How to Cut Hardware Cloth Quickly and Easily

How this flexible wire fencing got the name “hardware cloth” is anyone’s guess. While it may be hard, it certainly isn’t cloth, and learning how to cut hardware cloth can be a source of anxiety for a DIYer who needs to use some for their next project.

Fortunately, if you need to know how to cut hardware cloth, there are a few quick ways to get the job done with simple tools you probably already have in your toolbox.

What You’ll Need

For our purposes today, we’re going to cover two ways of how to cut hardware cloth. If you need to cut just a few sections of hardware cloth, your trusty pair of tin snips will do the job just fine.

But, if you’re working on a larger project that requires you to cut many sections of hardware cloth, using tin snips can be tedious, and it can also wreak havoc on your hands, especially if you aren’t wearing heavy work gloves. Either way, you go about it, here’s what you’ll need:

Step I: Measuring for the Project

The first thing you’ll need to do is measure your project, so you know how much hardware cloth you’ll need to complete the job. Use your tape measure to record measurements for the different pieces of hardware cloth you’ll need to cut.

Once you’ve taken your measurements, you can purchase an appropriate amount of hardware cloth from the store of your choosing.

Step II: Laying Out the Hardware Cloth

Now that you’re ready to begin cutting the hardware cloth, you’ll want to lay it out, so you can begin cutting. Since hardware cloth comes in a large roll, it can be difficult to get it to lay down nicely as you try and cut.

Instead of fighting with the hardware cloth the entire time you’re working, it can be helpful to use bricks, a big rock, or whatever else you may have around to get the hardware cloth to lay nice and flat. That way it’s easier to work with.

Once you’ve laid out the cloth, use your tape measure to measure out a section of cloth for your first cut. Once you’ve measured, use your marker to roughly mark your cut.

Step III: Cutting Hardware Cloth

If you just need to cut a few sections of hardware cloth, it’s best to rely on your trusty tin snips. I recommend you wear gloves for this process because it will save you some serious wear and tear on your hands.

If possible, try to clip each section as close to one of the vertical wires as possible. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a sharp, jagged edge that protrudes beyond the edge of your fence.

If you’re going to be cutting many sections of cloth, the tin snips might not be practical. If that’s the case, your best bet will be to use an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel. Using the angle grinder can help to save you time and wear and tear on your hands.

Before you begin cutting, make sure you’re taking proper safety precautions. Always wear gloves and protective eyewear. You may also want to consider hearing protection.

Now that you’re ready to cut turn your angle grinder on and cut straight through each grid on the hardware cloth slowly and deliberately.

Just like I mentioned in regards to the tin snips, try to cut through each section as close to one of the vertical support wires as possible. This will make it easier for you to clean up any jagged edges that remain once you’re done cutting.

Repeat this cutting process for as many sections of hardware cloth as you need.

Step IV: Cleaning Up Your Work

Once you’ve cut all of the sections of your hardware cloth, you’ll want to clean up the edges of your work. This helps ensure that your work is clean, and more importantly, it will help prevent the hardware cloth from becoming a safety hazard.

Lay out all your pieces of hardware cloth and run your file along each of the barbed edges that remain.

The level of care you want to take on this step is up to you. Some people prefer to get any barbed ends of the hardware cloth flush with the vertical support wire, which basically eliminates any safety concerns.

Other people are just trying to make sure nobody is going to get stabbed if they brush up against the hardware cloth, so they run the file over the cut sections a few times to take the edge off.

Final Word

Fortunately, when it comes to how to cut hardware cloth, there are a few easy ways to get the job done. Hopefully, you’re feeling much more confident in your ability to tackle your new project now that you’ve read this guide.

As with all projects, work smart, work safe, and have fun!

About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I've made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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