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Old 22-06-2018, 19:26   #1
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Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

Seems like we don't have a TOOLS section and perhaps we should. So...

My question is not what brand or model bolt cutter is the best. But rather, what do you look for if you want damned strong metal in the cutting jaws? Chrome steel? Vanadium steel? Induction hardened jaws, as opposed to surface hardened?

If you want bolt cutters that weren't going to get indigestion going through boron hardened steel, or stainless, but simply cold take all the force you cold put on them and come back to do it again...Like 11mm or 3/8 or thicker.

What would you look for in terms of the material itself?

(OK, now, you can mention favorite brands and models.)
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Old 22-06-2018, 20:02   #2
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

I just tried to cut 1/2" rebar with a pair of 36" bolt cutters on land, and it was a no go. It would be pretty hard to cut stout rigging on a bouncy boat, no mater what the jaws were made from.
An Angle Grinder with a cut off wheel is the bomb.
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Old 22-06-2018, 21:41   #3
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

I second the angle grinder but would add that it be the portable version with rechargeable battery. As long as there isn't any flammable materials nearby for the sparks to light up I expect the grinder will cut anything a bolt cutter will and then some.
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Old 22-06-2018, 22:37   #4
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

Take a look at the BlackHawk Super BoltMasters, they come in our breaching kits. Not cheap, but I can tell you from experience they have never failed to cut for me and some of these **** holes in the world have some amazingly tough pad locks.


https://blackhawk.com/products/entry...per-boltmaster

However, like previous posters said an angle grinder with a cut off wheel is darn hard to beat. An extra battery or two and a pack of extra wheel and few things will stand in your way.
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Old 22-06-2018, 23:11   #5
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

For steel wire rope then felcos. Otherwise grinder with 1mm disc.
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Old 23-06-2018, 01:29   #6
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

What do you want to cut with them?

If wire rigging then its the wrong tool...bolt cutters just crush the wire, not cut it. Though Ive seen plenty of boats who mistakenly have them aboard for that purpose.
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Old 23-06-2018, 09:12   #7
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

[QUOTE=njoynthewater;2657923]I second the angle grinder but would add that it be the portable version with rechargeable battery. As long as there isn't any flammable materials nearby for the sparks to light up I expect the grinder will cut anything a bolt cutter will and then some.[/QUOTE Yes. A 4" grinder would be perfect Metabo rules, but there are other good ones out there. My Bosch is 15 years old and still going! That said, 1 mm 'wafer' (cut-off) wheels are VERY dangerous.
Unlike grinding wheels, which would work but be slower, wafer wheels routinely come apart, especially in inexperienced hands or awkward positions. I've been close to 2 people who lost an eye using these wheels, admittedly for lack of 'proper' Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - although in one incident (in the weld test booth right next to me) the fragment of disc came right thru the plastic cover plate in his welding hood...and right over the top of his dime-store reading glasses. Like a knife through warm butter... Lots of sutures too over the years, including a dozen or so of my own. Of course in a life & death situation we do our best - I would certainly try to keep the 'line of fire' (sparks) well away from my face. And don't 'hog' (bear down) too hard on the disc! Let the grinder do it's work. It'll be just as fast.
Certainly in a practice situation, wear all the PPE you can find. Real safety glasses AND a face shield. I wear ANSI glasses and my hood with it's flip-up lens. Always.
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Old 23-06-2018, 09:25   #8
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

Well, not sure about alloys, too hard is brittle in some uses. But as far as brands go, usually industrial brands like Ridgid are very good and built and designed to last.
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Old 23-06-2018, 09:38   #9
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

Quote:
Originally Posted by conachair View Post
For steel wire rope then felcos. Otherwise grinder with 1mm disc.
We have a smaller pair of these of board, ought to test them at some point to see if they are effective.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/36-HEAVY-....c100005.m1851

Hellosailor, what do you have on board that is hardened steel and needs cutting?
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Old 23-06-2018, 09:51   #10
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

Picking the steel alloy and the heat treating method is of interest to the manufacturer. The odds that they will share that information with you are slim. Also, there are many steels which can be hardened to a specific point and the choice of the alloy often has to do with other factors like cost, forgeability, the designers familiarity with the material, etc.

As A64 said, there is a tradeoff between hardness and brittleness.

In the real world, the most practical thing to do is to test them. By the way, the stainless steel commonly used on boats, 316 or 304, any 300 series alloy, is soft. It is not a challenge for any remotely good pair of cutters.

There are cutters made which are hydraulic powered. The cutting head is small and is connected to the pump with a hose. The hydraulics can give huge leverage. If you're looking for something manual, compact and powerful I'd give them a try.

And a 4 1/2" angle grinder with a 1/16" cut off wheel will easily go thru any steel or stainless item with little drama or stress. So long as it is calm enough to be dry on deck its an excellent choice.
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Old 23-06-2018, 09:56   #11
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

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Originally Posted by njoynthewater View Post
I second the angle grinder but would add that it be the portable version with rechargeable battery. As long as there isn't any flammable materials nearby for the sparks to light up I expect the grinder will cut anything a bolt cutter will and then some.

Yup. First choice of bike thieves. A decent portable grinder will cut any lock that they can reach. Like less than 2 minutes for even the toughest commercial lock or chain.
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Old 23-06-2018, 10:20   #12
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

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Originally Posted by Ecos View Post
I just tried to cut 1/2" rebar with a pair of 36" bolt cutters on land, and it was a no go. It would be pretty hard to cut stout rigging on a bouncy boat, no mater what the jaws were made from.
An Angle Grinder with a cut off wheel is the bomb.
You must have had a cheapo pair if they wouldn't cut #4 rebar. JMHO
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Old 23-06-2018, 10:47   #13
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

HK Porter makes high quality bolt cutters. Here is a link to their catalog. The information you need will be here: http://www.metrohydraulic.com/pdf/hk-porter-catalog.pdf
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Old 23-06-2018, 11:44   #14
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

belize-
Over the years every once in a while I have just met something that needed cutting, and decided it is time to add a good bolt cutter to the tool pile.

I have a corded angle grinder, didn't want to pick up a cordless one since that also means nursing batteries. I'm familiar with using grinders, and as a matter of fact have used a carbide hacksaw blade to do that same thing. It works, remarkably well, with a lot less noise and bulk.

Breaching kit: But of course! After all, a Halligan tool gets lonesome, all by itself.(G) And such a reasonable "departmental" price. (sigh)

For a couple of years there was an interesting emergency cutter for rod rigging on the market, which I didn't need and couldn't afford "just in case" at the time. Basically it clipped around a piece of rod, and then used a 12 gauge shotgun shell to fire a guillotine cutter blade through the rod. No batteries needed. Seems to have gone off the market though.

I'm looking for a bolt cutter, for heavy chain, odd bolts and bars, the occasional piece of steel that just really is being a nuisance. Including "Tell me you didn't just drop the keys overboard" padlocks, yes.
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Old 23-06-2018, 11:55   #15
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Re: Hardest bolt cutter jaws?

Beware of cheap bolt cutters. Bought one and the cutting surface dented on the first attempt at cutting off a lock. Essentially they wouldn't cut hardened steel and were throw aways after the attempt. Go with a tool from a reputable manufacturer and pay the price which will be substantial.

Have a Felco wire cutter that I've rerigged three boats with over the years, still going strong. Did have to add extension handles to get the leverage to cut 7mm and 10mm 7x19 wire. No way would I have the strength to cut the wire with the stock length handles.
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