Let’s say you’re in the middle of a project and a bolt you’re working with is too long, stopping you dead in your tracks. You could make a run to the local big box store (and then the next one), hoping they’ve got the right size. You could hacksaw it (you weren’t doing anything else for the rest of the afternoon, were you?). Or, if you’ve got an Angle Grinder with a metal cutoff wheel, you can make quick work of it. An angle grinder is the best tool in the arsenal for trimming bolts. Here’s how.
1. Mark the Cut Line
Measure and mark the length of the bolt with a Sharpie.
2. Add Nuts
Screw a couple of nuts onto the bolt all the way to the head (or base). This will make it easier to clamp the bolt to the work table as well as lining up the threads again after you cut it.
3. Cut the Bolt With the Angle Grinder
Turn on the angle grinder and approach the bolt at a flat angle. Cut right through the bolt.
4. Deburr Bolt
Clean and smooth the cut end of the bolt with a bench grinder or an abrasive pad.
5. Try the Thread
Unscrew the nut to the top of the thread until it offers resistance, then use a wrench to back it completely off the bolt. This will reform the thread and leave you with a working bolt.
6. Moving On
You can now resume with your project!
Remember to always wear Safety Glasses when using your angle grinder, taking note where the guard is to catch the flying sparks. Also remove anything flammable or easily ignited such as dirty rags.
When it comes to cutting, grinding or polishing, you won’t find a more versatile power tool than the angle grinder. They’re indispensable for jobs that can’t be done any other way, and heaven-sent for the jobs that otherwise could only be described as excruciating ordeals.
For a great deal on a powerful angle grinder, we recommend the Chicago Electric 4-1/2″ 4.5 Amp Heavy Duty model from Harbor Freight. It has a powerful ball-bearing motor that can tackle the hardest metal cutting, shaping and slag removal jobs, and the price is VERY doable. They also make a great pneumatic model. You can also find great deals on extra metal cutoff wheels and wire brush wheels for a plethora of automotive and shop projects.