How to Put a Blade on a Jigsaw

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Whether you’re swapping blade types for a better cut, replacing an old, dull blade, or just starting out with your brand new jigsaw, knowing how to put the blade on is a must. This guide is here to teach you everything you need to know for how to put a blade on a jigsaw, so you can get back to your project.

Jigsaw Blade Clamp Systems

Before you can replace your blade, you need to know a little bit about your jigsaw. Almost everything in life is evolving to become better, faster, and more convenient – and jigsaws are no different. Depending on how old your jigsaw is, it will either have one of two mechanisms to hold the blade – a screw-in system, or a quick-release system.

Screw-In Systems

For those with a jigsaw that’s been around the block, you’ll likely need to use something to loosen the screw that attaches the blade to the clamp. While these models are rapidly being replaced with quick-release systems, many jigsaws out there are still going to rely on a screw-in system to hold their blades.

Person trying to remove blade on a jigsaw

Quick-Release Systems

If your jigsaw is closer to a spring chicken than a dinosaur, it most likely has a no-tools-required system for changing the blade. These jigsaws come equipped with a quick-release lever that lets you easily disengage the blade from it’s clamp, making the blade-changing process a breeze.

Jigsaw Blade Styles

It used to be that screw-in systems used one kind of blade and quick-release systems used another, but things have gotten a bit more complicated in recent years. The saws themselves may have one or more types of blade that they accept, and the blades can be U-shank, T-shank, or Bayonet style.

U-Shank Blades

These blades used to be standard in almost every jigsaw – the U actually stands for universal. Since these blades were used with the screw-in systems, their universal status has become a little shaky since the rise of quick-release systems. 

Fortunately, the manufacturers largely accounted for this shift, and many newer jigsaw models will accept both U-shank or T-shank blades. When you’re looking for U-shanks to buy you can easily distinguish them by the notched U at the top of the blade.

T-Shank Blades

A new clamp system required a new style of blade, and thus the T-shank was born. These blades have a T conformation at the top that locks into the quick-release mechanism (as the name suggests). While new models may take both blade styles, you won’t be able to use T-shanks with older, screw-in saws.

Person holding jigsaw blades

Bayonet Blades

These blades were the original exception to the universality of U-shanks. The Porter-Cable Bayonet Saw is the only jigsaw that uses these blades, but the saw itself has been discontinued. You can still find blades if you happen to own this saw, but you may have to invest in a new one sooner than you’d like. 

Most people who are familiar with woodworking know that not all blades are created equal, and there’s a lot more that goes into finding the right blade than just making sure it fits the saw. You should also look at tooth size and alignment, blade composition, and other factors. 

How to Take an Old Jigsaw Blade Off

Unless you’re pulling a new jigsaw out of the box for the first time, you’re going to have to take the current blade off to change it out. As with all power tools, there are certain safety precautions you should take to make sure you keep all 10 of your fingers:

  • Never change the blade with the jigsaw plugged in or the battery attached
  • If you’ve been using the saw recently, make sure the blade isn’t hot
  • Use gloves to prevent cuts
  • Only use the blade style that matches your saw

Now let’s look at how to take off blades with each clamp style. 

Taking Off Screw-In Blades

Depending which jigsaw you have, you’re going to need to hunt down either a screwdriver or an Allen key to loosen the screw that fastens the blade. On most models the screw is relatively easy to access, but on some saws, you may find it easier to take off the guard plate first. Once you loosen the clamp, the blade should slide right out. 

Taking Off Quick-Release Blades

With these models, getting the blade out is as easy as flipping a switch. Locate the blade release lever on the saw and disengage it (use your manual to find it if you’re not sure where it’s at). The saw will either spit the blade out itself or release the lock so you can pull it out. 

Person trying to put blade on a jigsaw

How to Put the a Blade on a Jigsaw

Now that you have the old blade off, the same safety guidelines apply for putting your new one on – make sure the saw isn’t connected to power, wear gloves, and use the proper blade style. 

No matter what clamp system your jigsaw has, there are a couple rules of thumb to follow when adding a blade:

  • Make sure the teeth are facing out (away from the saw’s body)
  • If it’s not going into the clamp easily, don’t force it
  • After you secure the blade, turn it on and make sure there isn’t any abnormal vibration or other issues
  • Always do a test cut with a new blade

With these guidelines in mind, here are the finer details for each blade clamp system.

Putting On Screw-In Blades

Insert the blade into the clamp until it won’t advance any farther, then tighten down the screw(s) that you loosened before. Replace the guard plate if you had to remove it, and then turn on the saw to test it.

Putting On Quick-Release Blades 

Feed the blade into the clamp while the quick-release lever is still disengaged. If your saw has a spring that ejects the blade upon release, you may feel the tension from it as you push the blade in. Once the blade is securely in the clamp, flip the lever back to its operating position, and then turn on the saw.

In conclusion, jigsaw blades are fast and simple to replace – especially if your saw has a quick-release clamp. Make sure you’re using the proper blade and that it’s secured before you make any real cuts, and your DIY project will be back in business in no time.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.