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.

Recommended Wire Cutter:

IRWIN VISE-GRIP Diagonal Cutting Pliers, 6-Inch (2078306)
  • Durable nickel chromium steel construction
  • ProTouch grips provide extra comfort and reduces hand fatigue
  • Induction hardened cutting edge stays sharper, longer
How to Cut Screws or Drawer Knobs with Wire Cutters

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.

Recommended Hand Saw:

WilFiks 16” Pro Hand Saw, Perfect for Sawing, Trimming, Gardening, Pruning & Cutting Wood, Drywall, Plastic Pipes & More, Razor Sharp Blade,...
  • ► EASY TO USE: Our pro hand saw is designed for precise cutting including dovetails, miters, and tenons. The saw cuts...
  • ► DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Induction-hardened teeth that stay sharp up to five times longer than standard teeth and...
  • ► ERGONOMIC DESIGN: Anti-Slip Super Grip handle resists slipping and adds comfort, The handle size will work with any...
Life Hack for Cutting Nails or Screws with a Woodworking Hand Saw

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.

Recommended Jigsaw:

BOSCH JS470E 120V 7.0-Amp Corded Top-Handle Jig Saw
  • ERGONOMIC TOP-HANDLE: soft-grip areas supply a solid, comfortable grip
  • CONVENIENT: featuring a tool-less blade change system and fast insertion with a blade ejection lever that eliminates...
  • 4-IN-1: 4 orbital action tool settings provide different blade strokes for smooth to aggressive cuts for taking on the...
Cutting Bolts With a Jigsaw : Walls & Home Repairs

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.

Recommended Reciprocating Saw:

DEWALT 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, 3,000 Strokes Per Minute, Variable Speed Trigger, Bare Tool Only (DCS380B), Black/Clear
  • 4-position blade clamp of DEWALT 20V reciprocating saw allows for flush cutting and increased positional versatility...
  • 1-1/8-inch stroke length delivers a fast cutting speed
  • Variable speed trigger with 0-3000 spm provides increased blade control and fast cutting speed
How to Use a Reciprocating Saw to Cut Metal, Wood, PVC, etc for Beginners

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.

Recommended Bolt Cutter:

WORKPRO W017004A Bolt Cutter, Bi-Material Handle with Soft Rubber Grip, 14", Red&Blue
  • Note: Cutting Locks Is Not Recommended
  • Drop Forged Chrome Molybdenum Steel And Powder Coated Jaws For Sure, Efficient Cutting And Long Life. Ergonomic...
  • Classic Lever-Fulcrum Design And Precisely Aligned Blades Deliver Added Leverage With Less Effort

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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