How to Adjust a Bolt Cutter

Updated February 21, 2017

Bolt cutters are an essentially an industrial strength, and size, pair of scissors. While originally designed to cut stubborn or rusted bolts, bolt cutters have a variety of uses, including cutting cable, wire, chains and padlocks. Bolt cutters get their power from the leverage supplied by their handles, that can be up to 6 feet long. For optimum results the jaws of the cutters need to be kept in parallel alignment and can be tuned by turning the adjustment screws on the side of the jaws.

Open the handles of the bolt cutter, insert the paper into the jaws and close the handles. If the jaws do not hold the paper the gap needs to be adjusted.

Open the handles and adjust the jaws until the gap between the jaws is uniform along their length by turning the top adjusting bolt with the wrench clockwise to close or counterclockwise to open the tip of the jaws.

Turn the bottom adjustment bolt clockwise to narrow, or counterclockwise to widen the gap at the base of the jaws.

Insert the paper and close the handles. If the jaws hold the paper the gap is correct.

Things You'll Need

  • Small adjustable wrench
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