Does your toolbox have bolt cutters? What will you use in case you want to cut heavy chains, locks, and fences? Bolt cutters are an essential tool for homeowners, crafters, and people working at construction sites. At home, you can use bolt cutters to cut chicken wiring or wiring fences when you need to do a replacement. Also, if you misplace your keys and need to get inside your home, bolt cutters will come in handy when you want to cut the padlock. You can also use bolt cutters to cut electric wires, making them an essential tool during rescue operations.
Bolt cutters vary in shape and size, ranging from12 inches to 42 inches. You can change the cutting blades on the bolt cutters. The cutting blades and jaws are made of tough metal alloys, making it possible for the bolt cutter to cut through hard metals. The correct bolt cutter to use depends on the type of material and the size of what you want to cut. In this article, we are going to discuss how to use bolt cutters, including preparation and precaution measures.
📖 Related Reading: Our reviews of the best bolt cutters
Preparations and Precautions Before Using Bolt Cutters
Before using bolt cutters, you need to prepare the tool to enhance effectiveness. Also, if not correctly handled, the bolt cutter might harm you and cause serious injuries. Here are some preparations and precautions to take before using bolt cutters.
• Select the correct bolt cutter – depending on the task at hand, select the correct bolt cutter to use. If you want to cut through thin metals, regular bolt cutters will work. When you want to cut thick metals or padlocks, then choose a heavy-duty bolt cutter. The bolt cutter that you use should have long handles for easy cutting.
• Oil the joints – always keep in mind that the joints of the bolt cutter need to be lubricated before use. If your bolt cutter has not been in use for a while, it might be stiff to open. Oiling the joints will loosen the hinges and make the bolt cutter easy and more effective when using. Lack of lubrication will cause sudden movements as you cut. This is risky because it will cause strain and can also make you cut yourself in the process.
• Adjust before use – to enhance effectiveness, you need to adjust the bolt cutters before use. At the cutting head of the bolt cutter, there is an adjustable bolt. Adjusting the bolt will help you set the correct tension for the cutting blade. Failure to adjust the bolts will make you exert excess pressure during cutting because of the wrong blade tension. As you try to exert more force to achieve cutting, you might accidentally cut yourself.
• Sharpen the cutting blades – before fixing the cutting blades, inspect them and if they are dull, ensure you sharpen them. Dull blades will require you to use more force while cutting, which might cause muscle strain that might result in muscle injuries.
• Additionally, dull blades compromise your safety while cutting by increasing the chances of accidental cuts.
• Wear protective clothing – the bolt cutter has sharp edges, which might cut your hands. That is why it is vital to wear protective gloves while handling the bolt cutter. The protective gloves will also give you a firm grip and prevent slipping of the bolt cutter.
Additionally, you need to wear safety goggles and a face shield. While cutting metal, tiny particles might fly and land on your face, causing injuries to your eyes.
• Handle cutting blades carefully – cutting blades are very sharp, and passing your hand over them to taste the sharpness is dangerous. The cutting blades can easily cut through your hands. That is why you need to be very careful when fixing the cutting blades.
• Choose a cutting point – the place you choose to do the cutting should be an open and unobstructed place. This will enable you to have a good grip of the metal with the bolt cutters’ jaws. If you cannot get an open place, you will need to use end-cut jaws that will reach confined places and hold the metal.
• Check the length of the bolt cutters – depending on the material of the object you want to cut, choose the correct handle. Long handles make it easy for you to cut through hard metals.
Ways to Use the Bolt Cutter
Once you have prepared your bolt cutter and worn the required protective gears, now it is time to do the actual cutting, you will need to identify the position to be cut, place the object in an open place, then start the cutting. Let us see some ways to use the bolt cutter.
1. How to Cut Lock and Padlock.
— Сan bolt cutters cut a lock?
You might forget your keys far from home or misplace them. This does not mean that you cannot get into the house. With the use of a bolt cutter, you can remove the lock and access your house. The bolt cutter you use to cut locks should be at least 24 inches long to make the cutting easy. Large bolt cutters work best in locks because locks are made of hard metals. Bolt cutters will work effectively when you want to cut padlocks or chain locks, but they might fail if the lock is made of hardened steel.
- Tilt the lock to the sides to enable easy cutting of the shackle from the sides
- Hold the bolt cutters handle tightly
- Open the bolt cutter blades
- Place the lock’s shackle between the bolt blades
- Spin the handle, applying pressure so that the blades break the shackle
2. How to Cut Rebar
Rebar’s can be hard to cut, but do not underestimate the power of bolt cutters. Bolt cutters have sharp blades, which have 4500 pounds of metal cutting force. Rebar is made of steel and can have sharp-edged. Therefore, you will need to wear protective gloves. Steel produces metal, and it would be best if you work in an open space free from flammable materials.
- Take the correct measurements of the rebar
- Put the markings on where you need to cut using chalk or any other marker
- Open the bolt cutter blades
- Place the rebar between the blades
- Hold the grips of the bolt cutter, and apply pressure until the blades cut through
3. How to Cut Chains
Various reasons might make you want to cut chains. You might want to shorten the chain to a specific length. With bolt cutters, it will be easy for you to get the desired length of the chains.
- Get extended bolt cutters
- Measure the chain, and mark the areas where you want to cut
- Place the links on the cutting blades
- Position the cutting blades, making sure that you cut through the long side of the links
- If the chain is small, you can cut both sides of the link at once
- If the chain is big, cut one side at a time
4. How to Cut Metal Rods
In construction sites, metal rods need to be cut to desired sizes to hold objects together. In most cases, the metal rods are made of steel, which calls for high-density bolt cutters.
- Mark the metal rods on the desired lengths
- Get big bolt cutters, preferably 45 inches
- Open the cutting blades
- Place the metal rod on the blades, ensuring you follow the marks
- Apply pressure on the handles until the blades cut through the metal rod
5. How to Cut Bolts and Other Screws
Bolts and other screws are not made of hard metals; therefore, you will use regular bolt cutters.
- Position the bolt on the cutting blades
- Apply force on the handles until the bolt cracks
6. How to Cut Electrical Cables
Bolt cutters have the ability to cut through thick electric cables. Place the electric wire on the cutting blades and apply pressure. This can help in case of an emergency rescue or when fixing electricity wiring. Electric cables are very thick, and scissors might not be able to cut through.
7. How to Cut Wire Mesh
Wire mesh is helpful at home when creating barriers to gardens. You will need to cut the wire mesh into desires length to construct the fence. First, you will have to measure the wire mesh and mark the places you need to cut. Proceed and place the wire mesh on the cutting blades then apply pressure on the handles.
Bolt cutters are essential at home and construction sites. Typically, you will need bolt cutters with heavy handles when you want to cut hard metals. With the guide above, it will be easy for you to use bolt cutters at home. You will need to assemble all the needed tools before you start cutting to enhance effectiveness. Keep in mind that bolt cutters should not be used as hammers. Using the bolt cutter handle to hammer nails might increase the chances of getting accidental cuts from the blades.