How to Sharpen Bolt Cutters How to Sharpen Bolt Cutters

What You'll Need
Soapy Water
Soft Sponge
Firm Bristle Brush
Clean Dry Cloth
Grinder
Mill File
Oil or Grease

Bolt cutters look a little bit like long handled garden shears. They have an extraordinary amount of power that can snip through thick wire, bolts, fencing, chains and other forms of metallic or iron protection. Technically bolt cutters do not cut. Not in the same way as we recognize that shears and scissors cut, anyway. Bolt cutters actually apply a huge amount of pressure to the item and the power forced through the long handles by the owner exerts the correct pressure needed to snap the bolt. Therefore, bolt cutters do not need any special methods or equipment in order to affect a good sharpening on the blades.

Step 1 – Clean First

Inspect the bolt cutters first and make sure there is no loose debris on or around them. Use the firm bristle brush to scrub off loose mud, dirt or grime that may have accumulated. Also, closely inspect the cutting mechanism for anything that may have become trapped. Use soapy water and a sponge to wipe down the bolt cutters and rejuvenate their appearance. Dab them down with the clean cloth. Make sure you properly dry the cutting blades. Newer models are usually made from an alloy but old models may start oxidizing if left wet.

Step 2 – Setting the Blades

Open the blades of the bolt cutters as far as you can and set them in a stable position. Your lap is a good option, as you can grip them with your knees to keep them from moving. Alternatively, you can set them carefully in a vice grip but be cautious not to cause any damage to them. Hold the cutters with the open blades facing away from you.

Step 3 – Bevels

Each blade will have a beveled edge, much similar to those of scissors. The bevel on bolt cutters is usually somewhere between 20 and 30 degrees, so take the mill file and hold it at the correct angle. What you will need to do is, slide the mill file at an angle along the blade until you reach the end, then bring the mill file back and repeat. You will need to do this about ten times to achieve an excellently sharpened edge on the blade.

Step 4 – Switching

Turn the bolt cutters over and face the other blade away from you. Again, slide at an angle down the length of the blade for about ten turns and then wipe the blades down with a dry cloth.

Step 5 – Oiling

Take a dry clean cloth and apply a little machining oil or grease to the cloth. Then, smooth the oil over the length of the bolt cutter blades and apply a generous coating of oil to each blade. This will assist in the repellent of rust than can very easily accumulate on the blades.

Step 6 – Storing

Store your bolt cutters in a cool dry area where they are not susceptible to getting wet or damp.

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