How To Cut Bolts The Right Way

How To Cut Bolts The Right Way

Every now and then, you may find yourself facing an obstacle when working on a project.

A common obstacle you might encounter is not having the right size bolt for the job which means it can be handy to have the right tools to rectify the problem and get the exact size you actually need.

While cutting a bolt to size sounds relatively easy, thanks to the proliferation of tools like bolt cutters, it can actually go very wrong if you don’t carry it out correctly and perform the right bolt cut.

Using a vise can damage the threads, and using a bolt cutter might leave you with a double-angled end that is difficult to place, even when using other tools. 

This guide will show you the best way to cut a bolt the right length without damaging the threads, and the best kinds of tools to help you to get the job just right, and achieve a perfect cut from the right blades. 

Why You Might Need To Cut A Bolt?

There are plenty of reasons why a bolt might need to be cut using a blade.

Firstly, the bolt might need to be shortened to fit into place comfortably, and it could just be as simple as that, and luckily, you only need a few tools to rectify such an issue in a careful way that will help you to cut bolts to the right length every time.

You may also want to cut a bolt for cosmetic purposes.

Leaving the end of a bolt extended too far past the nut doesn’t look great, so you might want to cut the bolt so your project looks more aesthetically pleasing, and avoid thread damage using the right blade, which can be especially important for small bolts.

If you do want to cut a bolt for this reason, then it’s wise to leave at least three full threads beyond the nut as you cut.

What Not To Do

There are many ways to cut a bolt however it should be done with extreme caution whenever you cut with a blade. Cutting with a blade can be difficult and dangerous, so make sure you are cutting with a blade as safely as possible.

Try to use a hacksaw with a new hacksaw blade attached. While it may seem like the best method, cutting a bolt with an electric drill and a hacksaw is an accident waiting to happen, and will put your bolts in a bad position and can damage your other power tool.

No matter how you go about cutting your bolts, you should make sure to wear eye protection.

Types Of Bolts

Before we go into the best way of cutting a bolt, let’s consider the different types of bolts that are available.

Knowing the different variations of bolts may help you in the future when choosing the right type for the project you’re undertaking, and what kinds of screw you may need, and whether you may need to use a blade to start cutting any protrusions.

T-Head Bolts

In order to secure the bolt in place and keep it from turning when the fastening nut is tightened, T-head or T-slot bolts have a head design that allows them to be put into a slot or recess. Applications for T-bolts include securing fuel tanks.


Fasteners with two male threads on each end that are used with mounting plate brackets and attachment nuts.

They are fasteners in the shape of the letter U, to make them easy to screw into position and thread into the right hole using the correct tool, and will not require the use of a blade.

They have a variety of uses, from supporting pipes to drive shafts and exhaust systems in automobiles.

Flange Bolts

Flange bolts are fasteners that have a washer-like surface or flange beneath the head that allows the clamping load to be dispersed across a greater surface area, thereby minimising the risk of damaging the surface that these fasteners will pair with.

The plumbing and automotive industries both frequently use flange bolts.

Hex Bolts

Hex bolts, also known as hexagonal head bolts, are a very popular type of bolt that come in both metric and inch standard dimensions. These bolts, as their name suggests, have a hexagonal head that may be tightened with a wrench or socket.

They are often used to secure metal or wood, either together or to one another, and screw securely in place with nuts and require no other tool.

Machine Bolts

Machine bolts are similar to hex bolts in appearance but lack a chamfered point and a washer-bearing surface on the underside of the head. They are used to join two pieces of material using only one nut.

Double End Bolts

Double-end bolts, also known as stud bolts, have a threaded section without a conventional head on each end of the bolt.

While one end protrudes and is threaded to support a nut, the other end is intended to be threaded into a suitable hole that has been tapped with a matched thread making it great for working with nuts on metal.

Blind Bolts

Blind bolts are a type of bolt that enables the use of a fastener in applications where access to both sides of the bolt is not possible in order to torque or tighten the bolt. You must use a proprietary method to screw in a blind bolt.

Anchor Bolts

An anchor bolt is a bolt that is designed to attach a structural component to a slab of concrete or a poured foundation, making them a truly effective tool for construction, but perhaps less so when working with metal. 

Carriage Bolts

Carriage bolts are a type of self-locking bolt with a flush-mount domed head that only allows access from the nut side of the bolt. They are made to be completely secure, especially when use in metal. They are truly a perfect tool when working with metal.

Eye Bolts

Eye bolts substitute the conventional bolt head for a fully or partially closed-looped end. In some circumstances, the object to which the eye bolt is fastened can be lifted using the loop.

Some eye bolts can be used to cleanly route wire, cables, or other similar parts, preventing unintentional interference, especially when using them to fasten metal using whatever tool you deem necessary.

Socket Head Bolts

Socket head bolts have a recessed head that is tightened using an Allen wrench or hex socket tool. The ability to apply more torque to these fasteners while reducing the chance of stripping or breaking the head is made possible by the deeper recessed Allen socket head.

Square-Headed Bolts

Before hex head bolts were invented, square-head bolts were used rather frequently to clamp materials together.

Even though they are still readily available, square bolts are mostly utilized in railway applications or to create the look of an older, more classic appearance that other tools cannot achieve.

Penta-Head Bolts

An example of a tamper-resistant bolt is a penta-head bolt, which may be used in settings where it is preferred to lessen the possibility that a person might need to loosen or remove the bolt.

Round Head Bolts

Round-head bolts resemble carriage bolts in appearance but lack the square taper beneath the domed head and are often used to join wood. Because wood is softer than other materials, it can be compressed against its surface and gripped by friction.

Shoulder Bolts

Bolts with a threaded segment that is smaller in diameter than the bolt shoulder are referred to as shoulder bolts or stripper bolts. Shoulder bolts can serve as an axle or shaft that can house a spinning component, such as a bearing or a bushing.

How To Cut A Bolt

Step 1 - Gather Your Tools

First, you need to gather everything you need to cut the bolt. You’ll need some scrap wood, a saw, a hacksaw with a strong saw blade that is perfect for cutting metal, a drill or driver, pliers, and vice grips or clamps.

You will also want to make sure that you have a steady hand, so that you can apply all force needed for accurate cutting as you use your hacksaw or other tool.

Step 2 - Prepare Wood

Depending on how long you want your bolt to be, cut your scrap wood so it is the same thickness. For example, if your bolt needs to be 1 inch long, then make sure your wood is 1 inch thick, to ensure that its tip does not protrude to an unsightly length or look silly.

On the face of the wood, drill a hole that is one size smaller than the bolt you need to cut, to ensure a straight job.

Step 3 - Place Bolt

Next, mount the prepared wood into a vise or clamps. Using your drill or driver, slowly drive the bolt through the drilled hole until the head of the bolt comes flush with the wood face.

Step 4 - Cut And Finish

Finally, using your hacksaw, hold it flush against the wood and carefully move the hacksaw back and forth to begin cutting the bolt.

Hold the end of the bolt with pliers for cleaner cutting, and to ensure that it does not unscrew, and to keep an accurate measure over its length as you cut.

Final Word

There you have it! This is the best and safest way to cut a bolt to your preferred length.

With this guide, you’ll be able to solve your bolt problems in no time, and now you need not search the internet all over for handy ways to shorten bolts without any need for complicated things like a reciprocating saw, an angle grinder, or a dremel tool.


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