How to Cut Wire Without Wire Cutters

Have you ever been in a situation where your wire cutters are broken, lost or unavailable?  If so, then this is the blog post for you! We will go over how to cut wire without any tools.  I’ll show you three techniques that can be done with just your hands and fingers. 

But before we get into that, let’s talk about why it’s important to know these techniques. Wire is often used in construction projects around the home as well as many other places such as schools, offices and retail stores. The most common types of wire are: copper plated steel wire, copper coated aluminum wiring coils and vinyl-coated insulation wires which can cause an electric shock if they aren’t handled properly.

Cutting wire can be a hassle without the right tools. In this blog post we’ll go over some of the most common methods for cutting wire without wire cutters. 

Is it possible to cut wire with pliers?

There are pliers that allow the cutting of nails and wire. The primary purpose of a wire cutter is to clip and sever wires. They have both a diagonal and a side cutting edge. They are considered pliers, however, since they can grip and remove nails.

Electrical wires can be cut using lineman’s pliers, diagonals, or the inner cutter of a wire stripping tool. 

Suggestions:

  • Electrical wires can be spliced or cut using lineman’s pliers.
  • Cutting small-gauge wire requires a long-nosed plier.
  • An all-purpose option that’s standard is diagonal cutting pliers.
  • If you want to trim closely, try end-cutting pliers.
  • Never cut wire with scissors.

Types of electrical wires

One of the great reasons to have wire cutters is that they are quite versatile and can handle almost any kind of wiring. In the home or office, wires provide a conduit for the transfer of electricity from transformers into outlets. In addition, your electronic devices and appliances will be conducting the same electricity.

Although these wires are relatively common, the sizes, casings, and materials of them are not the same. Aluminum and other metals are commonly used to make wires, but copper makes up the vast majority of all electrical wires. The materials of both wires and cables are similar, but there are different types of wire that can be incorporated into a variety of situations and projects.

Single-Conductor

There are single-conductor wires that are the most common electrical wiring.

Solid and stranded wire are also available in single-conductor variations. Most common examples of stranded wires are found in commonly available electronic devices, such as chargers for cell phones. They are flexible, which is why they are so effective.

The reason for this is that solid wires are more rigid, which means that they conduct electricity better. When it comes to wiring, solid wires are implemented primarily in order to achieve both evenness and long lengths.

Wires with single conductors are commonly made of thermoplastic nylon-coated high-heat resistance wires and thermoplastic nylon-coated heavy-duty wires. Besides resisting excess water and heat, they have built-in heat resistance, so they can withstand a variety of conditions.

Multiconductor Wires

Multiconductor cables are used to connect the appliances in your home, such as the stove, dishwasher, washing machine, and so on.

The nonmetallic type is usually referred to as NM. You have three kinds of wires: your hot or live wire, your neutral wire (which is covered in plastic), and your ground wire.

Heavy appliances are fitted with NM cables designed for 120/140  circuits. It provides plenty of protection to both the wiring and the user with the heavy, black covering that surrounds the wiring.

Metal-Clad Wiring

Steel-coated wire, also called MC wire, has an aluminum housing. Usually metal housing has one ground, one live, and one neutral wire and is made of aluminum. Industrial applications usually use metal-clad wiring.

Due to its natural ability to withstand heavy loads, metal-clad is often used for industrial work. In addition, the metal casing protects the wires from failure, as well as reducing fire risk.

Metal-clad cable wiring is much more expensive due to its safety features and the materials it is made from. Generally, these are only found in industrial and commercial settings.

Methods of Cutting Wire Without Wire Cutters

Without the use of wire cutters, here are a few alternatives to cut wire.

  1. Bend it

Depending on its thickness and flexibility, you may be able to bend the wire.

By bending the wire back and forth, you can break it away.

Remember that thicker wires and wires with a jacket won’t work.

Keeping this method in mind also means you should be aware that bending the wire repeatedly will compromise the integrity of the wire overall.

It is called work-hardening when it occurs in the vicinity of a break or a bend. Thus, the area can become both stronger and harder than the other parts of the wire.

As a result of the bending process, the wire may also be deformed.

Going forward, this puts a question mark on its reliability. There’s a good chance that bending the wire previously has something to do with the performance problems in the rest of the wiring.

