Tips for Cutting Metal Ductwork

pile of ductwork pieces
  • 1-100 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-500

When it comes to replacing metal ductwork, cutting it properly and safely is the toughest work. Here is a list of some of the best tips for cutting it.

1. Safety First

Cutting anything, especially metal ductwork, can be a dangerous task as the edges of sheet metal are extremely sharp even before you start to cut it. Be sure to wear thick, heavy, work gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges of both the ductwork and the cutting tools themselves. You should always wear safety goggles or similar eye protection as well, because if you are cutting ductwork, it’s possible that little shreds of metal will flake off and fly up into the air. Heavy clothing is also a good idea for the same reasons, and wearing something sturdy like denim is a good choice.

2. Use the Proper Cutting Tools

In order to cut metal ductwork, you have to use the right tools for the job. Cutting metal requires hand or power tools meant for the job, because you can’t just use a knife (for instance) and think you will be able to do the job properly or safely. You will probably need some sort of power saw with a special blade for cutting metal or a good strong hacksaw. There are also other tools that can be used, so get the best you can afford or rent.

3. Always Measure before Cutting your Ductwork

There is an old saying that says a worker should always measure something twice and cut once. It means that it is very important to get the measurements right the first time or your whole project will be ruined. Use a good measuring tape and carefully measure the ductwork and then write this measurement down so you don’t forget it.

4. Fasten Down the Ductwork Before Cutting it

large HVAC ductwork system

Be sure to fasten down the piece of metal ductwork so it won’t move when you cut it to the length you need. If it’s small enough, you can use a vice, but if not, you still need to hold it down tightly so it won’t move while you cut it. Otherwise, you could get seriously hurt if the duct piece slips and you get cut by your saw.

5. Attend a DIY Class at a Local Hardware Store

If you are unsure about the proper process, then attend a few classes offered by local hardware stores. Classes will give you the confidence you need to not only cut metal ductwork, but do all sorts of repair work around your home or office.

6. Miscellaneous Tips and Hints for Successful Jobs

Be sure all your tools and supplies are in good working order and ready to use at all times. You can do this by buying a proper toolbox or cabinet, or otherwise maintaining a dedicated place in a workshop for all your tools and supplies. Keep tools oiled and cleaned and don’t let them get rusty or you won’t be successful in doing this or any other job that needs to be done in your home or office.