Sometimes you have the problem of a screw that is too long or a wired rod that has to be shortened. To save yourself the (perhaps arduous) trip to the hardware store, you can simply saw off this screw. In this post, you will learn what you need to do, how to proceed, and how you should rather not do it.
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What you shouldn’t use for sawing off a screw
While it is widely used, I cannot recommend using a washer to cut a screw to length. Firstly, you can usually not work with a cutting disc (even if it is only 1 mm thick) as precisely as with a hand saw, and secondly, due to the strong friction, the screw at the end of the cut glows out. This makes it more prone to rust.
Using a jigsaw or circular saw is not the right option – only with the hand saw for metal you can wisely achieve your goal, in my opinion.
Sawing off a screw – what you need
Whenever I saw off a wire or a screw, I use the following tool:
- The affected screw or wire rod
- Two to three matching nuts
- Clamp screw (with wooden plate) or a vice
- Metal hand saw (metal hacksaw, or a mini metal saw)
- Cooling or cutting oil
- Metal file
Related: Best table saw under $1000
How to saw off the screw – step by step
Here I have documented step-by-step how to saw off a screw and how you can proceed:
Step 1 – Determine the length and screw on the nuts.
The first thing to do is determine the length that will be sawn off. To do this, simply measure the desired length with a ruler. Before doing this, screw two nuts onto the thread. The front nut serves as a guide, the rear nut “locks” the front nut to no longer turn. So you have perfect guidance. Also, the wire is spared because it does not hold.
The guide nut is used to guide the saw, and the lock nut holds the guide nut in place.
Step 2 – Fastening the screw.
Next, you need to fix the screw well. A vice is ideal for this. If you don’t have one, you can use a clamp screw. Tension a piece of wood between the screw and the clamp so that the screw is not bent or damaged:
Clamp the screw with a clamp and make sure that it protrudes sufficiently to be able to saw.
Saw a wired rod without a screw head, then screw on the third nut at the other end, and only then clamp the rod. This will prevent injuries to the thread.
Related: Best porta band saw
Step 3 – Saw off the screw.
Now take one of your hand saws for metal or a simple metal saw blade with a bracket and start cutting along the guide nut. Make sure that your movements are even and not jerky. The saw should have a very fine-toothed blade.
Add some cutting oil at the beginning and in between. This ensures that it does not overheat and protects the saw blade.
It is also easy to saw off a wire with a clamped saw blade (mini metal saw).
Step 4 – Post-processing the interface
After the cut, the interface can look like this:
If a burr has remained, you should now grind it away.
If a burr has remained, you should file it away with a flat and fine metal file. Be careful not to file away more than necessary.
You can also file back any protruding wire along the cutting line.
You don’t need to saw off a screw very often, but that can happen. It’s easy and can be done in minutes, provided you have the right tools at hand.
Do it with a handsaw for metal – this is how you get the best result, in my opinion.