it according to the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer.
Slower Feed Rate
A general rule of thumb with cutting blades is that the slower the blade, the finer the cut. The teeth of the blade get more time to cut into the material, and you exert less strain on the blade. It results in a significant reduction in wear and tear on the jigsaw blade.
The faster the feed rate, the more chance you have of your blade oscillating and bending as it cuts.
Install a Guide on Your Jigsaw
Using a guide can prevent your jigsaw from twisting or bending. It also maintains the direction of the blade, ensuring a straight, clean cut. You can also get guides that you can use over your hands. Such guides provide more control over the cutting operation.
What to Do if Your Jigsaw Blade Bends
A bending jigsaw blade can be detrimental to your cutting task at best and dangerous in the worst-case scenario. If you notice your jigsaw blade bending, take the following measures immediately:
- Switch off the jigsaw and unplug the machine.
- Clean off any excess material from the blade or the surrounding area.
- Try to straighten the blade. If it is a bit malleable, you can do this. But if the blade is made of hardened steel, you would probably have to replace it.
- Go through the possibilities of why your blade is bending according to the information given above. It may be due to one or a combination of reasons.
- Try to identify the possible reason as to why your jigsaw blade is bending. Once you identify the reason, reinstall the blade and try it out. If the problem persists then the best remedy is to replace the old or worn jigsaw blade.
Jigsaw blades can get damaged or bent due to several reasons. The best approach to remedy a bending jigsaw blade is through a process of elimination. Once you know the possible reasons why your jigsaw blade is bending, you need to assume each reason and rectify it.
Eventually, after going through all the possibilities, you may see that your jigsaw blade no longer bends while cutting. You can now have a safe and satisfying cutting experience with your jigsaw blade.
If you can prevent your jigsaw blade from bending or rectify it when it does, you can use your jigsaw in your future woodworking projects for some great results.