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Author Topic: Kinda OT - Power tools to cut hardware cloth?  (Read 4529 times)
belfert
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« on: May 04, 2011, 05:48:07 PM »

I need to cut approximately 300 lineal feet of hardware cloth to width to fit various width window openings.  I also need cut it into about 40 pieces so I need to make lots of cuts.  I am reinforcing screens on shelters at a Scout camp.

I have done this in the past with an ordinary pair of wire cutters.  Making 24 or more cuts per foot is slow and hard on the hands.  Is there a power tool that I could use for cutting hardware cloth?  It needs to be either a cordless tool or a pneumatic tool as I have no power at the site.  (I do have a gasoline air compressor.)

Would either an air shears or a die grinder with cutoff wheel work?  Other ideas?

I'm sure many of us, myself included, have used hardware cloth in their bus, but probably not 300 feet worth.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 07:26:30 PM »

I have had luck with a hugh pair of sewing scissors. I thought they would dull but they didn't. The big heavy black ones.Judy says they call them dress makers shears. I even cut light sheet metal with them.  off the wall I know.    Bob
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2011, 08:46:49 PM »

Ever seen a dual blade saw?  Check ebay item 260776122984
A buddie got one recently and he's absolutely raving about it.  Apparently it has two counter-rotating blades that run right next to each other, so it cuts thru almost anything, doesn't kick, doesn't vibrate, doesn't do much at all except eat thru whatever you want to cut.  maybe it'd work well for hardware cloth too!!
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1962 Crown
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eagle19952
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2011, 09:02:40 PM »

http://www.harborfreight.com/18-gauge-sheet-metal-shear-92148.html

http://www.harborfreight.com/14-gauge-swivel-head-shears-92115.html

Your welcome..... Smiley
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chev49
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 12:15:27 AM »

i probably wouldn't use my metal shears. If it is the thin stuff like for screens, i would use my big sissors.
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belfert
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 04:26:31 AM »

Hardware cloth is a lot heavier than insect screen.  It has 19 ga steel wire.  I doubt it could be cut with a scissors, but I have never tried.  I have tried a tin snips, but it doesn't work well due to the hardware cloth wanting to roll up.  The best hand tool I have found is a wire cutter, but that is hard on the hands and slow.

There is no electricity at the site, but I do have a gas powered air compressor.  The best suggestion so far is an air die grinder with cutoff wheel or a 4" air grinder with cutoff wheel.

I have a attached a picture of the material I am using.  Maybe someone has a better idea for cutting this stuff.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 04:39:49 AM »

Brian ,if you got a cheap pair of the little ones try it. then get a pair of the heavy ones. the reason we suggested them was they are tighter than metal shears  wear gloves the sharp edges will eat your hands up. Don't know wether a old paper cutter would do it or not -the ones that you cut big sheets with.
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 04:49:07 AM »

metal shear like this: http://cgi.ebay.com/12-Sheet-Metal-Shear-Steel-Aluminum-Copper-Hand-Cutter-/370506911320?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5643eece58

I would use my B3 Beverly shear, but that's just because I have one.   It's way OTT for one job.  The above one will do a great job.

Beverly shear:  http://www.tinmantech.com/html/beverly_shears.php
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 04:54:22 AM »

I was referring to one you cut paper and poster board with-a old diguarded one maybe up to 36inches blade .
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 06:31:42 AM »

I would just use an angle grinder......but then I use an angle grinder for everything.......don't forget your safety glasses.
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2011, 06:40:48 AM »

 die grinder will work great but a large chisel and hammer will make fast work of it if you don't want to drag allot of tools out. Lay out a piece of flat bar and run right down it. You will find you don't have to beat on it to get it to cut.
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belfert
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2011, 06:50:22 AM »

I think I have a chunk of hardware cloth at home I can test with.  I don't have any large scissors, but I do have some stainless steel dollar store scissors I could test with.

