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How to replace the jaws on bolt cutters?

How to replace the jaws on bolt cutters

Shop for Bolt Cutters

Pair of eplacement bolt cutter jaws - clipper cut blades Bolt cutter jaws can be replaced once they have been worn down through use and repeated sharpening.
Close-up of bolt cutter head showing two adjustment bolts, one on either side of neck To replace them, you need to unscrew the two sets of bolts on the neck and head of the tool and loosen any neck adjustment bolts.

What you will need

Equipment needed to replace bolt cutter jaws: a vice, a crescent wrench and appropriate-sized screwdrivers
  • An open-ended spanner
  • Screwdrivers for any retaining screws on the jaw plate (although bolts are more common)
  • Vice
An empty blue vice

Step 1 – Hold tool steady

You may have to use considerable force to turn what may be very tight bolts, so it is sensible to clamp the handles of the bolt cutters in a vice, with the head upwards, before you start.

A pair of replacement bolt cutter jaws, separated and seen from side on

Step 2 – Unscrew bolts

Bolt cutters with replaceable jaws have two pairs of bolts, corresponding to the two pairs of bolt holes on replacement blades. Unscrew the bolts at the neck end first, which will detach the jaws from the tool, and then unscrew the plate which holds the blades together.

Crescent wrench tightening bolt to secure new jaws to a pair of bolt cutters.

Step 3 – Screw new jaws onto tool

Attach the new jaws to your tool using the above procedure, but in reverse.

Man examining gap in the jaws of his bolt cutters, which are closed and held in a vice

Step 4 – Adjust jaw gap, if necessary

It may well be that you need to adjust the position of the blades on your tool, once you have changed the jaws. For a step by step guide, see: How to adjust the jaws on bolt cutters

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