How to Use Bolt Cutters

What You'll Need
Bolt cutter
Thick gloves
Safety goggles
Marker or chalk

Bolt cutters or bolt croppers are used to cut through heavy metal. These heavy duty tools are useful for cutting locks, chains, fences and bolts. They can also be used to cut live electric wire which makes them very useful in rescue operations. Croppers are a must-have tool for the homeowner. They can actually help you out of a difficult situation in the home. Cutters come in various shapes and sizes with lengths ranging from 12 inches to 42 inches. Different types of cutting blades can be used on the cutter. Extremely tough metal alloys are used to produce the cropper blades and jaws. This resilience is what enables them to cut through metals. Below is a guide on how to use croppers.

Step 1 – Adjust the Cutters

Turn the bolt on the cutter head to give you the right tension on the blades. This eccentricity bolt allows you to get the desired tension which enables effective cutting. It occupies a middle position in the cutter head where the handles intersect.

Step 2 – Mark the Target

Locate the item to be cut. Clearly mark the spot on the item to be cut so that you know exactly where to strike.

Step 3 – Open Cutter Blades

The handles must be pulled apart in opposite directions. Pull open the cutter blades as far apart as possible. Eventually the target will occupy the middle position in between the blades.

Step 4 – Approach Target

Place the cutter blades around the marked spot. It is important that you position the blades so that the target is found closer to the handle intersection. This is the point at which the greatest force will be exerted when cutting begins.

Step 5 – Close Blades

Close the blades securely on the marked spot. Close slowly with a firm grip to prevent blades from slipping as they cut into the target. Avoid shifting the blades from the marked position as you close in on the target.

Step 6 – Apply Force

Forcefully press together the handles of the cutter. Once you get an initial notch on the target be sure to sustain cutting at the same spot. Repeat the action until the blades cut through the item. With softer materials, you should be able to cut through on your first attempt. Heavier materials will require sustained cutting action until the material yields to the cutter.


  • Generally, the heavier the material to be cut, the longer the handles required on the cutter.
  • Although blade croppers are heavy duty, occasionally you will struggle while cutting through heavy material. It helps if you twist the blade handles back and forth when cutting.
  • You may use larger bolt cutters to increase the force required during cutting.
  • Wear heavy duty gloves when working with croppers. These will prevent slipping and improve your grip.
  • It is a good idea to wear safety goggles as well. Tiny splinters of metal may fly in the air and land in the eyes causing grave injuries.