Cutting a Bolt Down the Correct Way

Cutting a bolt down - Getting it right

So you need a 75mm bolt or set screw for a specific job you that have in mind. You go to your bolt tin and you find a couple of items that are exactly the right diameter but they are too long. You take one out and cut it down with a hacksaw, push it into position and hey presto – the nut won’t screw on! You try cleaning it up with a file or some emery paper but it still doesn’t work. So frustrating!

But hold on. There’s a trick to this. Before you rush off to buy the exact size, make yourself a cup of tea and read the instructions below.

Cutting bolts down the right way

Take the bolt that you want to cut and screw two nuts onto it. Continue to screw the nuts on until they are above the point where you want to make your cut. The addition of the nuts will help you to secure the bolt more easily in the vice or clamp. This removes the problem of holding the bolt against the force needed to make the cut.

Now go ahead and, using either a hacksaw or bolt cutter, cut the bolt in your chosen position. A hacksaw is always preferable, especially for larger bolts.

Cutting Bolts

Once you have made the cut, very lightly file the rim of the cut using a fine or medium metal file – at this point you are only interested in removing any large shards of metal. Now remove the first nut. It may be a bit difficult when you get to the section but it should go. This is the first “clean”.

Now take up the file again and trim any excess visible metal away from the cut edge. When that is done, unscrew the second nut until its threads are actually sitting on the cut. Wind the nut forwards and backwards several times – without actually removing the nut from the bolt. Once you have done this a few times the nut should be moving freely across the threads. Finally, take an abrasive sheet and gently buff up the cut edge. Job done!