Rebar is one of those most versatile and affordable construction materials available, and there’s a ton of uses for it outside of its main use of reinforcing concrete. If you’ve never worked with rebar, working with it may seem intimidating at first. But, with the tips found in this guide, you’ll be able to learn how to cut rebar like a pro in just a few short minutes.
What You’ll Need
There are a few different ways you can cut rebar, and some work better than others. If possible, I’d recommend going the power tool route, as cutting rebar with a hacksaw is labor intensive, and rebar tends to chew through hacksaw blades.
Whether you’re working with a saw, a grinder, or a simple hacksaw, here are the tools you’ll need to get the job done right:
- Chop or miter saw, or angle grinder (you can also use a bench grinder, circular saw, or even a hacksaw in a pinch)
- Diamond blade or cut off blade
- Workbench ( a bench vise may come in handy as well, depending on what you’re using to cut)
- Tape Measure
- Piece of chalk
- Safety Goggles
Step I: Measuring the Job
Rebar is typically sold in lengths of about 20 feet. Chances are, you’ll be working with long lengths of rebar, so it’s important that you take accurate measurements. If you need to bend the rebar in any direction, you’ll also need to account for that in your measurements as well.
Use your tape measure to measure each of your cuts and mark the rebar with a piece of chalk, so you know where to begin your cut.
Step II: Making the Cut
When working with rebar, keep in mind that you’re cutting a metal surface with a metal blade. It’s going to generate sparks, and metal shavings will be flying through the air. For these reasons, you’ll want to exercise caution.
Make sure that you’re wearing proper safety equipment like goggles and gloves. You also should be wearing pants, long sleeves and work boots for this job if possible.
Depending on the type of saw you’re using, how you approach the cut will be different.
If you have a chop saw, miter saw or circular saw that you could outfit with a diamond blade, you’ll be able to make quick work of this job.
Load the rebar onto the saw and position it so that the mark you made for your cut is right under the saw’s blade. Next, turn your saw on and make the cut. Let the saw do the work, and don’t apply any excessive downward pressure during the cut. Allow the blade to stop fully before removing the cut rebar from your workspace.
If you don’t have a saw with a diamond blade at your disposal, an angle grinder or bench grinder is your next best bet. In fact, many professionals reach for an angle grinder for this job to save the wear and tear on their expensive diamond blades.
If the cutoff wheel in your grinder is showing signs of wear, it’s best to replace it with a new one before getting to work.
When using a grinder, it can be helpful to place the rebar onto saw horses, or inside of a bench vise before you begin cutting. Rebar has a tendency to roll as you cut it, so either secure it in a vise or use your free hand to grip the rebar as you cut.
Once you’re ready to start cutting, turn the grinder on, and with the grinder perpendicular to the rebar, begin your cut. Allow the grinder to do the work, and apply only light pressure as the wheel works its way through the rebar.
If you’re working with a truly bare-bones toolbox and you don’t have access to any of the tools we’ve mentioned so far, you can use a simple hacksaw to cut through rebar. Learning how to cut rebar with a hacksaw is an exercise in patience and arm strength, but using the proper blade will help speed the process.
Reach for a blade with 14-18 TPI, that’s designed for cutting heavy metals. Blades designed for general use, or for cutting thinner metals are no match for rebar, and you’ll be there all day trying to cut your first rod if you don’t have the proper blade.
When you’re ready to begin cutting, place the rebar in a bench vise to prevent it from rolling as you cut. Cut away from yourself using steady strokes, and use the entire length of the blade with each pass.
While it may seem intimidating at first, learning how to cut rebar is a fairly easy project that every serious DIYer should be able to tackle. Armed with these tips, you should have no problem making quick work of all your rebar cutting needs.