Hacksawing sheet metal

I’m sure you’ve all heard that horrible noise you get when you put a sheet of metal upright in a vice and try to saw through it.

Bad Sawing

The noise is cause by the sheet vibrating as it’s cut. As well as the noise there’s a few other issues with this approach. Firstly the metal is not very well supported so could buckle or twist as you are cutting it. It’s also not very easy to keep the line straight.

Better

If you put the metal further down in the vice it provides more support and you’ll not have the squeaking or buckling. However it does mean that you’d need to keep adjusting it if you had a long cut to make.

Best

So the solution is to clamp it differently. You can clamp the sheet to the bench with a batten. The longer the distance the stiffer the plank you will need. Ensure you position the clamps to avoid clashing with the saw. You also need to ensure that it is secure and won’t move. This approach means that your metal is better supported so does not buckle or whine. The cut should also be straighter as there is more of the saw blade in the slot so it follows the same line as already cut.

Teeth

There is another advantage which is the shallower cutting angle means that there are more teeth cutting on each stroke. This means you should complete the cut faster and with less effort. This should make up for the extra setup time.

So remember when cutting sheet metal with a hacksaw.

  • Secure clamping
  • Supported work
  • Leads to straight cuts

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