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How to Cut Wire Mesh with 10 Different Tools!

Written by Brent Butterworth

DIY projects of all kinds can be completed with wire mesh. You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to animal enclosures, art projects, or interior design elements.

We will help you figure out how to cut mesh wire properly before you begin the task. Read on to learn more.

Choose the Right Tool First

If you want to cut custom shapes or trim a few millimeters off the side,

When it comes to tools, you need the right ones. There are certain tools that can leave burrs or distortions.

  • First, what are the profile and nature of the wire.  Does it have perforations, or is it expanded metal? Could it be wire mesh? Different methods are used for each.
  • What is the thickness of this sheet? A thinner material is easier to cut. How thick is this sheet of metal? It is also important to keep in mind that steel is typically harder than aluminum.
  • Last but not least, consider your application. Are burrs potentially dangerous? Is neatness required?

How to Cut Wire Mesh

Things you need

  • Bolt cutters
  • Cordless mesh cutter
  • Hacksaw
  • Pneumatic air wire cutter
  • Rotary tools
  • Tin snips
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Power Shears
  • Lasers and Plasma Cutters

Bolt cutter for heavyweight wire

Bolt cutter

30 to 42-inch bolt cutters are ideal for cutting through medium to hard steel like copper cable, thick steel chains, large padlocks and bolts, and steel rods.

To learn how to use bolt cutters, check out this helpful tutorial –

Cordless mesh cutter

Cordless mesh cutter

They are designed to cut extra-strong concrete mesh. Also, access to restricted spaces is easy with the small cutting head

How to use a cordless mesh cutter?

Step 1

Make sure your wire cutter is in good working order. The handles should slide open and shut smoothly.

Step 2

When you close the handles, observe the sharp ridges that connect with one another to cut the object when you move the handles.

Step 3

Squeeze the wire cutter handles tightly together to cut the wire by placing it between the sharp metal ridges and cutting it.

Hacksaw for thick wire

Hacksaw

Like snips, almost every DIYer owns a hacksaw. The blades on these tools can be pretty easily chewed up by hard metals.

Hacksaws are difficult to use to create curves, and the finish is greatly dependent on the blade.

How to use a hacksaw to cut wire mesh?

Step 1:

Make several one-way strokes in the direction against the teeth.

Step 2:

Once the blades have grabbed onto a millimeter of the surface, use backward and forward sawing action to complete the cut.

Pneumatic Air wire cutter

Pneumatic Air wire cutter

The air-powered pneumatic cutter can cut wire, bolts, locks, rebar, locks, drum bolts,  chains, and container seals. The push-button cutters are manually operated.

Check out this helpful video that shows you an easy way to cut wire mesh:

Rotary tools for cutting strong, thick wire

Rotary tools

A portable angle grinder is capable of tackling thicker gauges because it is powered. If you’ve never used one before, you might have trouble getting good results; though an experienced hand may be able to do so. They are relatively quick and efficient and give a clean cut.

How to use an angle grinder to cut wire mesh?

Step1:

Put protective eye goggles on

Step2:

Turn the grinder on and slowly introduce the machine to the wire exterior.

Step3:

Move slowly until the blade has cut through the wire.

Tin snips for cutting medium wire

Tin snips for cutting medium wire

Hobbyists and contractors alike probably have a set of these handy, and they are not too expensive.

Cutting wire mesh and thin sheets with snips is easy, and they can even bend at any angle, but you may encounter trouble with smaller gauges, Burrs may result from snips.

How to use tin snips to cut wire mesh?

Step 1:

Position your wire between the two blades

Step 2:

Close the handles evenly as you push forward.

Step 3:

Open and close the handles as you go along to cut evenly in a line.

Wire cutters for medium wire

Wire cutters for medium wire

With dedicated snippers or wire cutters, the wire can be cut from approximately .22mm to 1.20+mm.  The snippers should be placed as close as possible to the weave and overlap points.  There should not be many loose ends because these can snag easily on clothing and skin and cause a lot of damage.

How to use wire cutters to cut wire mesh?

Step 1:

Wire cutters like these work just like scissors place the wire in between the two blades.

Step 2:

pull down slightly while opening and closing the handles.

Scissors for use on thin wire

Scissors for use on thin wire

The thinnest type of mesh serves as protection for small, fragile objects.  A pair of decent office scissors can usually be used to cut this up to .20mm gauge.

To use scissors simply place them between the wire where you want to cut and squeeze the handles open and shut.

Power Shears

Power Shears

**Photo courtesy: Amazon

Power shears can be used to cut wire mesh as it works like a big motor powered scissor. They are also good for cutting complex shapes. But as they are expensive you should consider them only if you need to use them regularly.

The downside is that steering them is difficult and they may leave sharp edges after cutting the mesh. That’s why you need to be extra careful while using them.

Lasers and Plasma Cutters

Lasers and Plasma Cutters

**Photo courtesy: Amazon

Do I Need to Fold the Wires Back?

If the wire ends are loose, fold them back to avoid injuries.

Fold the wires inward with a lineman’s pliers so they won’t poke through the mesh anymore.

Warnings

  • Wear goggles and protective clothing when cutting heavy gauges of metal
  • If you are cutting wire, the edges can be ragged, and even if you’re wearing gloves and goggles, it prevents damage from happening.
  • When you purchase your wire in a roll, it is important to know that it may bounce back into your face if the rolled wire isn’t flattened before cutting.

Tips for cutting wire mesh

  • In order to cut steel wire mesh for concrete work, use a pair of bolt cutters to cut through heavy gauge stuff. Depending on how thick heavy-duty snips might do the job.
  • In reality, the type of tool you use depends greatly on the gauge and the kind of metal that the mesh is made from.
  • Wire mesh can be cut quite easily with an electronic or motorized tool if you need to cut a lot of it.

About the author

Brent Butterworth

A Professional Woodworker & Custom Furniture Builder

Brent lives in Wisconsin and is a woodworker, custom cabinetmaker, interior consultant, and a freelance writer who got the opportunity to write several magazine articles for different publications on home improvement and woodworking. He’s always amazed at the depth and breadth of woodworking all over the globe, and feels proud to be a part of this great effort. Brent has built everything one can imagine, from unique art furniture to different types of home furniture to canoes and even a sailboat.

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