How to Cut Wire Shelving

Ventilated wire shelving is affordable, versatile, and available in a lot of options.

Yet another benefit is its ease of installation. Most of the time, it’s easy to install in a closet, garage, or another area of the home in its store-bought condition.

Sometimes, however, the standardized lengths that it comes in just don’t work with the room you’re installing the wire shelving in.

Even though it might seem intimidating and difficult to cut, with just a basic idea of the process and the right tools it’s actually very easy.

Here’s how to cut wire shelving to your desired length.

What You’ll Need

Like most home DIY projects, there are a lot of different ways to go about cutting wire shelving.

But I’m going to focus on the method most accessible for the majority of homeowners out there.

Unlike professionals with access to a wider variety of tools, most homeowners own a basic set of tools. And it’s typically not worth it to invest in a specialized tool since you’ll likely only cut wire shelving a handful of times in your life.

That said, it’s possible to easily cut wire shelving with simple hand tools (that you might already have at home!).

Here’s what you’ll need:

Step I: Prepare for the Cut

Measure the width of your closet or room before you buy your wire shelving.

Much of the time you’ll be able to find wire shelving that actually fits into the space without cutting as it comes in a variety of sizes.

If you do still need to make a cut, these measurements will enable you to measure and mark the wire shelving where it needs to be cut.

Step II: Make the Cut

Next, hold the wire shelving firmly between your feet, so it doesn’t move during the cut.

Take your cutting tool – in this case, a pair of bolt cutters – and gently cut through the cut line.

Chances are you’ll have to make several small cuts to break through each of the wires.

Step III: Smooth the Edges

Bolt cutters, and most alternative cutting methods, will leave sharp, possibly dangerous edges on the shelving.

While this might not be an issue if the ends of the shelving will be flush with a wall, it’s so easy to smooth out the edges that there’s almost no reason not to.

A small drum sander or even a piece of sandpaper will smooth out the edges enough for our purposes.

Step IV: Install

Your wire shelving has been cut and is now ready to install.

If your measurements or cuts were slightly off, you might have to make additional small cuts.

Most sets of wire shelving come with a number of wall clips and other small parts to make installation easy.

I always recommend buying more of these than you think you’ll actually need as you’ll typically go through more than the standard amount.

To install your wire shelving, simply attach the wall clips and retaining clips to the wall and then attach the shelving unit to them.

Alternative Options

In my opinion, a bolt cutter is the best tool to cut wire shelving.

Not only is it the choice of most professionals, but it makes clean cuts quickly. It also works with a variety of diameter of wires.

However, you might not own a bolt cutter. If you own one of the following tools, you can alternatively use it to make these cuts.

Other options for how to cut wire shelving include a hacksaw, reciprocating saw, or circular saw.

  • Hacksaw – Very cheap option, but requires more effort. You must also select a hacksaw with the proper blade.
  • Reciprocating Saw – Makes very clean cuts, although slightly more dangerous. Also requires a specific blade.
  • Circular Saw – You’ll get clean cuts with the right blade, but can be slightly difficult without adequate measuring and preparation beforehand.

Yet another alternative is to take your wire shelving unit to a home improvement store. Most home improvement stores, especially big-box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot, have air operated cutters to cut wire shelving and similar objects.

If you purchase the wire shelving at one of these stores, and already know your needed measurements (measure beforehand!), they’ll even make the cuts for free.

These home improvement stores also offer rentals on reciprocating saws, circular saws, and bolt cutters for your home DIY projects.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to cut wire shelving is incredibly easy.

When you use a bolt cutter, the job is quick and simple. It leaves clean cuts that need very little sanding to smooth out.

Don’t own bolt cutters? Then one of the alternative methods on our list will help you cut and install your wire shelving in no time.

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.

Leave a Comment