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How to cut metal shelf?

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little turtle posted 6/28/2014 18:16 PM

I need some help from handy fix it people. I have a metal rack shelf that is too tall for my basement. What is the best way to cut the metal poles?


wifehad5 posted 6/28/2014 19:05 PM

How thick are the legs?

little turtle posted 6/28/2014 20:08 PM

Maybe an inch.

sad12008 posted 6/28/2014 20:57 PM

It depends on what tools you have at your disposal. A hacksaw's always a cheap solution. A pipe cutter would probably be easier; a chopsaw would be fastest. If you wrap masking tape around where you need to make the cut, it can make for a cleaner cut.

Check YouTube to see if there are any videos...they seem to have a video for just about everything!

little turtle posted 6/28/2014 21:38 PM

sad, thanks for the tips! I tried searching on google, but nothing helpful came up. I will check for a video.

Here's the type of rack I'm talking about, but not the exact one:

welcome14 posted 6/29/2014 00:14 AM

No helpful info on cutting it, just a reminder to wear eye protection- those metal shavings are dangerous! And hard to remove, and can cause permanent damage to the cornea. Good luck!

WarehouseGuy posted 6/29/2014 06:06 AM

Pipe cutter or hacksaw.

And save the top shelf. It might make a great grille over a fire pit.


MovingUpward posted 6/30/2014 08:41 AM

Those are adjustable shelves too. I think that I would follow the idea of a pipe cutter and using it at one of the indentions for the shelves to rest at. If you don't have a hacksaw or a pipe cutter your Ginsu knife might be able to hack it.

TrulyReconciled posted 6/30/2014 09:30 AM

None of the above (except a chopsaw with a metal-cutting blade would work - outside with serious eye protection, please!). Those are commercial-grade Metro shelves, or similar and pretty tough chrome-plated steel. They'll take you quite awhile with a hacksaw.

Beg, or borrow a reciprocating saw with a fine-toothed metal cutting blade like this one and do it in 15 minutes:

Or have someone who owns one do it for you. You'll also need to hold the pipe legs still while cutting, which is quite a trick with chrome plated steel. There are vises made for this.

You could take the legs to a metal working shop - they would probably do it cheaply for you.

[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 9:33 AM, June 30th (Monday)]

dontknowwhyme posted 6/30/2014 11:27 AM

My tubing cutter has no problem cutting through stainless steel. I am pretty sure it would laugh at those shelf poles. It's nothing fancy either. I'm sure the same one or similar is sold at every Home Depot or Lowes.

The other thing to consider is the finished cut that each process will leave. The pipe cutter will be the smoothest and by the way it works will also be very straight. Like MovingUpward stated use the indentions for the starting point of the cutter.

Finally, holding the post from spinning while cutting them can be made easier by assembling as many of the shelves as you can up to the point at which you want to cut it. The clamps that hold the shelf to the right height, if pressed down on, should assist in holding it from spinning.

tushnurse posted 6/30/2014 13:54 PM


Definitely do it that way. A reciprocating saw can be difficult to handle, and may scratch up the surrounding metal if you are not strong enough to give solid steady pressure the whole time.

little turtle posted 6/30/2014 21:52 PM

Wow. Thanks for all of your feedback! I will talk with SO and find out what tools his dad has. The shelf is actually his, but SO is going to cut it for him. I'll check into a pipe cutter if his dad doesn't have one. That was my initial thought as to how it cut the poles. They are heavy duty for commercial use, so I wasn't sure if it would work.

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