new blade replacement in jigsaw

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Over the weekend, I found myself in need of my jigsaw. Problem though was that the blade had seen better days.

It was time to change out the blade, but I’d never done it before. Would it be difficult? Are there actually different blade types? Or worse yet – would I figure it out before I cut my hand open?

As it turns out, changing out the blade of a jigsaw is actually very simple. For this tutorial, I’m basically assuming that all jigsaws are assembled exactly like mine. While that may not be the case, I’m not really great at writing hypothetical tutorials for tools I don’t own. So this is what I’ve got.  And just in case it needs to be said, please always use proper safety precautions when doing things like this. Unplug it from the wall outlet!

Changing a Jigsaw Blade is Easier Than You Think!

1. Identify the basic components of the jigsaw

Depending on the one you have (see above), your jigsaw will probably have some basic components. If one of them is not a blade, I suggest you put down the hairdryer and go get your jigsaw. Good? Now flip the jigsaw upside down. In addition to the blade, you’ll probably have some sort of guide on the bottom and a small thingie (technical term) that holds the blade in place. These components should be attached to the tool either by regular screws or using an Allen wrench (same as an Allen key). It is likely that if your jigsaw was made in the last thousand years, you’ll also have some type of cover screwed in place to protect wayward fingers/eyeballs from a broken blade/flying splinters. The point is: you’ll have to find some way to get to the blade, so all of the items that cover it will have to be removed.

Unscrew the cover

2. Do NOT take off what isn’t necessary

I found that the screws holding the blade in place (the “thingie” mentioned above) were stuck on pretty tightly, so to get more leverage with my Allen wrench, I took off the guide on the bottom. I wasn’t prepared for it to be constructed of three pieces, so I also wound up having to crawl across the garage floor searching for a missing component. This entire step (including almost losing pieces) is entirely optional.

Use an Allen key

3. Release the old blade

The component that attaches the old blade was held by two screws, so instead of removing it altogether, I merely loosened it up to slip the old blade out.

Release the old blade

Clearly, the blade was due for replacing.

Old blade

4. T-shanks vs. U-shanks vs Universal blades

Now that you have the old blade exposed, you can take it with you to the hardware store to find a blade that looks just like it. There are two main types of jigsaw blades called T-shanks and U-shanks. You may also find “universal shank” blades, which takes the guesswork entirely out of replacing your blade. I wound up doing the longer version of this by first guessing what type of shank I needed and then getting it wrong, thus having to return to the store and exchange the package for the right type of blade (based on there being simply more U-shank blade options than T-shanks, I guessed – incorrectly – that my cheap jigsaw is probably of the more common variety. When I later researched the difference between the two blades, I learned that T-shank blades are becoming more popular now because they are easier to change. Go fig.).

It is also important to note the blades themselves can be specialized for a wide variety of materials (wood, fast-cutting, metal, PVC pipe, and so on). Choose whatever blows your dress up; I chose a variety pack.

Bosch T Shank blades

5. Insert the new blade and tighten.

When you know you have the proper blade type, slip the end into the grip and tighten the screws to hold the fresh blade in place. Should you go this route, you’ll need a screwdriver and I cannot emphasize this enough, patience. An optional step is to screw it in backwards (for most people and uses for this tool, the teeth of the blade should face OUT, toward the front of the saw) and then unscrew, turn, and screw it back in again. This is entirely up to you and how much time you feel like wasting. Then, just as you unscrewed everything, put everything back together again.

Insert and tighten

Okay, so this tutorial was more about how not to change out a jigsaw blade than a proper tutorial. But if you skip step 2, part of 4, and assume that things need to be put back where they were originally, this entire process should take you no more than five minutes. Then you can move on to the reason you needed the jigsaw in the first place. More on that coming in tomorrow’s post (anyone want to guess that it’s for the same reason I used it last time?).

NEW: You can now browse projects by tool in my Project Gallery! See ones involving a jigsaw here.

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  1. With the Internet I try to google the item and see if someone has already posted instructions for whatever I'm going to try and do. Sometimes what seems obvious later isn't so obvious before you know it.

    In 2003 I bought a house that once had a old “tube” tv mounted to the bedroom wall. The mount was high up in a corner. It (well most of it) stayed up for years because it wasn't obvious how to reach the screws to remove it from the wall. Once I spent some time researching it, I had one of those “Duh” moments and it was easily removed.

    Ditto for getting at a light in a ceiling fan.

    I can honestly say I've never needed a jigsaw but I'm not quite as adventurous as you. Right now I'm hoping for a speedy recovery after doing something to my back while painting ceilings. I think from this point on I will hire someone to do the ceilings as the pain isn't worth it.

    Good luck with the repairs.

  2. Thanks for posting this! I had a similar experience when figuring out how to move all of the parts on our compound mitre saw.

  3. I'm having a girls with power tools link party, and this post would be perfect. You should stop by :) BTW the new 'do' looks great.

  4. Thank you so much, I feel better about my attempt. I borrowed my dad’s 30+ year old jigsaw. For whatever reason, it didn’t come with a blade. Thankfully, the T heads were labeled as fitting “all”, so that’s what I grabbed. I hoped it really was as simple as unscrewing and re screwing said “thingy” clamp. And then unscrewing and rescrewing it again to put it in facing the correct direction (I’m starting to believe this might actually be a crucial step unique to this type of saw). I wanted to look online to try to find something more definitive than my guesswork before turning it on and killing everybody in the room. Thank you, again (& my wife and dogs thank you though they know not of your heroics).

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  6. Well, this seems a little late comment (almost 6 years) but i just had this kind of problem with the jigsaw, which is the blade keeps falling out (U shaped blade came with the jigsaw) , i tried to install the T shaped blade in the THINGY, but guess what, it keeps falling out also, so my question here, can and where to get a new thingy ?? and how deep should I insert the T shaped blade in the thingy as I’ve never used it and I can’t find the U blade anywhere :( ….

    1. I would take the blade and the tool to the hardware store with you and get assistance from the staff there to find the exact replacement blade needed. If it’s a common brand, there will be a universal blade. Ahead of time, you can look up the model number online for a digital copy of the jigsaw’s manual if you don’t have a paper one (the parts list in the manual will usually have a blade’s product number). I hope you find a good fit!

  7. Thanks, the blade of my jigsaw just fell out, and you gave me the cofidence to figure out which screws to undo. It fell out again so i did it properly the next time ?