I think we’ve all been in a situation where we need to have a bolt cut. Perhaps it has rusted or maybe we just need to remove it quickly. What is the best way to cut a bolt?
The best choice for cutting a bolt is a standard bolt cutter. This tool is made specifically for that purpose, and it can cut a bolt off cleanly, even if it is in somewhat of a difficult area to reach.
Although we say that a bolt cutter is the best choice, it is by no means the only choice available. In reality, a wide variety of tools can be used for cutting bolts and each of them will have its own, specific reason why they are used.
As an example, we may be in a situation where we have a bolt that is loose and we need to cut it without damaging the threads. Obviously, a bolt cutter is not going to be the best choice.
Although it is possible to use a bolt cutter without damaging the threads on the bolt, it is usually much easier to use a different tool, such as a reciprocating saw or perhaps a hacksaw.
There are also tools that should not be used for this purpose. In this article, we will consider both, as well as some options you will want to have handy.
What Can You Use To Cut A Bolt?
We will discuss bolt cutters in greater depth in this article. The thing is, you may have a pair of bolt cutters at home but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the proper tool for the job.
Something else that needs to be considered is that many tools can be used for cutting bolts that are also used for other purposes. This can be anything from cutting wood to cutting ceramic tile.
It is not always the tool itself that must be considered but sometimes, it is the blade that is used in the tool. Blades that are made specifically for other purposes, such as cutting wood, would be ruined quickly if you use them for cutting metal.
Choosing the right blade is something that should not be underestimated. Regardless of whether you are using a Dremel tool or a tile cutter, always choose the right tool and in this case, the right blade for the job.
Sometimes, the choice of which tool you use for cutting a bolt is not going to be determined by a list of all of the tools but rather, by the one that fits the job. This is especially true if you are working in a very tight area, as you may not be able to get a bolt cutter in to get the job done.
In addition, there may be times when you are dealing with an older, rusty bolt that needs to be removed. In some cases, it may not actually be necessary to cut the bolt but with the right tools, you may be able to remove the nut and save the bolt.
One other thing to consider is how to clean up the bolt so it is still usable after you cut it. This is going to be necessary in many cases, perhaps even if you are using something such as a hacksaw to cut the bolt.
Cleaning up the threads is important because you want to get the bolt started properly when you begin to thread it. There are tools that can be used specifically for that purpose, such as a tap and die set.
More than likely, however, you are going to be cleaning up the threads with a file or perhaps a bench grinder. It takes a very steady hand to do this properly, and if you are using a power tool, you need to have a firm grip on the bolt, perhaps even using vice grips.
Finally, let’s talk about safety for a moment. Anytime you are doing any work cutting metal, it’s important to wear the proper PPE and to be cautious in how you approach the work.
Have a plan in advance and don’t simply jump into the middle of the project without thinking things through for a moment. Think about how you are going to do it safely and avoid getting cut or worse while you are working.
Gloves may be important in some cases but in others, they could actually be a hindrance. Make sure that you are using gloves that are appropriate to the task you are doing.
Eye protection is vital when you are doing this type of work. Proper safety glasses, not your prescription glasses, are essential. You might even find that using a face shield is beneficial if you are grinding on the bolt for any reason.
Let’s take a look at some of the different methods and tools that can be used for cutting bolts. We will also consider some that should never be used.
Can You Use a Bolt Cutter To Cut A Bolt?
If you have a bolt cutter can it actually be used for cutting bolts? The answer might surprise you.
Bolt cutters can be used for cutting many heavy types of metals that are not able to be cut with shears. This includes bolts, such as those that have rusted or may be in a position where they can’t be removed otherwise.
Although bolt cutters can be used for cutting bolts, not every cutter is going to be used for every bolt. You need to consider the amount of power you have with the bolt cutter, or you could damage the tool.
Generally speaking, you can cut up to a 9/32 inch diameter bolt using an 18-inch bolt cutter. If you have a larger bolt, such as a 5/16 inch bolt, you will need to use a 24-inch bolt cutter.
It is also important to consider the hardness of the material you are cutting. Most bolts are not overly hard, but if you are trying to cut a material that is very hard, it could damage the bolt cutter if you use the wrong size.
Can You Use a Saw To Cut A Bolt?
A saw is a very handy tool for cutting. Is it just as handy for cutting a bolt?
Hacksaws are typically used for cutting bolts but other types of saws, such as a reciprocating saw, can cut the bolt faster. Choose the type of saw that is appropriate for the task and then make sure you are using a metal cutting blade.
Using the right blade when cutting a bolt is something that should not be underestimated. If you use the wrong blade, it will ruin the blade almost immediately.
You should also consider that a reciprocating saw will work faster but a hacksaw will make a cleaner cut.
Can You Use Dremel To Cut A Bolt?
Most of us have a Dremel tool at home. They are handy for small projects but are they equally as handy for cutting bolts?
Since a Dremel tool can typically fit into a hard-to-reach area, it is a great option for cutting off an old, rusty bolt. As long as you use the proper attachment that is meant for cutting metal, you can cut through the bolt cleanly.
You can also use a Dremel tool for cutting other bolts, as it makes a very clean cut that does not typically need to be cleaned up for the threads.
There are also Dremel tools that are similar to an angle grinder. These are heavy-duty and are much different than the types of Dremel tools we may use for crafts around the home.
If you have access to one of those larger Dremel tools, you will find it very convenient for cutting bolts. Make sure that you are using the proper attachment that is made for cutting metal and it will do a great job.
