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How to adjust the jaws on bolt cutters?

How to adjust the jaws on bolt cutters?

The position of bolt cutter blades can be adjusted using either the jaw adjustment bolts, located on the plate that is mounted across the two jaws, or the neck adjustment bolt, located near to where the blade joins the handle on one side of the tool.


(If your bolt cutters have two adjustment bolts, there will be one on each side.)


Both types of adjustment bolt are eccentric, that is they have an asymmetrically shaped shaft that is similar to a cam.


As a result, turning the bolt will cause part of the blade to either be pulled towards or pushed away from the joint, adjusting the gap between the blades, or the angle at which one of them is set.


Which Direction to Turn Bolts?

A clockwise turn on any of the bolts should cause the cutting edges at the tip of the jaws to move closer together, while an anti-clockwise turn should move them further apart. 


Always watch the movement of your blades as you adjust them to make sure this is the case as different bolt cutters may vary.

Neck Adjustment Bolts

The adjustment bolts mounted on the neck of bolt cutters can be used to alter the angle of the jaws. Turning the bolts will alter the angle of the blades, bringing the tips closer together or moving them further apart.


When would you use Neck Adjustment Bolts?


The neck adjustment bolts are the go-to adjusters for general use, as they can fine-tune the gap between the blades by tilting them, rather than changing their entire position.


These bolts will most commonly be used to make sure that your bolt cutters are properly set up before using them for a job.

How to adjust Neck Adjustment Bolts?

Step 1 - Secure Bolt Cutters

Place the head of your bolt cutters, jaws closed, in a vice, or hold the tool firmly between your knees. If it only has one neck adjustment bolt, make sure that this is pointing upwards.

Step 2 - Turn Bolt

Using an open-ended spanner, turn the adjustment bolt clockwise, moving the adjacent blade inwards towards the other blade.

Step 3 - Repeat if Necessary

If your tool has a second neck adjustment bolt, then turn the cutters over in the vice halfway through and turn this bolt, in the same manner, to draw in the other blade an equal distance.

Step 4 - Check Gap Width with a Piece of Paper

Once you have arrived at a narrow, equal gap between the jaws, take the tool out of the vice, open the arms slightly and clamp a single piece of paper between the blades. 


If you can pull out the piece of paper easily, they need closing a little further. If they clamp the paper lightly, then you have the gap just right.


Step 5 - Readjust if Necessary

If the paper, when you release it, has a marked groove in it then the jaws are probably a little too tight and you need to slacken them off. Turn the adjustment bolt(s) anti-clockwise slightly to adjust the gap. 


There is no benefit in having the blades very tightly closed, as material is crushed, not sliced, between them. Over-tight jaws could result in damage to the hardened blade edges.


Jaw Adjustment Bolts

The adjustment bolts mounted on the jaws of bolt cutters can be used to alter the distance between the bevelled cutting edges along the length of the jaws. Turning the bolts will move the blades closer together or push them further apart, opening or closing the gap between them in its entirety.


 When would you use Jaw Adjustment Bolts?


Jaw adjustment bolts tend to be used after sharpening the blades on bolt cutters. This is to compensate for the increase in the distance between them from the metal that has been ground away during the sharpening process.


You may also use these bolts if adjusting the blades with the neck adjustment bolts is not bringing the blades close enough together.

These bolts should only be used rarely. The neck adjustment bolts are designed to be easier to operate on a regular basis and allow for more precise tuning as they can tilt the tips of the blades through a wider range of positions.

How to adjust Jaw Adjustment Bolts?

Step 1 - Secure Bolt Cutters

Clamp your tool securely in a vice so that the jaw adjustment bolts are accessible.

Step 2 - Turn Bolt

Turn your bolt clockwise with an open-ended spanner to move the blades closer together, or anti-clockwise to move them further apart.

Wonkee Donkee Tools