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Tip #198
Cutting/ shortening bolts

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If you find yourself needing a bolt that's less than an inch long and you don't have one in your shop inventory, what do you do?

Reach for a bolt-cutter? Not unless you want to mash the threads beyond usability. Stick it in a vise and hacksaw it off? Good idea…but how do you get a good enough grip on it to create a clean cut?

Try this approach. Clamp a small block of hardwood into your vise jaws. Drill a hole in your wood that's 1/32" or so smaller than the diameter of your bolt.

Space permitting, thread a nut onto your bolt, all the way to the underside of the bolt head, then screw the bolt all the way into your hardwood block.

Hacksaw down through the top surface of your hardwood block and through the bolt at your desired length.

Unscrew the bolt from the wood. Unscrew the nut from your bolt, restoring the threads as you do so. File off any sharp edges.

If your bolt is destined to be so short that you'll be unable to thread the nut on prior to cutting, you'll have to restore your threads manually, using a knife-edged needle file or similar

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