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Old 10-02-2013, 21:50   #16
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

There is a big difference in the way bolt cutters and cable cutters work. The blades on bolt cutters meet edge to edge. Cable cutters use bypass blades that shear the wires like scissors. In an emergency it probably doesn't matter but bolt cutters flatten the cut end making it difficult to work with. Good quality cable cutters leave the cable round.
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Old 10-02-2013, 22:24   #17
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

No one has mentioned yet a $50 4"angle grinder with a cut off blade run through an inverter. Not much draw when you consider it will cut through most things in 30 seconds.
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Old 10-02-2013, 23:15   #18
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

I would really suggest looking up the crash test boat series by Yachting Monthly. They actually tested a number of different ways to cut away rigging in the event of a demasting. Their results were that a high quality hacksaw with a bi-metal blade for stainless was the best option. They also really like the hydrolic cutter, but at over $1,200 it's a very expensive single trick pony, and it requires two hand, unlike the hacksaw.

http://www.admiralyacht.com/admiral-...dismasting.pdf

As for an angle grinder... Remember your rigging is most likely to collapse during bad weather. Think high winds, rain, and rough water. The idea of trying to take a high draw electrical tool out to the rail, with an extension cord following behind me on a rolling deck sounds like a pretty bad idea. Even assuming that you have the power from an inverter (figure you need a 1kw minimum) you are going to be pulling down a lot of power quickly.
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Old 10-02-2013, 23:16   #19
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

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I've got an 18V battery operated angle grinder that will be in my kit. Haven't tested it on SS rigging but cuts bolts and metal well enough I think it should do the job.
That's what I've got, plus a high tension hack saw. Screw the cables, just got the turnbuckles in half. Would take about 3 seconds per.
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Old 10-02-2013, 23:17   #20
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

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As for an angle grinder... Remember your rigging is most likely to collapse during bad weather. Think high winds, rain, and rough water. The idea of trying to take a high draw electrical tool out to the rail, with an extension cord following behind me on a rolling deck sounds like a pretty bad idea. Even assuming that you have the power from an inverter (figure you need a 1kw minimum) you are going to be pulling down a lot of power quickly.
Dewalt makes an 18v cordless. It will run for plenty long enough to chop away at the rigging on a pleasure boat.
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Old 10-02-2013, 23:22   #21
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

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Dewalt makes an 18v cordless. It will run for plenty long enough to chop away at the rigging on a pleasure boat.
How's it work when being sprayed with salt water? The rail in the middle of a storm, wi big waves and rain is not the time for a high voltage power tool.
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Old 10-02-2013, 23:39   #22
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
No one has mentioned yet a $50 4"angle grinder with a cut off blade run through an inverter. Not much draw when you consider it will cut through most things in 30 seconds.
Can't disagree with this but I have taken the opposite tack.

3/8" capacity English made bolt cutters (manufacturer is Record IIRC). 3' handles, double action jaws and slices through 9/32" 1x19 SS like butter. I have never tried it on bigger wire but have used it on 5/116" gal chain.

I reckon I could retrieve it from the locker below, go forward and have all the shrouds cut away at 4am in the rain and spray while other's still unwinding the extension cord or looking for the spare 18V battery.

YMMV
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Old 11-02-2013, 01:24   #23
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

One of theses will cut thru cable, bolts chain and the mast, with a 1/16" wheel in just a matter of seconds. Well, maybe not the mast but if it's waxed up a few cross cuts and its away or trimmed off square ready to be stubbed.
BTW battery operated.

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Old 11-02-2013, 01:45   #24
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

This one doesn't cut through the mast Heavy Duty Arm Adjusted Solid Handles - Tools - IRWIN TOOLS
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Old 11-02-2013, 01:56   #25
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

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Originally Posted by Teknav View Post
Consider portable electric bolt cutters, with extra cutter wheels to spare; several US manufacturers make them. Mauritz
Not a good Idea in an emergency. Worse than useless except for ballast in an emergency and no electricity. Take the a piece of the thickest rigging wire etc and the thickest shackle and chain link used on your boat with you and test before you buy and always like anchors buy the next size up.
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:36   #26
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

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How's it work when being sprayed with salt water? The rail in the middle of a storm, wi big waves and rain is not the time for a high voltage power tool.
Good luck going out on the bowsprit with a big ass set of choppers in your hand; it's not like any given scenario is really ideal. I'll probably stick with the hacksaw in those conditions.

