Rather than clamping metal bolts and machine screws in a vice when cutting to length, which can damage the threads, try this method instead:

  1. Attach a 2”x2” board to a workbench with screws.
  2. Drill a hole horizontally through the board the same diameter as the bolt you plan to cut.
  3. Screw a nut on the bolt, then slide the bolt through the hole in the board.
  4. Thread another nut on the bolt, and use a wrench to tighten it up against the board.
  5. Use a hacksaw to cut the bolt to length.
  6. Remove the nut from the bolt, and the bolt from the board.

Unscrewing the nut from the bolt will remove any metal burrs and straighten out any deformed threads that are left from cutting the bolt.

Watch the video above to find out more.


Joe Truini: Here’s a simple solution that my Dad taught me as a kid, and I love it. I use all the time, whenever I need to shorten a carriage bolt or machine screw that’s a little too long.

Danny Lipford: What Joe’s done here, instead of putting this actually in a vice, he’s taken a piece of scrap wood and attached it to the workbench using some wood screws. This gives him a good support mechanism for the cutting of the bolt. Then he drilled a hole all the way through the scrap piece of wood and attached the bolt through it. He’s holding it in place with two different nuts—one on each side.

Joe Truini: Then all you need to do, is once the bolt is cut short, is loosen the nut, and back it off the bolt end. As it comes off, it’ll shear off any prickly burrs and cut any deformed threads. And then you can just put the nut right back.

Danny Lipford: Now this can be used for any type of threaded rod or machine screw or almost anything like that that you have around your house.

Further Information

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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