I have to cut 300 feet worth of this stuff to width so dragging out a few tools would be worth it.  I have five days to work on this project and I'm not sure if that is even enough time.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2011, 06:55:37 AM »

hardware screen, in this case i would use my harbor freight shears.. However, the deWalt 4" angle grinder with the 8" blade is what I would probably use as it is what i grab first....
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2011, 07:27:54 AM »

If you have two pieces of angle iron c-clamp them together on the cloth where you want to cut and it will hold the cloth from rolling on you. use a cut off wheel and cut at the iron. For $5 you can get two pieces from HD or Lowe's.
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2011, 07:34:19 AM »

Use a cut off wheel.  It should buzz through just like a knife through hot butter.  Or for overkill (my motto is go big or go home) use an oxy acetylene cutting torch Grin Grin
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2011, 07:48:39 AM »

To bring this "back on topic" I'd use the bus! (seriously!)
Take the bus up there and use the generator to power what ya want!

I'm thinking if it were me I'd use a cut off wheel (or angle grinder) as they will zip right down the line and you can even get fancy and make turns etc.
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2011, 08:28:10 AM »

I'm not taking the bus because of fuel costs.  It cost me $55 just to drive my Pontiac Vibe up to the Scout camp and back this past Saturday.  I figure it would cost about $250 to drive the bus up there.  Also, I couldn't get the bus back to the campsites where I need to do the work.  There is a narrow service road that has a very low tree canopy.

I do have access to a gasoline air compressor.  I think I will use an air die grinder or a 4" air grinder to do this.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2011, 08:46:06 AM »

You could just rent yourself a 14 inch gas powered cut off saw 1 blade will cut 300 ft of it and still have blade left you are a funny guy Brian you ask a question knowing what you are going to use or do from the beginning  lol 


good luck
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belfert
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2011, 09:29:03 AM »

No, I really didn't know what option I would use when I asked.  I asked the same question on another forum and they suggested a cutoff wheel or a shears.

I believe I have some hardware cloth leftover from when I used it on the bus.  One of my friends has some air tools that I can borrow to test the best option.  I will also try the scissors option.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2011, 09:38:37 AM »

Brian,

If that stuff comes in a roll, I would leave it rolled up tight and cut the width with a sawzall with a fine metal blade. Then you just have the lengths to cut with snips or a big pair of Andy shears.

Brandon

Edit: Just re-read the post, you said "various widths", my method will not work. Roll Eyes
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belfert
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« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2011, 10:54:02 AM »

Brian,

If that stuff comes in a roll, I would leave it rolled up tight and cut the width with a sawzall with a fine metal blade. Then you just have the lengths to cut with snips or a big pair of Andy shears.

I have six rolls of the hardware cloth.  There are cases where I may need to cut a whole roll to the same width so this might just work.  I could cut the roll to width where I have power with my Sawzall and then haul it to the site.

There are six or eight shelters all the same size.  The problem is that each shelter was screened by a different group.  When the framing was added for the screen no group used the same dimensions as another group.  In some it seems that groups just choose random dimensions on where to place 2x4s.  Everything should have been installed at 36" or 48" widths as much as possible to reduce cutting of material.  I supposed I could do some reframing, but cutting the material down might be faster.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2011, 11:49:06 AM »

Um......surely you or someone in the "group" has a small 400-600 watt inverter.....?
I think ( actually i know) you might be really disappointed in just how much air it takes to power a die grinder.

But have fun. What.....there aren't any scouts looking for a merit badge ?
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« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2011, 12:04:20 PM »

[There are six or eight shelters all the same size.  The problem is that each shelter was screened by a different group.  When the framing was added for the screen no group used the same dimensions as another group.  In some it seems that groups just choose random dimensions on where to place 2x4s.  Everything should have been installed at 36" or 48" widths as much as possible to reduce cutting of material.  I supposed I could do some reframing, but cutting the material down might be faster.