I don't put a lot of stock in stuff like this anyway. I'd much rather spend the money on new rigging and rig inspection than a tool to cut it away. Just my $0.02.
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:23   #27
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

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That's what I've got, plus a high tension hack saw. Screw the cables, just got the turnbuckles in half. Would take about 3 seconds per.
Details on the hacksaw? I would like to add that as a backup.

Regarding the comment from Stumble, 18V DC battery operated is not exactly high voltage and I would bet that even wet it would run long enough to cut through the rigging. If was really nasty might be a good idea to wrap the body of the grinder in a plastic bag to keep it drier. Would cut out air flow and cooling but again should work long enough to cut a wire or three.
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Old 11-02-2013, 09:45   #28
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

36" bolt cutters should quickly cut through turnbuckle or shackle. Place one handle in your midsection, tense your beer muscles, grab the opposite handle in both hands and pull it in. Or put one handle on deck, the jaws up in the air, the other handle in the air directly above the one on deck, and bounce your full weight down on it. You can quickly cut 1/2" shackles this way, and 3/8" the former way. The beer muscle method will most likely be employed when cutting away downed rigging.

TIGHTLY tape cable and cut it with a hacksaw. Best tape believe it or not is electrical tape, because the stretch of the tape gives a cumulative increase in compression with each wrap. Duct tape doesn't do that. Be sure to pull it tight as you wrap it or the trick doesn't work.

No no no don't plan on using electrical stuff, even cordless. BUT, if you have an air compressor, you can get a pneumatic angle grinder that will do the job albeit slower than electric. Most fiberglass boats won't have one, but a lot of older steel boats will I'm thinking.

Guillotine type cutters that use a hammer will work except not so good on a fiberglass deck. Maybe if you have a section of railroad rail. I have a short piece and I use it as an anvil a lot. Probably would be awkward to use to free a downed mast, though.

I wonder why nobody uses pelican hooks in their rigging. That would make this simple. Remove the safety wire or mousing, trip the hooks and 23 skidoo you're done and finished.

Don't be a total retard and just let your mast go without giving it a second's thought. Try to parbuckle the mast alongside, preferably up on to your deck, if at all possible. A couple of well placed fenderboards can prevent the mast from damaging your hull, and maybe you can even restep the mast when you find calm water. Or step the boom as a jury mast. At any rate, eventually if you make it back to a port, you will wish you didn't have to buy a new mast. Even towing it might be feasible. Would make a fair drogue, maybe, if you are in really sucky weather.


Whatever you do, PUH-LEEEZE use a harness and stay clipped in at all times! Without a mast, you are gonna be rolling like crazy, with a sickeningly snappy motion. Don't ask me how I know.
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Old 11-02-2013, 09:51   #29
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

There is no rule that says you can't carry both a cable cutter and a disc grinder. Both are handy to have for other uses than emergency rigging cutting.

My guess, and it's just a guess, for cable less than 5/16" a cable cutter will be faster. For larger cables, that need a hydraulic cutter, the disc would be faster.
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Old 11-02-2013, 15:25   #30
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Re: Good Bolt Cutters?

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Details on the hacksaw? I would like to add that as a backup.

Regarding the comment from Stumble, 18V DC battery operated is not exactly high voltage and I would bet that even wet it would run long enough to cut through the rigging. If was really nasty might be a good idea to wrap the body of the grinder in a plastic bag to keep it drier. Would cut out air flow and cooling but again should work long enough to cut a wire or three.

The one they used was just the one someone had in their tool box, but any good quality hacksaw would be fine. Just be sure to get a blade intended for cutting stainless (Stanley has a 10 pack for $16).
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