how to adjust a bolt cutter

How to Adjust A Bolt Cutter: Learn DIY!

There are two methods to adjust a bolt cutter. Neck adjustment bolts for fine-tuning blade angles, and jaw adjustment bolts for changing blade distance. 

Rotate bolts clockwise to bring blades closer and counter-clockwise to move them apart. Use neck adjustments for general tuning and jaw adjustments for blade sharpening. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to adjust your bolt cutters. We’ll also provide additional tips and advice to make the process easy and safe.

Key Takeaways

  • Bolt cutters can be adjusted using neck and jaw adjustment bolts to fine-tune blade angles and gaps.
  • Clockwise turns bring blades closer, while anti-clockwise turns move them apart.
  • Neck adjustment bolts are for general use, while jaw adjustment bolts are for blade sharpening or fine-tuning.

How to Adjust A Bolt Cutter?

Bolt cutters are handy tools for cutting through thick materials. However, to ensure they work effectively, you may need to adjust them. There are two main ways to adjust bolt cutters: 

  • Neck adjustment bolts and 
  • Jaw adjustment bolts.
Neck adjustment bolts
Source: wonkeedonkeetools

Let’s go through the steps of neck and jaw adjustment bolts in the following sections:

Neck Adjustment Bolts

Neck adjustment bolts are ideal for general adjustments, as they fine-tune the gap between the blades without changing their position. They are commonly used to ensure bolt cutters’ proper setup before being used for a job.

Here’s how to adjust them:

Step 1: Secure Bolt Cutters

Place the bolt cutters with their jaws closed in a vice or firmly hold them between the knees. Ensure that the neck adjustment bolt is uplifted.

Step 2: Spin Bolt

Use an open-ended spanner to rotate the neck adjustment bolt clockwise. This will move one blade closer to the other.

Spin Bolt
Source: wonkeedonkeetools

Step 3: Repeat if Necessary

If your bolt cutters have a second neck adjustment bolt, flip the tool in the vice halfway through the process. Spin the second bolt similarly to ensure both blades are equally adjusted.

Step 4: Check the Gap

Once the blades have been adjusted to your satisfaction, remove the tool from the vice and slightly open the arms. Insert a single piece of paper between the blades to check the gap width with it.

Step 5: Re-adjust if Necessary

If you can easily pull out the paper, the jaws need to be closed a bit further. If the paper is clamped lightly between the blades, you have achieved the correct gap.

If you notice a marked groove in the paper after releasing it, the jaws may be too tight. 

In this case, rotate the adjustment bolt counter-clockwise a bit to fine-tune the gap. Avoid having the blades overly tight, as it can damage both the material and the blade edges.

Bonus: If you’re curious about other hand tools like bolt cutters, follow Knipex Alligator vs Cobra to learn their applications.

Jaw Adjustment Bolts

Jaw adjustment bolts are typically used after sharpening the blades, compensating for the material removed during sharpening. They can also be used if the neck adjustment bolts fail to bring the blades close enough together. 

However, use jaw adjustment bolts sparingly, as neck adjustment bolts are designed for regular and precise tuning.

Jaw adjustment bolts are less commonly used but are necessary in specific situations. They make changes to how far apart the sharp edges are on the jaws along their length. 

Here’s how to adjust them:

Jaw Adjustment Bolts
Source: wonkeedonkeetools

Step 1: Secure Bolt Cutters

Secure your bolt cutters in a vice to make jaw adjustment bolts accessible.

Step 2: Rotate the Bolt

Use a wrench with an adjustable end to spin the jaw adjustment bolts. Move them clockwise to bring the blades closer together or anti-clockwise to move them apart.

You can even follow this tutorial to easily adjust a bolt cutter:

Additional Instructions and Tips

These additional instructions and tips will help you to operate a smooth adjustment of the bolt cutter.

  • Whether using neck adjustment bolts or jaw adjustment bolts, both have eccentric shapes. These shapes allow us to adjust the gap of the blades by either bringing them closer together or pushing them apart.
  • Turning the bolts clockwise brings the cutting edges closer together, while turning them anti-clockwise pushes them apart. Be attentive to the blade movement, as different bolt cutters may behave differently.
  • Clean the bolts with grease cleaner if they are clogged with grime and grease. Clean tools make the adjustment process smoother.
  • Bolt cutter blades should be sharpened with a wet stone to ensure proper cutting performance. It is wise to wear protective gloves throughout the process.
  • Work on a stable work table to maintain control over your work. Wear a facemask when using spray-able grease cleaner to protect yourself.

Always learn beforehand which tool can ease your work, and which tool you should not use to speed up your pace.

Always handle bolt cutters carefully, as their blades can be extremely sharp. Avoid injuring yourself during the adjustment process. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Do Bolt Cutters Work?

Yes, bolt cutters really do work. They are powerful tools designed to cut through tough materials like thick metal. Bolt cutters have replaceable blades that make cutting hard metal easy and quick, with little effort. 

Do Bolt Cutters Need to Be Sharp?

To make bolt cutters work well, they must be sharp. Sharp bolt cutters cut metal easily, smoothly, and with less effort. Dull ones need more force, leaving uneven edges. You can sharpen them using a file or a grinder. 

Why Does Bolt Cutter Have Long Handles?

Bolt cutters have long handles that let you put more force into them and make cutting easier. Also, the space between the handles and the cutting part helps you be accurate when cutting something. 

Closing Words

Hope this article answers your query about how to adjust a bolt cutter. Adjusting bolt cutters is an easy process that makes your cutting much better and faster.. 

Remember to follow safety precautions and handle the tools with care to avoid any injuries during the adjustment process. Keep your bolt cutters in good condition, and they will continue to be valuable tools.

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