Hand tool for cutting steel angle stock?

Hi all! I have a project that requires me to cut up a fair amount of 14-gauge slotted steel angle stock, about 1 1/2" x 1 1/2". It is the thin sheet metal stuff, not the hot rolled heavy stuff.

What hand tool would you use to cut it up? I tried a jigsaw with a metal blade, and that made a fairly clean cut, but it was slow and more importantly, made a gawdawful screeching noise. I am not going to bother with a hacksaw, and I don’t have space for a metal-cutting chop saw.

So should I spring for a cordless bandsaw? Or should I just go with an angle grinder with the right wheel? That Milwaukee looks pretty tempting, but it seems to be a one-trick pony. What do you think?

In our metal fabrication shop - we had a number of hydraulic cutters - on that could handle angle irons.
Cost and size - probably outside your scope.

You might look at manual shears from Roper Whitney.


or HK Porter (may be too small for you)


or this one:


or this which seems less expensive (although this supplier seems to get some negative reviews online):

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I have the M12 bandsaw. It will work very well for what you wish to do. It makes the job practically effortless. However, you should be aware that it is still noisy and slow. Probably still quieter and faster than a jig saw. It’s safer and easier than a grinder.

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We really liked portable band saws for cutting Unistrut - but for light gauge perforated angles - a shear type cutter will be faster and cleaner. Many many cuts will also wear out the blade. If you go with this approach - its probably better to cut starting at the point - and avoid cutting across the flat of one side.

Many garage door installers just use a pair of aviation style hand snips - but that will get very tiresome and tough on the hands if you have a lot to cut.

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small angle grinder with a quality cut off wheel comes to mind first. And like said previously quality metal snips come to mind second.

perhaps use both.

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Thank you, gentlemen! (I believe all you are male, but apologies if you are not.) I am looking at angle grinders (sadly there is not an M12 grinder), and putting the M12 portable bandsaw on my wishlist. :slight_smile:

I replied in your other thread as well, but thought I’d note here just in case, there is a M12 cut off tool coming which may serve your needs, but it’s still at least September before it comes out (I couldn’t find an actual date but the next batch of new stuff is coming in a September, so it’ll be then or after). That might be too late for you to use on this project though.

The M12 portaband is a fantastic saw, just check your sizes. It’s rated for 1 5/8 so you’ll have to cut your angle down the square, not diagonally, if that makes sense. With a larger portaband you might lay it like an upside down V and cut from the point to the ends as Fred suggests. The M12 portaband won’t be able to do that at that size, you’ll wind up cutting it like an L from the top down, so cutting through that flat at the bottom can get hairy and not straight. Make sure you mark if you go that route so you can line up the band straight for that part of the cut, it’s definitely doable though. Snips might be a better and cheaper route overall if it’s them vs. M12 portaband on 1 1/2” angle.

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Then go with. the larger band saw. You are much better off cutting down on the upturned “V”. Cutting across the flat of the angle iron will wear the blade out much quicker.

Thanks, Tim and fred! I was thinking I would cut straight down the shaft of the “L”, then turn the stock so it does the same for the other leg.

But I am thinking I will use an angle grinder instead, because I think I will have to cut some miters in the angle stock, and the angle grinder won’t have the capacity issues the bandsaw would. I’ll borrow a grinder, and I’ll buy the Milwaukee cutoff tool when it becomes available.

Thanks again!


Look into a cordless metal cutting circular saw. Milwaukee, Bosch and Makita make an 18v version. They have a carbide tooth blade for cold cutting thinner ferrous metals. Lower rpm and higher torque than a normal cordless circ saw. They don’t bevel, they just have depth adjustment.

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Thanks, XTsallaD! (hard to type that). I had never seen nor heard of such a tool. I think I’d have to rig some sort of cutting jig, but that isn’t difficult.

LOWER rpm? I was just noticing that the little 3" cut-off saws use higher rpms (and I think higher fps at the tooth) for metal. I wonder what’s up with that.

I left out DeWalt, they make one as well. I’ve mostly seen them in bare tool kits online but many Home Depot stores have the Milwaukee one on the shelf as a bare tool if ti’s a larger store. Yeah, the blades are around $30 and if I try to freehand too much I end up throwing some teeth from the blade without a guide clamped on or at least holding a speed square to the material. Most seem to be around 4,000rpm range with around a 5.5” blade.

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We used the big cousins (from Evolution and Morse) of these saws for cutting corrugated roof decking



Fein-Jancy also makes one in this size:

One key to all of these saws seems to be the blades


They also handle debris better than some other cutting methods - particularly when you are working overhead and don’t want to be throwing sparks and hot metal bits down below.

As I said, we used both tools - found them similar in build quality - which was not 5-star IMO (too much plastic and a motor that is not up to production work.)

They also make a smaller saw like this one from Morse:


You can buy other corded metal cutting saws from Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee and Skil

Or a metal cutting chop saw - Stuart over on ToolGuyd has been talking about the one from Fein-Jancy:


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I need to cut several king size 1" x 1 1/2" rectangle cutouts (rectangular holes) out of some 3/16" sheet metal. I know I could take it to a machine shop but that’s expensive. I think I could get it started by drilling out the area as much as possible. To finish the rectangle, how about a dremel type tool and some diamond coated cutoff blades? Or a jigsaw with metal cutting blades? Thanks

From what I have learned here, I would use a cut-off tool such as made by Milwaukee (there was an announcement today I think) or Bosch. Alternatively, an angle grinder with cutting wheel would do.

A Dremel tool would likely take forever in 3/16", and the sides of the cut would not be vertical, because it can’t cut straight down into a surface (because the cutting wheel is much smaller than the tool itself, so the tool has to be held at an angle to the surface.)

And a jigsaw would take forever, and also create a gawdawful screeching (see original post.)

Hope that helps!

strong jigsaw with a quality metal cutting blade (there are some) would probably work.

But again I find myself going back to a cutting wheel on a angle grinder.