Scout Volunteers you got to love the participation but if you want conformity?  Sorry you get what you pay for.  Now ill put my scoutmasters shirt back on and get ready for camp. (Raney Mtn in north Georgia June 5-10)

Brice
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« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2011, 12:10:48 PM »

4" angle grinder with 1mm thick blade. Cuts anything from plastics to stainless steel with absolute minimum burning
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« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2011, 12:23:51 PM »

Scout Volunteers you got to love the participation but if you want conformity?  Sorry you get what you pay for.  Now ill put my scoutmasters shirt back on and get ready for camp. (Raney Mtn in north Georgia June 5-10)

I'm not really complaining, but it sure would have made it easier for me to replace the screens now if they placed the studs uniformly.  I'll just have to live with what it is.  The committee that helps take care of the camps now is quite a bit stricter on keeping things uniform these days.

As far as using Scouts, I will be doing work at the camp during the week before school is out.  I asked a bunch of Eagle Scouts who are college students, but they all have summer jobs.  I might get some help on the weekend.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2011, 12:33:39 PM »

Stop all this.  Your making me dizzy(ier).  I bought a metal blade for my 7 1/4 skill saw.  Goes thru heavy gauge sheet metal like it was butter.  NOT THE BLADE with tyeeth.....the one that is like a "chop saw" and they have a full metal backed metal saw that has a coating on it like a Chop Saw  but it cuts way faster.  They also make the coaated blade for the sawzall.  Go for the cheap skill saw blade.  I have done this and I almost couldn't push the saw thru the "metal Cloth" too fast.  You can also us the blade to cut rebar or a Chevy or just about anything.

Everything else suggested will work and I have tried most of them....Its just what's easier.

Happy trails,

John
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« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2011, 04:39:34 AM »

As far as using Scouts, I will be doing work at the camp during the week before school is out.  I asked a bunch of Eagle Scouts who are college students, but they all have summer jobs.  I might get some help on the weekend.

Sounds like a good OA project. our next ordeal is in 8 days.

Brice
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« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2011, 09:40:39 AM »

As far as using Scouts, I will be doing work at the camp during the week before school is out.  I asked a bunch of Eagle Scouts who are college students, but they all have summer jobs.  I might get some help on the weekend.

Sounds like a good OA project. our next ordeal is in 8 days.

The local council has two summer camps and five other camps.  They do OA service weekends at most of the camps, but not this particular summer camp.  They have what they call a 'Work Party' the weekend after Memorial day.  They will usually have 75 to 100 people who drive up Friday, work all day Saturday, and go home Sunday.  I am going up to camp the Tuesday before and staying through Sunday.  There are about a dozen folks who will stay for a week or more, but they all have projects they are working on.

I like John Ed's idea of the circular saw and will be testing it as soon as I finish this post.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2011, 08:01:06 PM »

I'm resurrecting an old topic of mine.

JohnEd recommended an abrasive blade in a circular saw.  I finally tested it this evening and it works slick!  I am actually using a cordless circular saw that takes 6 1/2" blades.  The blade I bought is a 4 1/2".  It works, but I am afraid it will wear out too quick.  I might have to get a 7" blade and wear it down on a regular circular saw.

Once I get up to the Scout camp on Tuesday I will make a jig to hold the cloth for cutting.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2011, 09:43:35 PM »

Brian,

Nice of you to get back with an update.  I think they will last long enuf but you just used it.  I have never understood why they don't shatter but I am glad they don't.  Have fun,   Be safe.  Thanks for the work you do with the scouts.

John...your cheering section
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The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
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« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2011, 10:23:18 PM »

Brian : Try turning the blade in the skil saw backwards to cut metal. Any blade will do. Thicker the metal the louder it is but it will cut snips work well to. We cut corragated metal sheet that way. and concrete hog wire before we pour.

Dave
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« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2011, 10:57:33 PM »

What Dave said.  You turn the saw blade around on a carbide blade and you can cut 1/2 inch aluminum plate like it was plywood.  Only did this on aluminum.  The aluminum fab shops use power wood tools and blades and the skill saw is a favorite.

FWIW

John
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"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
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« Reply #32 on: May 30, 2011, 05:05:56 AM »

I'm going to stick with abrasive blades for this task.  Since there is just a tiny 19 gauge steel wire every 1/2" I would be worried about the teeth hooking the wires. 

I use a regular carbide blade to cut aluminum with no issues on a regular basis.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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