Rebar or reinforcing steel is mainly used in the construction industry where it provides support to concrete in houses, office buildings, shopping malls, etc. It is normally delivered to the construction sites in standard length; hence, it needs to be bent and cut into the desired size and shape.
The method involved in cutting rebar depends upon the particular tool being used. For instance, if you use an angle grinder or some type of saw, start off by selecting a durable metal cutting blade. Hold the piece of rebar in place and then, simply bring the tool slowly towards it to make the required cut.
However, there is much more that goes into cutting rebar than that. Moreover, there are plenty of tools available for the exact same purpose. So, which one should you opt for? Below, we will be addressing each and every one of your questions regarding the rebar cutting process.
So, let’s begin!
How to Cut Rebar – All You Should Be Aware Of!
Before you can begin cutting rebar, there are a few things you should take care of.
Take Measurements and Mark the Cuts
This is the first and most basic step you should take before commencing the cutting process. It helps in avoiding any sort of confusion before and during the cutting process.
In the market, you’ll generally find rebar pieces of around 20 feet in length. So, most likely, you’ll be working with long pieces of rebar. Be sure to take an accurate measurement of all the pieces beforehand.
Furthermore, whether you wish to cut your rebar or bend it in a specific direction, make sure that you mark it with chalk.
Choose an Appropriate Workspace
As mentioned before, the rebar pieces are generally quite large in length. Their length could be anywhere between 8 to 60 feet. Hence, make sure that your workspace is open space as well as clear of any obstacles.
Whether you are a DIYer or a rookie in the industry, you must realize that there is nothing more significant than your safety.
Rebars are quite heavy and have sharp edges. Also, when being cut with a metal blade, it produces sparks and metal fly-offs. Hence, be sure to equip the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) beforehand. It includes a face mask, goggles, gloves, pants, long sleeve shirt, and work boots.
Furthermore, strong tools like angle grinders can often get their blades jammed in rebar, resulting in kickbacks. So, be sure to watch out for that as well.
It is also worth mentioning since cutting rebar produces sparks, your workspace should be well-ventilated and free of any flammable elements, such as your cooking utensils.
With that being said, let’s move on to the central subject of this guide – cutting rebar. We have detailed its whole procedure below for the most widely used tools out there.
How to Cut Rebar with an Angle Grinder
With a top-quality angle grinder, an incredibly quick job can be done of cutting rebar. An angle grinder is probably the most popular choice of cutting rebar on construction sites. It’s an extremely versatile tool that produces clean and quick cuts. You can even line up multiple pieces of rebar and cut them simultaneously to save time!
Apart from the quality of the angle grinder, you should also take the appropriate size of the tool into consideration. In general, a standard angle grinder between 4’’ to 4.5’’ is good enough for any cutting job.
With that out of the way, follow the steps laid down below.
- Make sure that the disk you are using is made for cutting metal. It should also be durable and powerful enough to penetrate the steel.
- Next, secure the rebar firmly in a clamp or vice.
- Set your angle grinder to its maximum revolutions per minute (RPM).
- Finally, simply approach it and cut it straight down.
- Avoid applying excessive pressure and let the disc do its job.
For better results, use an angle grinder with a more powerful motor, for instance, the one that draws at least 5 A of current. Also, instead of a metal-cutting disk, you could use a diamond blade which is more durable and cuts cleaner, and faster.
How to Cut Rebar with a Circular Saw
A Circular Saw is again, a very commonly used tool for cutting rebar because of the ease through which its cuts through a piece of rebar. It works quite similarly to an angle grinder.
- Select a saw blade that is designed to slice through metal.
- Secure the piece of rebar in a clamp or vice.
- Load the saw and position it such that it is directly above the cut mark.
- Turn on the saw and let it go down without applying any extra pressure. Before removing the cut rebar, be sure to switch off the saw.
Different saw blades have different performances. You can go with the cheap option of a steel tooth blade or a more expensive options carbide tooth blade or diamond blade.
If you choose to opt for a diamond blade, it will make this method of cutting rebar the fastest one available.
