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  • Writer's pictureLabor Holland

Jig saw or Reciprocating saw? When do you use which saw blade?

Jig Saw

A jig saw can be used for a wide range of applications, for instance besides sawing straight pieces, it is also very useful for sawing round corners and circles. This makes jig saw blades the perfect saws for sawing detailed and irregular shapes in for instance MDF, or for sawing laminate. But there are not only jig saw blades available for sawing in wood, HSS jig saw blades are very suitable for sawing in metal. A jig saw is about 5 to 10 centimeters long and is being moved up and down by the electric motor of a jig saw machine. With most machines it is possible to set the sole plate between an angle of 45 and 90 degrees, so it is possible to saw in miter. If the number of revolutions can be set, there is usually a lower number of revolutions set when sawing hard materials to reduce overheating of the saw blade

The teeth of the jig saw blades are usually set in a way that the material is only being removed if they are moving towards the machine. When sawing wood this causes splinters on top of the saw cut, which is usually not preferable for the finishing. This is the reason that the material is being sawed upside down. Another possibility is buying saw blades of which the teeth are pointed away from the machine, instead of towards the machine. The only disadvantage of these jig saw blades is that the machine needs to be pressed more firmly on the material to prevent staggering. The jig saws are available in different lengths, for thin material a shorter saw can be used, while for thicker material you need to use longer blades. Jig saw blade with teeth pointed away from the machine.

Jig Saw set 25-piece [KA500025]
Jig Saw set 25-piece [KA500025]

Reciprocating Saw

A reciprocating saw has got a narrow saw blade which ends in a sharp tip, this makes it very suitable for sawing corners and sawing in places where there’s not a lot of elbow room. Examples of places where reciprocating saw blades are used mostly are alongside a wall or beneath the floor. It is also very common for reciprocating saws to be used for sawing branches, wooden planks, metal tubes and for demolition activities such as sawing out parts of a wall. Because the reciprocating saw blade is in line with the machine, it is more flexible in its use than a jig saw blade. Also the engine is usually stronger and can be used to make more RPM, which ensures that the reciprocating blades can be used for jobs where more power and speed, but less precision is needed. 

Reciprocating Saw set 24-piece [KA500024]

Different materials and toothing

The saw blades are available in different materials, where the materials are suitable for different applications. De jig saw blades are made out of HSS, HCS or Bi-Metal. The reciprocating saw blades are made out of HCS, Bi-Metal or HM. The HSS of the jig saws is mostly used for metal, HCS usually for sawing wood and the Bi-Metal blades are suitable for different materials. The HCS reciprocating blades are commonly used for sawing wood, the Bi-Metal once again for different kinds of materials and the HM saw blades are suitable for fiber and plaster. Besides choosing out of the different materials, the choice for a type of toothing is also very important! 

From the range of saw blades for wood, it is best to choose a HCS saw with coarse toothing when you’re sawing soft wood. When sawing middle hard or hardwood, a Bi-Metal saw blade with teeth within a small range of each other is the best choice, because this causes better shatter-proof sawing. For sawing laminate it is best to pick a Bi-Metal saw with short teeth. For pruning we recommend a HCS reciprocating saw. Because of the coarse teeth this gives a less neat saw cut, but this is less important when pruning.

For sawing in synthetic materials the best choice would be a Bi-Metal saw blade, as well a coarse as a fine toothing is suitable for this application. However, for synthetic materials with carbon fibre a HM saw is the best choice.

For sawing in metal a HSS saw is the most suitable, but a Bi-Metal jig saw blade or reciprocating saw blade can also be used. For thin metals a more fine toothing is the best choice, and the thicker the material gets, the more coarse toothing is needed. More coarse teeth are better able to cut through the metal and are more fit to dispose of the sawn away material. 

If you need more advice about buying saw blades after reading this blog, please contact us through +31 318 623 444 or  
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