Can You Use Angle Grinder To Cut A Bolt?
Angle grinders are undoubtedly a very handy tool. Are they equally as handy for cutting bolts?
You can easily use angle grinders to shave off bolts if you are able to access them. Angle grinders are made for that purpose, and you can even get a metal cutting blade to make the best use of them.
When cutting bolts with an angle grinder, you can do so carefully to save the threads as much as possible. You can also use an angle grinder to destroy the bolt as you cut it if you are demoing the area.
Always wear safety glasses because the bolts can go flying when they are cut with an angle grinder.
Can You Use Grinder To Cut A Bolt?
Grinders are sometimes used for cutting. Is it a good tool for use with cutting bolts?
A bench grinder can be used for cutting bolts as long as you have a metal cutting disk installed. It will often make a very clean cut because those discs are also abrasive on the sides.
If you are using a bench grinder to cut a bolt, you have to have a firm grip on the bolt or it will become a projectile. Use a vice grip to get a good handle on it and make sure you wear your safety glasses.
Can You Use Hacksaw To Cut A Bolt?
Hacksaws are often used for cutting metal but will it really cut through a bolt?
You can cleanly cut through a bolt with a hacksaw but it will take some time to do it. If you are cutting a larger bolt, make sure you use the entire blade of the hacksaw if possible to cut it more quickly.
If you are cutting through a small bolt that is loose, secure it in a bench vise. Otherwise, you can tighten the bolt in the chuck of a cordless drill and let the drill do the work as you run the bolt over a hacksaw blade.
Some bolts can be made of a very hard material that makes it difficult to cut properly with a hacksaw. You can cut through it, but it will take more time and you may go through more blades.
Most people tend to use the very center of the hacksaw blade. You can make the most out of every cut by going the entire length from the front to the back of the blade. This will speed up how quickly the bolt is cut.
Can You Use Sawzall To Cut A Bolt?
A Sawzall is a very convenient tool. Is it also as convenient to use a reciprocating saw when cutting a bolt?
As long as you are using a metal cutting blade, you can use a reciprocating saw for cutting a bolt. This is true of a Sawzall or any other brand-name of reciprocating saw.
If you are careful, you can use the reciprocating saw to cut a bolt without causing too much damage to the threads. Otherwise, you can just demo the bolt as you cut it off.
Since you are cutting using a power tool, you need to use caution when the bolts are cut off. A reciprocating saw could easily send the bolt airborne and it becomes a projectile that could cause damage to your eyes.
Always wear the proper eye protection, which would be either regular safety glasses or safety glasses that fit over your prescription glasses. Your prescription glasses are not a safe option for cutting metal.
Can You Use Multi Tool To Cut A Bolt?
A multi-tool is an excellent choice for cutting through a bolt. Be sure you are using a metal cutting attachment and it will cut through the bolt quickly and cleanly. In hard-to-reach areas, you can also use the multi-tool with a metal cutting chisel.
Can You Use Oscillating Tool To Cut A Bolt?
Oscillating tools are an excellent choice for cutting bolts, particularly in difficult-to-reach areas. Make sure you are using a blade that is specific for cutting metal and guide the tool carefully so you don’t cause too much damage to the threads if you want to use them again.
Can You Use Plasma Cutter To Cut A Bolt?
A plasma cutter is an excellent tool for cutting through any metal, including bolts. It works similar to a gas torch but cuts through the bolt much cleaner. If you have access to a plasma cutter, you can cut the bolt and reuse it without a problem.
Can You Use Drill To Cut A Bolt?
A drill is not a proper tool for cutting a bolt but it can be used in one interesting way. You can insert a bolt in the chuck of the drill and then spin the bolt with the drill as you run it along a hacksaw blade. It will cut through the bolt quickly and cleanly.
Can You Use Jigsaw To Cut A Bolt?
A jigsaw equipped with a metal cutting blade can be used for cutting bolts of all sizes. It is particularly beneficial for cutting bolts that may be in a tight area, as the jigsaw blade can fit in a tight area.
Best Way On How To Cut A Bolt
If you have to cut a bolt, you should always cut it the best way possible. There is one method that tends to work better than all others.
If you are simply cutting a bolt to remove it, you should use a bolt cutter. This tool will make quick work out of almost any job that requires cutting bolts or similar items.
After you cut a bolt using the bolt cutter, you will likely have some damage to the end of the bolt. If you are cutting it in order to use it again, then you may need to clean up the threads.
The best way to clean up the threads is with a small file. Put the bolt in a bench vise and carefully work the end of the bolt with the file until you have removed any of the rough edges. This will allow it to thread properly.
Another method for cleaning up the threads is to use a grinder. You can use an angle grinder with an abrasive metal wheel while the bolt is in the bench vise. Otherwise, carefully use the bench grinder while securing the bolt in some vice grips.
Although it is good to know the best way to cut a bolt, there are always going to be options to consider. Some of these may be if the bolt is rusted or if it is in a tight spot.
As we discussed throughout this article, almost any tool that is used for cutting can be used for cutting a bolt. The real key is to use a blade that is made for cutting metal. Otherwise, you will ruin the blade quickly.
The best tool for cutting a bolt is a bolt cutter. They are made for that purpose so that you can put an extreme amount of pressure on the bolt with only a minimal amount of pressure on the tool. After cutting the bolt with a bolt cutter, clean up the threads with a file if you plan on using it again.