Toolsday: Mini Bolt Cutters

If you do a lot of tinkering and improvised building, you probably use a lot of "hanger wire". This wire is the kind of hard, thick wire they make dry cleaners' shirt hangers out of, and that's where I get most of the hard wire I use. This stuff is thick enough and hard enough that it's great to make hooks and small tools out of, but it's a bear to cut with regular wire cutters. I used to have a pair of linesman's pliers with hard wire cutters at the sides like fencing pliers often do, but those were sadly stolen. How, I use these mini bolt cutters.

Mini Bolt Cutters

Standard bolt cutters are large enough and heavy enough to cut through padlock bolts, construction bolts, and most chain. Their heavy cutters and extreme leverage make easy work out of something that would otherwise take a saw to get through.

These "mini" bolt cutters are only about nine inches long, but they still use the compound hinge of a standard bolt cutter to add leverage to the cut. The jaws only open to admit about an eighth of an inch of material for cutting, but they cut even hard wire easily and smoothly. Heavy gauge copper wire, which is relatively soft but often awkward to cut quickly, is also no problem.

This pair is from H.K.Porter, which I think is a Crescent brand. They cost about $15 and are available at most good hardware stores.

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2010.06.08 at 12:00am EDT