In Tricks of the Trade

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Over the years, I’ve shortened a fair number of long bolts to some desired size rather than traipsing to the hardware store for just a few of the proper length. Unfortunately, I always encountered two problems with sawing bolts. The first was that it’s difficult to mark an accurate cutline on bolt threads. The second was that securely clamping the bolt in a vise for sawing can be awkward because the head and threads are different diameters.

It finally dawned on me that the solution is to select a nut the same width as the bolt head, thread it onto the bolt so its outer face aligns with the desired cutline, and then clamp the assembly into the vise, squeezing the nut and bolt head between the jaws. Voilà! The assembly is now firmly clamped, and by running the hacksaw blade against the nut, I can cut the bolt to perfect length.  –Brad Nixon


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