  1. Hacksaw

The importance of using a wire cutter when cutting any type of wiring cannot be overstated. Even so, if you’re without wire cutters, a hacksaw will do the trick.

Using a hacksaw with a high teeth-per-inch count will ensure that the cut is as clean as possible.

Hacksaws tend to be difficult to use regardless of their tooth counts when it comes to cutting wire. In general, an electric hacksaw is best used on larger wires since the majority of wires are smaller.

Hacksaws are not meant to cut through wire that is thinner, tighter, and smaller in diameter. This will obstruct your ability to finally cut all the way through the wire.

  1. Tin Snips

Tin snips come with sharpened blades attached to handles that are typically 8 inches in length. The snips were designed originally for cutting metal sheets, but they can also cut anything as sensitive as copper wire.

Tin snips require careful handling, so take time. Make sure the wire is carefully positioned between the blades and that the handles are closed evenly.

It is possible to make an even cut with a tin snip, but there is also a possibility that the wires might bend and contort instead.

  1. Reciprocating Saw

This hacksaw method can be effective, but can cause wire damage as it can only be moved so quickly.

Reciprocal saws provide much more power and speed. In order to cut more evenly, this is the best method.

Attached at the end of the reciprocating saw are blades of variable length and thinness. That blade is moved backward and forward by a motor inside the unit at a very high speed.

Its use is most commonly limited to cutting things like wood and pipes in tighter spaces, where a larger saw may be difficult to operate.

To get the best results, make sure that the teeth-per-inch are high. It should be possible to cut through the wires with a reciprocating saw with a high tooth count.

By turning on the saw, you can push gently until the wire is completely cut.

Wearing protective eyeglasses is especially important when doing this type of work. Wire pieces can get whipped in different directions due to the speed of the saw.

Reciprocal saws have the advantage of cutting through larger and smaller wires.

  1. Angle Grinder

Angle grinders are available to a lot of amateur handymen.

There are hundreds of rotations per minute on the cutting blade of an angle grinder.

The best thing about an angle grinder is that it can be fitted with a soft, circular brush to clean metal surfaces more thoroughly.

You should then put on your safety goggles, turn on the grinder, and gently approach the exterior of the wire. Using the angle grinder blade, slowly cut the wire until it is completely through.

In the same manner as a saw, it works best with larger-gauge wires.

Avoid using scissors or nail clippers

Wire cutting requires more than just a sharp blade, even though you may think that’s the case.

Clippers and scissors aren’t designed for this sort of use, so you shouldn’t use them.

The other consequence will be that your scissors will become dull, which is not only impractical, but will be extremely expensive. Your worst case scenario is they will be ruined forever.

Wires can’t be cut with these types of tools because they are too blunt. As opposed to cutting the wires, they will just distort and bend them instead.

Additionally, this can cause damage to your tooling, as well as undermine the integrity of the wire and negatively impact its performance.

In addition, serious injuries may occur. Due to the lack of insulation on either of these tools, you may suffer an electrical shock.

Scissors, shears, and nail clippers are definitely not recommended because of the risk of injury and the ineffective results.

FAQ

Can you cut wire with a knife?

Knives of all types are no problem. You can cut it with any cheap kitchen knife. By using a block of wood as a hammer, a good folder can be used to cut or segment even solid 3-strand Romax house wiring.

Can you cut wire rope with bolt cutters?

Wire rope shears are designed to cut wire rope, but bolt cutters are intended to cut bolts. This is a common occurrence. Those who use bolt cutters are cutting bolts, while those who use wire rope shears are cutting wire rope.

Can you cut a wire with scissors?

Never cut wire with scissors.

When cutting wires, be sure to use a hand tool such as a wire cutter or pliers, rather than scissors or a blade. The metal inside the wire may even be damaged by sharp scissors.

Which tool is used to strip and cut wires?

There are many applications for side cutting pliers (lineman’s pliers) including electrical, communications, and construction work. Wire splicing or cutting, insulation stripping are tasks that can be handled with this tool.

Conclusion

Wire is a necessary component of many projects. But what do you do when it needs to be cut? With wire cutters, you have the option of cutting through the metal with relative ease. Without them, there are still plenty of options for getting that job done!  In this article, we’ve explored some of the many tools that can be used to cut wire. It may seem like a daunting task but there are plenty of alternatives out there for those without access to wire cutters. 

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