How To Cut Rebar (Quickly, Easily, & Safely!)
Rebar is a staple when it comes to any type of construction or masonry project. It has many different benefits, such as the ability to support concrete and provide extra durability. But, since it’s so strong, what happens if you need to cut it? How exactly do you cut rebar?
To cut rebar, measure your rebar and mark the cuts with chalk. Then, secure the rebar using clamps on either side of the area you’re going to cut. Use the wheel of your angle grinder and cut straight down. Reposition the clamps for more cuts and repeat the process.
When you cut rebar, it’s essential that you have adequate space free of any obstructions or flammable objects. We’ll walk you through the process so that you can execute this project in the safest manner possible.
What Exactly Is Rebar?
Rebar is a material that is made from 97% recycled materials. It created using old appliances and cars and is usually created in lengths of up to 60 feet. Of course, this isn’t ideal when you need a much shorter bar for your home project.
You can use rebar with steel mesh wire in concrete products for reinforcement or use it alone. Whichever method you choose highly depends on the project that you have at hand.
Important Qualities Of Rebar
When you do any landscaping or work with concrete in a residential setting, chances are you will use #3 rebar. This particular type’s diameter measures about 3/8 of an inch. Any diameter that is larger is used in commercial or industrial types of work since it requires special equipment to cut it.
Before You Begin Cutting Your Rebar
Before you start cutting, there are a few safety procedures you should walk through for safe setup and execution. We’ve listed them below so that you can ensure you’re ready to begin cutting your rebar.
- Measure your rebar. The first thing you will want to before cutting is to measure your rebar. The rebar can come in lengths from 20 feet to 60 feet, making it impossible to use. You can almost guarantee that you’ll get stuck with larger pieces of rebar, so make sure you measure before you cut.
- Measure any bends in your rebar. Also, if you need to bend it, the bend should be added to your measurement. Use a piece of chalk on your rebar to park where you’re supposed to cut.
- Wear proper safety equipment. You will want to wear some goggles, heavy-duty work gloves, a long shirt, and a long pair of pants as well as a pair of work boots. It’s also a good idea to wear a face cover as well. This is because the rebar is heavy, and the ends are very sharp. Also, while you’re cutting the rebar, sparks and metal shavings will be flying.
- Cut it in a large space. Your space should be large to where it easily accommodates the rebar. It’s ideal to have an open space such as a large three-car garage or an outdoor area. Make sure the area is also clear of any obstructions.
- Clear the area of any flammable equipment. Since cutting the rebar will produce sparking, you want to clear the area of anything flammable. This includes any propane tanks, cooking ware, lighter fluid, etc.
How To Cut Rebar Using An Angle Grinder
There are multiple tools you can use when cutting your rebar. This includes tools such as:
- Angle grinder
- Power saw
- Chop saw
- Circular saw
- Miter saw
- Bolt cutters
- Cutting wheel
- Rotary hammer
Below, we will discuss each tool and tell you how to use each one to cut the rebar. That way, you are guaranteed to be able to do this job regardless of the tools you have at home.
- Secure the rebar. Check to make sure that the rebar is secured tightly. You can do this using either a vice or clamp. A good rule of thumb is to place a clamp or vice on either side of the part you’re going to cut. Keep enough room so that you can use your device without knocking into either clamp.
- Use the wheel of your bench or angle grinder. You will want to use the wheel that is designed to cut metal. This should be durable enough to cut the steel. Most professionals prefer an angle grinder so that they don’t wear out their diamond blades.
- Make the cut. You will want to approach the rebar directly and cut straight down. The cuts won’t be super clean, which is fine as you don’t need them to be perfect. But, ideally, you make them as flat and as quick as possible to avoid damage to your blade.
- Reposition the bar. If you’re going to continue cutting, you will need to reposition the rebar. Do this by sliding the bar into position and place the clamps on either side of the next cut you are going to make. Always reposition the rebar, as this helps you go a bit quicker unless you have a full-length table it’s laying on. If your rebar isn’t braced up with two wooden supports, then you can forgo the repositioning.
- Repeat the steps until finished. You’ll want to use this method until you’ve made all the cuts that you needed to make.
Cutting Rebar With A Power Saw
Whether it’s a miter saw, chop saw, or circular one that has a diamond blade, this will be the fastest way for you to cut your rebar. However, keep in mind that the steel will wear out your diamond blade.
- Mark and measure the rebar. Measure the cuts on the rebar, so you know where you’re going to be cutting. This allows the job to get done a lot quicker. Use chalk to mark the areas.
- Position the rebar under the saw. While the saw is off, position the cutting mark up to the blade.
- Make the cut. Turn the power on and cut the bar. Don’t force the saw or provide excess pressure as you’ll want it to do the work itself.
- Repeat the process. You will want to continue these steps until all the cuts have been made. Before you reposition the rebar again, though, you’ll want to make sure that the saw is off.
Other Tools You Can Use To Cut Rebar
If you find yourself in a position where you don’t have a saw or an angle grinder, don’t worry! There are plenty of other methods you can use to cut the rebar. However, it may take just a bit more man or woman power to do.
A rotary hammer is excellent because it helps you make precision cuts quicker, and there’s a lot less manual labor involved. However, you’ll need to use this in rotation mode rather than hammer mode.
Something else that you can use when you need to cut rebar is a cutting wheel. When you use a cutting wheel, you will want to use clamps or a vice to keep the bar secured. Then you will want to make short and steady cuts slowly.
The key is not to use a thick wheel because this will add friction that causes the process to take longer. Choose a thinner wheel for cleaner and quicker cuts.
Bolt cutters are a device that has sharp scissor-like blades that have a cutting force of up to 4,500 pounds of metal. These bolt cutters can easily cut through steel.
When you are using these to cut rebar, make sure they’re positioned correctly before you cut. Sometimes, bolt cutters can slip, so it’s best if you secure the rebar and use both hands when cutting with the bolt cutters.
If it really comes down to it, you can use a torch to cut the rebar. However, this is more expensive, and it will also take a lot longer to do. But, if you need the job done right away and all you have is a torch, we say go for it! You’ll want to heat it until it is malleable, then use a pipe or another tool to break the piece in half.
One important thing to note is that you’ll want to avoid using any oxyacetylene or plasma torches for the larger jobs because they won’t work as well. Also, the bars’ edges will be left uneven, so have some cutters on hand to cut the melted metal.
It’s necessary to cut rebar when the material comes in bars of 20 to 60 feet. However, it’s not an easy task, and rebar is thick, heavy, and is also dangerous to cut if you don’t know what you’re doing. The best tool to use for this is an angle grinder; however, you can use many other tools to get the job done.
Always remember to wear your protective gear when cutting metal or steel to protect yourself from metal shards and sparks. Take your time, and do it carefully! That way, you have a perfect end result with no major injuries.
Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.
More by Heather Robbins