How to Cut a Screw

[Cover] How to Cut a Screw

Whether at work or at home, you can’t avoid facing the need to cut screws, nails, or similar things as you will inevitably encounter them sooner or later. So, how to cut a screw in an easy and safe manner?

From previous trial and error, we can safely tell you that you mostly need this procedure when either the head of a nail is bent, or that of a screw gets stripped out, removing the ability to push it more or withdraw it.

In such case, cutting the pesky metal is the least time-consuming alternative, even though it might be a daunting task for those who haven’t attempt it before. That’s why we’ll be showing you today how exactly you can cut nails and screws easily and efficiently so you can avoid having this situation ruin your work. All you have to do is follow this guide.

How to Cut a Screw: Here’s What You Will Need

There are numerous different ways to cut nails and screws, and for every one of them, you’ll need various tools.

  • For example, for the snipping method, you’ll only need some wire cutters.
  • For the hand saw method, you’ll need the aforementioned tool.
  • The Jigsaw method requires a jigsaw (duh!) and a metal-cutting blade.
  • You can also finish this process with a reciprocating saw, alongside a metal-cutting blade, again.
  • Finally, you can do it with bolt cutters too.

On a side note, you should always keep in mind that when using a power saw, you should install a metal-cutter beforehand.

HOW TO CUT A SCREW: 2 Methods That You Can Try

Method 1: Wire Cutters

By experience, we can tell you that this is the easiest one of all the aforementioned options, as it is the least demanding one. Moreover, there are many variants of wire cutters each conceived to work on certain materials, so make sure to get the appropriate type for the material you’ll be dealing with, which is metal.

When it comes to the specificities of this tool adapted to your need, you’ll want to make sure you get a specific type known as “anvil cutters.” What sets these apart from other models are the blades which are beveled and come in contact with each other after every cut instead of bypassing each other. Another thing to note is that having long handles is essential since it makes the cut more and more effortless because it requires less force to cut through.

Now that you’ve made sure you got the right tool for the job, you now only need to simply use them on the screw or nail you want to remove where you need to make the cut.

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Method 2: Hand Saw

There is a particular variant of hand saw that is most suited for cutting metal, which is the hacksaw. This tool will ensure that you do the cut easily and cleanly since it is specifically made for this function. If you don’t have access to one, it’s totally okay since you can always use a regular hand saw to achieve the same result, albeit with more effort.

The process is achieved not by the side used for cutting wood, unless you want to damage it and reduce its longevity. Instead, you should opt for using a hammer or a similar object in order to make some small divots on the other side of the blade, then use that one to cut through the metal.

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Method 3: Jigsaw

Nearly every type of power saw has blades that are meant for penetrating metal, but you should ultimately avoid doing it with a circular saw because you can gain a lot of time and effort by simply using either a jigsaw or a reciprocating saw.

The process can’t be any easier, you just install the blade you’ll want to use for cutting the metal, then you run the saw through it, and the job is done. On a side note, if you want more accuracy at the expense of some versatility, you can simply run the saw against a flat surface when you are about to make the cut, and you’ll get the desired result.

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Method 4: Reciprocating Saw

This is our recommended method for cutting through unwanted screws and nails, from our humble experience dealing with this issue. The reciprocating saw, also known as the “Sawzall,” is an extremely potent power tool when it comes to mowing through metal. Moreover, when compared to wire cutters and hand saws, it is a lot less time consuming and more rapid during the process, and the versatility it offers is superior than that of the jigsaw.

For those reasons, this is our go-to method whenever we encounter this issue in any project that involves woodworking.  Furthermore, the effectiveness when dealing with unreachable nails and screws, particularly those that are holding two different pieces together, is incomparable because it cuts them just as easily as any metal.

You should always keep in mind the required measures before attempting each cut, like putting on the metal-cutting blade. Moreover, you should ensure throughout the process that you are holding the saw guard firmly so as to avoid pinching and binding.

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Method 5: How to Cut a Screw with a Bolt Cutter

This tool is akin to the aforementioned wire cutters since it is a tool that requires manual effort to achieve the desired result. However, it is advantageous since it has much longer handles that give you more power for the applied force, along with sharper and bigger blades that will make the cutting process way easier. Bolt cutters are more suited for mowing through those nails and screw that are much thicker than average.

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How to Cut a Screw: Final Thoughts

Cutting through unwanted nails and screws is a process that might seem too hard to accomplish, but easy once you know the right way to do it. And with this guide, we hope that we gave the appropriate method that you can follow to fulfill this job much more efficiently and effortlessly. Thanks to the variety of ways we introduced to you, we can be sure that you won’t encounter this issue any more throughout any of your projects.

Which method do you usually follow when cutting screws? Did you learn how to cut a screw now? Share your experience in the comments!

PS: if you want to take your skills to the next level, check our buying guides and reviews, where we cover everything you may ever need in your tool box, be it a Tile Saw, Cordless Circular Saw, Circular Saw Blade, Random Orbital Sander, Sliding Compound Miter Saw, Chainsaw Mill, Cordless Tool Set, Table Saw, bucks, or even Chainsaw Chaps. We also like to compare power tool brands, such as DeWalt and Milwaukee.


Jeffrey Alfaro

Jeffrey is a craftsman and writer who specializes in testing tools and covering the tool industry for construction and woodworking professionals.

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