For those who work with cables and wire, wire cutters are indispensible tools of the trade. Whether cutting WG8 or 1000 MCM cables, you need tools that are strong enough to do the job but careful enough to make precise cuts. When you are looking for wire cutting tools, whether dedicated or universal, try to get the best quality you can afford. This extends the life of your tool and ensures that you will get the best results.
How do you choose the right tool for your needs. The first thing to take into account when choosing a wire cutting tool is the limitations of the particular cutter. You have to pick one that will cut the maximum gauge of wire you are using.
If you try to cut a 12 gauge wire on a cutter that’s only rated for 18 gauge, you’ll ruin the cutting edge of the tool and wind up with a messy end on your wire. Cutting through cable requires a tool with strong jaws and sharp edges. There are many types of cutters: diagonal cutting pliers “dikes” are small wedge-shape cutters, one side of the blade is flat and the opposite is curved for cutting wire flush with surfaces best for cutting through small individual wire. Wire Cutters slice through individual wires and sheathed electrical cable with a long thin cutting blade. Cable cutters cut through thick electrical cable with 2 C-shaped cutting heads attached to straight, hinged handles. Ratcheting cable cutters reduces the amount of muscle power required to cut through thick cables. Like standard cable cutters, the ratcheting cable cutter consists of cutting heads and hinged handles. The ratcheting cable cutter’s heads, however, remain locked in place following the compression of its handles. With every compression of its handles, the ratcheting cable cutter grips and bites a cable. As such, the ratcheting cable cutter relies not on short, strong bursts of strength but repeated, firm pushes this ratcheting action helps to cut thick cables much better than trying to use strength with a pair of snips.
If you have never used a pair of ratcheting cable cutters, here are some steps to take to use them properly.
The first step to working with a ratcheting cable cutter is to become familiar with it. Look over the tool, see how the ratchet works, become accustomed to the release mechanism, and try it out without any type of cable. This works much like that of a handcuff. The jaw opens up so that you can insert the cable into the cutting area.
Once the cutter is opened, you can then close the ratcheting cutter around the cable. Make sure it locks into position so that when you depress the handles, the ratcheting action will start to work. Keep the cutter at a perpendicular position to the cable. This will help make a cleaner cut and lessen the chance of any type of injury.
Now that the cable is positioned in the cable cutter, you can begin the process of cutting through the cable. Do not be surprised if it does not go through the cable in one slice. The ratcheting action of the cutter is there to help power through larger diameter cables in smaller cuts. The pressure of the ratchet, as the cutter clamps down on the cable, keeps the blade working through the cable.
As you begin to cut through the cable, you will continue to ratchet the cutters until you have a clean cut.
Clean the blade of any remaining residue.
And remember to always wear eye protection when using any wire cutter.