So if it isn’t readily apparent I usually do these tool chest articles based on tools that I have used in recently builds. My mahogany bookcase was a popular build and I couldn’t have done it without an abrasive chop saw. Perhaps you saw the picture where I was filling my whole shop with sparks? That was an abrasive saw.
Most people accept that cutting wood is pretty easy so long as you have the right tools. For some reason though many people don’t look at metal the same way. Metal is seen as a whole other level of complexity that the average person can’t mess with. I used to be the same way, but I’m here to say it’s not true my friends! Metal is just like wood, all you need to cut it and manipulate it are the right tools.
When it comes to simple straight and mitered cuts on metal, the abrasive saw is going to be your best bet. The abrasive saw is a simple tool. It’s got a big spinning abrasive blade (similar to what you’d find on an angle grinder), a shield to direct the sparks away from the operator and not much else. It doesn’t need much more than that to be an incredibly useful tool though.
The abrsaive saw is great for cutting flat stock metals, angled metals and extruded metals (think round and square metal tubes). Here’s an example of some straight cuts I made on some angle iron for my bookcase project.
My abrasive saw has an adjustable clamp in it’s base that holds the piece of metal you want to cut in place while you’re cutting it. The blade will spin up and you slowly plunge it down into whatever you want to cut by applying downward pressure on the handle. Sparks will start shooting everywhere, but maintain your pressure and be patient, it can take 20-30 seconds to cut through a thick piece of steel. Before you know it you’ll have a clean cut piece of metal in your hand. It’s just that easy.
Lately I’ve been noticing a real uptick in the number of people on Instagram posting furniture projects using tubular metals and angle irons. As the industrial aesthetic continues to build in popularity you might be thinking of adding some metal to your next project. I don’t blame you, it looks great, its cheap, and its super strong. If you’re looking to start incorporating some metal into your DIY projects an abrasive saw is an easy recommendation to make. Because they are so simple even the good ones are relatively cheap.
Here’s a link to one that’s very similar to the abrasive saw I use (amazon doesn’t sell the one I use unfortunately). This is a professional grade tool, but its less than you’d pay for a good cordless drill. Truth be told though I’ve seen abrasive saws for much cheaper in brick and mortar retail stores. For this tool Amazon might not be your best bet, but if you’re looking for the convenience of home delivery this one is hard to beat.
Thanks for checking out this article DIYers. As always let me know if you have any questions or comments below. See you next time!