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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2002
    Location
    Cow County, MD
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    7,106

    Default Best wire cutters for old barbed wire?

    Now that the vegetation has died back, this is the perfect time of year to try to get rid of the decades-old barbed wire fence lurking in my treeline. Any recommendations on the best wire cutters for the job? I'm not the strongest gal, and I'll happy fork over some money for a really good tool.
    Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    43,036

    Default

    We use bolt cutters for that.
    They come in many sizes, from 8" to feet long.
    For barbed wire fencing work, we use one that is about 12" long, but you may like a longer one, if you are wimpy.

    Here is a 36" one, so you can get an idea of what they look like:

    http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-25ec...1#.URgwvY5iFaU

    Here is an 8" one:

    http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...1#.URgxzY5iFaU

    Take a piece of barbed wire with you, go to a hardware store and see what size cuts it best for you.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2005
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    4,432

    Default

    I usually use the wire cutter part on the fence tool. I'm carrying a bucket for collecting stables with a hammer and fence tool anyway so I'm not too concerned about size. Sometimes I'll grab the "dikes" (diagonal cutting pliers) or lineman's pliers if I'm cutting a lot of fence. Klein's are good, but even though I'm not a small person, they're a bit to bulky for my liking. I really like Channel-lock brand. The absolute best cutters I've used are the Knipex brand that DH got for Christmas one year.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    43,036

    Default

    Ours is like this one, but red and a better brand, has lasted for decades:

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Stanley-18...utter/14146151

    Fencing pliers wire cutters will wear you out when you have to cut as much as you will have to cut there, although they are ok to cut a bit here and there while building fences.
    Any more, we use the bolt cutters practically all the time, except when going along fences, where you rarely have to stop to fix something, then wire cutters fencing pliers fit better in your saddlebag.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2002
    Location
    Henrico, NC 36 30'50.49" N 77 50'17.47" W
    Posts
    5,888

    Default

    You asked for the best.

    http://www.felcostore.com/item/f-cdo...recablecutters

    Felco clippers have every part in them available for purchase, and are easy to replace.

    My 97 year old Mother is hard to buy a present for. She doesn't want anyone to spend money on her, and she doesn't want anyone to make anything for her that she has to find somewhere to put. She's a better cook than anyone else, so you can't cook a gift for her.

    For this past Christmas, I stole her pair of Felco clippers that she uses to cut her roses. I think I gave them to her in the '80s. They had 6 or 8 little parts that were worn out. I looked online and found every little part, sharpened them, and gave them back to her as good as new. It was a big hit.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2001
    Location
    Nashville, TN USA
    Posts
    1,190

    Default

    I would carry a magnet on a stick (like a farrier has) to pick up broken pieces on the ground. Really old wire that has rusted can break into pieces sometimes.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2009
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    5,413

    Default

    I use fencing pliers and carefully watch and pick up every little piece.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2004
    Location
    N. TX...just N.East of paradise...
    Posts
    2,028

    Default

    BOLT CUTTERS...trust me I know....
    "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Proud member of the Wheat Loss Clique.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    10,626

    Default

    In my wire cutter case for fox hunting I have a pair of those 8" bolt cutters. Easy to use and they do not require brute strength to get the job done.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Posts
    22,455

    Default

    Bolt cutters or really huge wire cutters.
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2008
    Location
    Little Rock and Boxley, Arkansas
    Posts
    338

    Default

    How can I pass up Felco Commando Barbed Wire Cutters?

    http://www.felcostore.com/item/f-cdo...FYGpPAodz2sAJw



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2004
    Location
    Eastern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,471

    Default

    Bolt cutters. Don't get too big a pair -- they're really heavy to carry around. Mine are about 12" long. I fold each piece of the old wire into about 18" folds. I'm storing it outside the pasture in an old metal stock tank that I got at an auction for $5. When it's full, I'll get the scrap metal dealer to take it away.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
    Location
    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
    Posts
    7,345

    Default

    Another vote for Bolt Cutters



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,470

    Default

    bolt cutters! Barbed wire is usually thick and double stranded. Save your hands and use bolt cutters.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2002
    Location
    Henrico, NC 36 30'50.49" N 77 50'17.47" W
    Posts
    5,888

    Default

    If you do use bolt cutters, notice that there's an adjustment on the jaws. They need to almost meet each other but not quite. Otherwise you have to twist them to cut something all the way. The jaws are hardened, and you can sharpen them, but be careful not to get the jaw too hot with the grinder or it will ruin the temper in the steel, and then they won't hold a sharp edge in use at all.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
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    43,036

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom King View Post
    If you do use bolt cutters, notice that there's an adjustment on the jaws. They need to almost meet each other but not quite. Otherwise you have to twist them to cut something all the way. The jaws are hardened, and you can sharpen them, but be careful not to get the jaw too hot with the grinder or it will ruin the temper in the steel, and then they won't hold a sharp edge in use at all.
    I am surprised by that.
    We have used in our shop several sizes of bolt cutters, that some may be now a good 70+ years old and are still cutting fine, never were sharpened.
    Bolt cutters work by leverage, not by an especially sharp edge.
    We generally cut bolts and chain links with them, even sizable chains and those bolt cutters keep on cutting.
    They have parts you can replace, but we never needed to do so.

    For someone not working with them, but cutting the occasional barbed wire, I don't think they need to worry about how sharp those may be.
    Bolt cutters go thru fencing wire like a knife thru butter, that is why they are so nice, makes the cutting effortless.

    I expect if someone does use them all the time, all day long, there would then be some maintenance to them.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2002
    Location
    Henrico, NC 36 30'50.49" N 77 50'17.47" W
    Posts
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    Default

    The old, made in the USA ones will work fine forever. I've seen a lot of them that have been abused, by cutting stuff that was over sized for them which can bend some of the parts enough so the jaws don't quite come together close enough to continue to cut well. Most of the ones for sale now are made in China, so if someone goes out to buy a pair now, they won't hold up like the old ones did.

    I have one four foot pair (made in China) that someone borrowed, and cut some rebar with. I had to work on those, including sharpening the jaws, to get them to cut anything with again. I try not to loan tools, but it's hard not to do sometimes.

    Most people I see who use screwdrivers for something other than screws, and have files bouncing around loose in a toolbox, also have bolt cutters that won't cut anything without having to twist them around.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2002
    Location
    Cow County, MD
    Posts
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    Default

    Awesome, fantastic suggestions from everyone. I am seriously tempted by those Felcoes.

    This weekend involves trying to finish out the second floor in our house, so no wire-cutting today. But I'll report back when we do get back outside.
    Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2004
    Location
    N. TX...just N.East of paradise...
    Posts
    2,028

    Default

    Note to ya. I think I messed up my wrist trying to cut that type of barbed wire with fence pliers.....that was 3 months ago and still twinging with the wrong twisting movement.

    I DO wish I'd had shorter bolt cutters...mine are monster 24" ones!
    "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Proud member of the Wheat Loss Clique.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2002
    Location
    Cow County, MD
    Posts
    7,106

    Default

    Ouch, Melelio, that doesn't sound fun!
    Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.



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