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How to use ratchet bolt cutters?

     How to use ratchet bolt cutters

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The head of a set of powerful bolt cutters which have a ratchet hinge mechanism High quality bolt cutters with a powerful ratchet hinge (where locking gear rotates and holds the blades tighter every time you squeeze the handles) are used in a similar way to conventional bolt cutters, with just a few differences.
Person trying to bend thick metal rod, illustrating that pairs of bolt cutters can only cut material within their individual capabilities

Step 1 – Assess material

As with all bolt cutters, it is important not to attempt to cut material which is too tough for the blades. Check, before you start, that the metal or other substance you are cutting is not too hard for your tool.

A man using high quality ratchet head bolt cutters, which often have a button for releasing the handles

Step 2 – Release handles

There is sometimes a button at the jaw end of the tool which you press to release the handles. Open them wide to spread the jaws.

Ratchet bolt cutter jaws gripping well around steel rebar on building site

Step 3 – Enclose material

Position the jaws of the bolt cutter so that the material is as far down the blades towards the neck as possible (where the cutting force is strongest). Close the jaws to grip the material firmly and stop it slipping out.

Police using bolt cutters with one arm of the tool braced, so they can both push on the other

Step 4 – Brace one handle

Steady one handle (the side without the ratchet lock) against your leg, on the ground, or on another convenient surface.

Yachtsman putting pressure onto top arm of bolt cutters, while bottom one is braced against the boat

Step 5 – Apply force to ratchet handle

Slowly and firmly press the non-braced handle of the tool towards the other one.

Ratchet bolt cutters with the ratchet arm labelled

Step 6 – Repeat

Once you have exerted the maximum force you can with the initial cut, pull the ratchet handle away from the other one – spreading the two as far apart as possible – then bring them together again. Repeat this movement – each time tightening the jaws a little further – until the material is cut through

Man holding thick piping which has just been cut by ratchet bolt cutters

Step 7 – Remove bolt cutter

Once you have achieved a full cut, move the bolt cutters away from the material. If there is a release button, press it, and then pump the handles of the tool until the jaws reopen completely.

Wonkee Donkee Tools