How to cut your own rebar

The best way to cut rebar if you have to

Steel concrete reinforcing bars (rebar) is one of the most common forms of fabricated steel, especially in construction. It typically comes from the manufacturer in long lengths, requiring you to cut it to the length that you need. The following procedure instruct on how to cut rebar if you’re already proficient with metalworking techniques.

Step 1. Select the rebar.

Common rebar is classified according to its diameter in units of 1/8 inch. For residential work, such as concrete and landscaping applications, you typically want to use #3 rebar, which is 3/8 inch in diameter. Larger sizes of rebar are typically used only in commercial or industrial applications, since it requires specialized equipment to cut.

Step 2. Follow safety procedures.

Rebar is heavy and the ends are sharp, especially after they have just been cut. The cutting process also sends hot metal into the air at a high speed. Wear safety goggles, gloves and heavy clothing when cutting rebar to prevent potential injuries. You also need to wear heavy work boots to protect your feet from falling rebar.

Step 3. Prepare your workspace.

Rebar is typically sold in lengths ranging from 20 feet to 60 feet. These long lengths require you to handle rebar in an open area that is free of obstructions. You also need to ensure that your work area doesn’t have flammable materials due to the hot sparks produced during the cutting process.

Step 4. Measure the rebar.

Determining the length of rebar that you need can be a challenge, since this step may require you to consider several factors. For simple applications you can simply measure the distance that the rebar needs to cover. However, many uses of rebar require you to account for curves, usually when you need to tie the rebar to another object. In such cases research formulas to help you identify the needed length.

You’ll typically use ordinary chalk to mark rebar for cutting. You can also use wax crayon if the mark needs to be waterproof.

Step 5. Cut the rebar.

You can cut rebar with a number of tools. If you only need to cut a few pieces, you can use a hack saw with a blade designed for cutting metal. If you’re going to be cutting rebar many times, you’ll probably want to use a reciprocating saw or band saw. A metal grinder with a blade rated for mild steel is also a suitable tool for cutting rebar.

Contact steel fabricators to find out more about the best size of rebar to use for your project. They can also provide you with rebar that has special coatings for greater resistance to corrosion.