Bi-directional jigsaw blades for smoother cuts
May 25, 2023 | 11:14 am CDT
Jigsaw cutting plywood

Jigsaw cuts through prefinished maple plywood to test the Diablo bi-directional blade.

CNC users have loIt enjoyed the benefits of compression bits that combine up and down cut profiles to minimize chipout on panel products. But now Freud has brought this kind of technology to jigsaw blades.

The new Diablo brand bi-metal jigsaw blades from Freud are available in a bi-directional tooth design and ultra-fine tooth profile. This means that teeth on the top and bottom of the workpiece are driving chips to the center of the wood, minimizing chipout.

Freud Diablo bi-directional blade
Diablo bi-directional blade closeup shows the up and down teeth profiles.

New tooth design
Take a close look at the new Diablo bi-directional blades, and it’s easy to see how they work. Teeth on the top of the blade all point down. Teeth on the bottom all point up. Toward the center of the blade the teeth gradually decrease in size until the two directions meet in the middle.

Otherwise, the blades are standard T-shank design that fit most modern jigsaws regardless of manufacturer.

How does it work?
We tried out the bi-directional blades on a variety of materials. Immediately you notice a subtle difference in how the jigsaw performs. It doesn’t dig into the wood as aggressively as standard tooth blades, and it does seem to require a bit steadier hand on the tool as the teeth don’t hold the saw base as firmly to the wood. Once you realize it takes a little different technique, cuts can proceed on track.

Plywood cut with bi-directional Diablo jigsaw blade
The cut on the prefinished maple plywood is surprisingly smooth.

The blades aren’t a miracle cure for all chip out, but they do make a significant difference. We noticed in solid pine boards there was very little of the splintering on either side that you would expect on the upside of boards cut with standard jigsaw blades. That also makes it easier to see the cut line since the kerf is not so frayed.

Your results will vary with your technique and materials. Melamine and veneered plywood will be more challenging that solid wood, but the blades do make a difference and offer a significant advantage over standard upcut jigsaw blades. Learn more at

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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.