How To Cut Rebar With Power Tools

Rebar, also known as reinforcing bars are essential in construction and stoneworking. It provides critical support for concrete as it is a frame that the concrete sets around.

How to cut rebar with an angle grinder

As with any power tool work, you must make sure safety is your number one priority before even thinking about making a cut.

Rebar is heavy and has sharp ends. Any time you cut metal with another metal, you need to expect that sparks and metal particles will fly out.

Make sure you don’t have any loose clothing that can catch on fire because of a spark. You also need to wear heavy duty work gloves, a mask, and eye protection. To protect your body, wear a long sleeve shirt, tough pants like jeans, and work boots.

Measuring the rebar

Rebar is often found as pieces 20 feet long. Measure out how much you’ll need with a tape measure and make clear marks with chalk so you know where to cut.

When you measure, you should also factor in any bends that you need to make. If you find it difficult to measure directly on the rebar, measure a length of string or rope and use that to measure the bent rebar.

rebar

How much space do you need to cut rebar?

You’ll need to make sure you have enough room to maneuver your rebar as you cut it. Even though rebar is typically sold in 20 foot pieces, it can be anywhere up to 60 feet at times.

It’s best to cut rebar in an open space so you have room to move around! It will also prevent anything from catching on fire due to the sparks from cutting.

Garages tend to have flammable objects like wood chips and barbeque firestarters, so make sure those are very far away.

Cut rebar with an angle grinder

An angle grinder that has a cutting wheel is one of the most suited tools to cut rebar. Just make sure you are using the correct size.

In most cases, a 4” will do the trick just fine. Angle grinders are ideal because they’re really quick but you don’t have to use a clumsier tool like a hacksaw.

The first thing you need to do is ensure that you’re using the correct wheel that is meant to cut through metal. Next, you must secure the rebar in place so it does not move as you try to cut it.

You can secure the rebar using something like a clamp or a vice. Once the rebar is fixed in place, just push the angle grinder down and make your cut.

Pro tip: Instead of using an abrasive disk, use a diamond blade rated to cut iron(ferrous) materials. These are more efficient at cutting, so they’ll draw less power and put less strain on your motor. They’ll also last longer than abrasive disks, saving you money in the long run.

Can you cut rebar with a power saw?

Miter saws, circular saws, and chop saws that have a diamond blade can cut through rebar. When using any of these tools, make sure that the rebar is very secure with a vice or clamp.

Make your mark on where you will cut, and lower down the saw to cut. Don’t apply excessive force as this can cause the saw to slip. Instead, let the blade do the work and cut through the metal itself.

Circular saw

Circular saws are popular options to cut through rebar because they’re quite powerful and versatile. The key is to use a blade that can cut through metal:

  • Regular steel blades may do the trick but they’ll wear down very quickly
  • Carbide tipped blades are more efficient but are more expensive
  • Diamond-tipped blades are the ideal choice

Chop saw

Chop saws are designed to cut through metal. They’re an ideal choice and a wise investment if you plan on cutting lots of rebar. Chop saws look very similar to miter saws, and the working is quite similar: you just lower the blade onto whatever you are cutting.

Miter saw

Like chop saws, you can also use miter saws to cut through metal. However, you must use the right blade as the stock blade will either not go through the rebar or it will wear down very easily.

Also, using the miter saw to cut metals very regularly will put a lot of strain on the motor and blade, even if the blade is meant to cut metal.

Reciprocating saw

Reciprocating saws are very powerful and are meant for demolition. They’ll do a fantastic job of going right through the rebar. Use a slow saw speed and put it on straight mode to work better.

Use less teeth per inch(TPI) for thicker metals.

Pro tip: Use a carbide tipped or bimetal blade for best results.

Cutting wheel

Metal cutting wheels work similar to table saws, except there is no surface on which the material to cut is placed. It’s a great way to cut metal: just hold the rebar in place with a vice or a clamp, and make your cut.

Bolt cutter

Bolt cutters are like scissors on steroids. They’re meant to cut through extremely thick and heavy pieces of metal. If your rebar fits within the diameter your bolt cutter is capable of handling, it will do the job just fine.

Some bolt cutters have over 4000 PSI of force

Torch

A torch works by heating the rebar to the point that it is malleable. Then you can use a pipe or any tool to easily break it.

The main disadvantage of this method is that the edges are left uneven when you bend and break the rebar.

Manual saw

Bandsaws and hacksaws fitted with blades that can handle metal can cut through rebar, but it will require a heckuva lot of elbow grease.

You can get away with cutting very thin pieces of rebar by hand, but if you try to cut thicker pieces, your arm will tire out and the teeth on the blades will wear down.

What is rebar used for?

Rebar is primarily used as reinforcement for concrete. It’s quite sustainable as most of it is made locally and from recycled materials.

Rebar works by ensuring the compression and tension in concrete remains evenly distributed.

Grades of rebar

#3 rebar is the most commonly used type in residential concrete work. #3 rebar is ⅜ of an inch in diameter.

Rebars of larger diameters are used commercially and industrially as it will come under more stress, and it also requires specialized equipment for cutting.

Rebar #4 is also used at home and by hobbyists. #4 rebar is ½ inch in diameter and can be cut using a hand tool.

Rebars with small diameters can also be bent very easily.

Conclusion

You have a lot of options when it comes to cutting rebar. Chop saws or angle grinders are the best ways to go, but if you don’t have those tools on hand, you can use miter saws or circular saws too, provided you have the right kind of blades.