How to Use a Ratcheting Cable Cutter

What You'll Need
Ratcheting Cable Cutter
Copper Cable

A tool that many people do not have an everyday use for, but should know how to work, is a ratcheting cable cutter. This nifty little cable cutter is very useful with demolition, laying out new cable for fencing, or working with strong metal cable. The way that the ratcheting action helps to cut thick cables is much better than trying to use strength with a pair of snips. A ratcheting cable cutter looks much like a regular pair of tin snips, but has a ratcheting action that provides the power for plowing through metal and copper cable. If you have never used a pair of ratcheting cable cutters, here are some steps to take to use them properly.

Step 1: Be Familiar with Cutter

The first step to working with a ratcheting cable cutter is to become familiar with it. Most accidents happen when the operator of a certain tool is not familiar with the way that it works. Look over the tool, see how the ratchet works, become accustomed to the release mechanism, and try it out without any type of cable. 

Step 2: Mark Wire for Cutting

One of the biggest mistakes in cutting cable is that you make the cut too short. Take some time to finalize the actual placement of the cut. Mark it with a bright marker, or chalk, so you know exactly where to cut the cable.

Step 3: Open the Cutter's Mouth

Using the ratchet release on the cutter itself, you need to open up the cutter's mouth. This works much like that of a handcuff. The jaw opens up so that you can insert the cable into the cutting area. 

Step 4: Place Cable in Jaws

Once the cutter is opened, you can then close the ratcheting cutter around the cable. Make sure it locks into position so that when you depress the handles, the ratcheting action will start to work. Keep the cutter at a parallel position to the cable. This will help make a cleaner cut and lessen the chance of any type of injury. 

Step 5: Begin Cutting Cable

Now that the cable is positioned in the mouth of the cable cutter, you can begin the process of cutting through the cable. Do no be surprised if it does not go through the cable in one slice. The ratcheting action of the cutter is there to help power through larger diameter cables in smaller cuts. The pressure of the ratchet, as the cutter clamps down on the cable, keeps the blade working through the cable. 

Step 6: Ratchet to Clean Cut

As you begin to cut through the cable, you will continue to ratchet the cutters until you have a clean cut. Once the cut is made, be careful of any type of burrs, or thin wires if it is a wound metal cable. Place the ratcheting cable cutter down and move the cable to the position where you need it.

Step 7: Clean Cutter

To keep your ratcheting cable cutter ready for use when you need it, take the time to clean the blade of any residue that has been left.