How to Cut Rebar with a Reciprocating Saw
A reciprocating saw is another one of the popular choices of cutting rebar.
- Start off by selecting a blade designed to cut metal.
- Set the saw to straight instead of oscillating, in the case you have a choice.
- Set the speed (TPI) of the saw according to the thickness of the metal. For a thin metal, choose 20 to 24 TPI; for medium thickness, choose 10 to 18 TPI; for greater thickness, choose around 8 TPI.
- Position the saw directly above the cut mark.
- Turn on the saw and go straight down. Don’t apply any excessive pressure.
For the best results, choose a metal cutting blade with a back tooth pattern. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more durable blade, consider purchasing a bimetal blade or carbide tooth blade.
Other Tools You Can Use for Cutting Rebar
Besides angle grinder, circular saw, and reciprocating saw, there is a variety of other tools that can be used for the purpose of cutting rebar.
Although a miter saw is mainly designed for wood cutting, with the right blade, you can use it to cut rebar as well. It can cut at different angles and slopes. However, be sure to adjust the tool’s speed appropriately for the desired cut.
A chop saw works quite similarly to a miter saw. The only difference is that it uses a much larger carbide blade. Hence, it is ideal if you need to cut a lot of steel rebar.
With over 4000 pounds of metal cutting force, a bolt cutter is one of the most powerful tools for slicing through steel. It features sharp, scissor-like blades that can cut rebar in a matter of seconds.
However, a bolt cutter doesn’t provide you with smooth cuts and often snips through the metal, resulting in rough cutting edges. Moreover, it is not ideal if you have a large amount of rebar to cut.
To use a bolt cutter, you simply place it at the mark of the desired cut and close the handles.
Metal Cutting Wheel
Another decent method of cutting rebar is using a metal cutting wheel.
For this method, start off by holding the piece of rebar in place using a clamp or vice. Then, make gradually cut through the metal to make the required cuts.
It’s worth mentioning that you should try to use a thin wheel for the cutting as it results in less friction and hence, the metal takes a shorter time to cut.
Rotary hammers allow you to make precise and faster cuts on the given piece of rebar. It also requires relatively less manual labor.
When using this tool, make sure that it is set to rotation mode rather than the hammer mode.
Cutting torches can also be used to cut through rebar though this method is quite expensive and takes a lot of time.
So, to execute this method, you aim the torch at the mark of the cuts. The torch will heat those marks and melt them. Then, you can easily bend and cut the metal.
If you want smooth ends of cut pieces, make sure that you don’t use plasma and oxyacetylene torches for bigger jobs as they cause the edges of the rebar to become irregular. On top of that, they can compromise your safety as well.
Although a manual saw, such as a hacksaw is not as viable as the other tools discussed in this guide, it can be a good option for small-scale jobs.
The fact that its blades wear out too quickly makes it ineffective for cutting a huge amount of rebar.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Way to Cut Rebar?
As is apparent from this guide, there are a plethora of tools that can be used to cut rebar but which one is the best for you? Well, for that, you need to take the following factors into account.
- The quantity of rebar you need to cut
- The size of the rebar you need to cut
- The size of the area to serve as your workspace
- The tool that is most readily available to you
Do a bit of thinking over these factors and refer to this guide accordingly. Hopefully, figuring out the best tool for your job won’t be much of a problem for you.
Can I Cut Rebar with a Jigsaw?
Yes, with the right blades, a jigsaw can be used to cut the rebar. It is one of the most inexpensive tools for the job.
Does Bending Rebar Weaken it?
Bending naturally weakens rebar. However, if done correctly, the damage can be minimized and you can still get the intended shape.
In a nutshell, cutting rebar is quite simple if you diligently follow the pre-requisites of the process and stick to the guidelines during the execution.
So, first off, you ensure that the tool you are using is set up to cut the metal/steel. Then, you hold the piece of rebar in place using a clamp, turn on your tool and gradually move it in the direction of the cut marks, all the while taking the mandatory safety precautions.
It must be kept in mind, however, that in bigger jobs, such as the construction of your house, there are a lot more risks involved and thus, you should always hire professionals for every single task, including rebar cutting.