Metal worker cutting metal with a grind saw.

Angle iron is a lightweight, durable, strong, and versatile metal product used for buttressing, pressure, and support in various construction, home improvement, and carpentry projects. Angle iron is also used in large-scale industrial construction projects.

Take a good glance at the structural components of the next bridge you drive or walk over. The structural features in towers, spans, and building scaffolding all contain angle bar parts. 

Angle iron is metal that has been manufactured via hot-formed rollers, welding, and other methods, to create an L-shaped piece of metal with 90 degrees of angle. It’s the L-shaped feature of angle iron that gives it strength and durability. 

Angle iron’s L-shape quality is what augments its ability to withstand buckling, bending, and pressure along its length. Whether at an industrial or consumer scale, angle iron will get the job done. 

And while it’s best to source angle iron from a professional source, you can learn to cut angle iron from stock metal with enough research, training, and practice. After all, versatile and lightweight angle iron is used in various home remodeling and work projects.

The American Home Remodeling Boom

About 75% of American homeowners plan to start a home remodeling or work project at home within the next 12 months. After pandemic lockdowns, the reopening of the country is giving homeowners more time to remodel and rehab their homes. 

It’s also giving homeowners more time to brainstorm various home improvement, repair, and hobby projects and the proper tools they will require. The typical homeowner spends over $9,000 on home remodeling and improvement projects. 

The point of sharing this data is to emphasize that home improvement amateurs and professionals alike will be very busy buying tools, materials and working on projects. And many, if not all, of those home improvement and remodeling projects, will probably require the use of angle iron.

Consumer-grade stock metal is affordable, light, versatile, and relatively easy to manufacture into angle iron if you know what you are doing. So here are some tips on cutting angle iron. But first, a checklist of safety equipment and tools.

Need guidance on angle iron products? Contact South Austin Metals today.

Related: Cold Welding 101: Definition, Guide, FAQ

Safety Gear and Protocols

When working with metal, cutting tools, and other various craft tools, you should have a dedicated, non-cluttered, clean, and safe work area. Your work area should be well-lit and well-ventilated. And you should also work without dangerous distractions. 

When you are working with sharp, hot tools and materials, you should not allow unauthorized individuals, even friends and family, to wander into your work area. Such precautions are necessary to prevent you and others from getting hurt or worse if you are startled while working.

When cutting angle iron or working on any home improvement project involving the use of dangerous tools, you must always employ a safety-first mindset. You must anticipate how an accident could happen and take preventative steps to prevent it from occurring. 

Failing to prepare is just preparing to fail in these matters. You should create a safety protocol system for your home improvement work area. 

Safety Gear

You should be wearing an industrial-grade n95 face mask. N95 face masks have built-in air filters and are designed to block the inhalation of over 95% of fine dust, wood, metal, and composite particles. Since you will be cutting angle iron with saws and grinding tools, your work will cause many fine, dust-like, and inhalable metal particulates to float in the air.

You should always be wearing construction-grade work goggles when working. Since you will be cutting angle iron, you don’t want flying shards of metal endangering your eyes.

Try to get some inexpensive earplugs. Loud, squealing, and unpleasant noises will occur when you start grinding and cutting metal. Your hearing could be adversely affected if they are unprotected. And your hearing will be definitely affected if your ears are unprotected while cutting and grinding metal over many work sessions.

Invest in some steel toe work boots. Stock metal is relatively light but gets heavy if you move a lot of it from one area to another. You don’t want to drop heavy metal on your feet or toes without protection.

And always wear a thick, heavy-duty work apron. Cutting angle iron, or grinding it, is going to cause sparks to fly. Work aprons prevent your clothes from getting dirty with particulates or scorched from flying sparks.

Don’t forget to always wear work gloves.

This is only a basic safety gear list. The type of safety gear you will require depends on the kind of home remodeling or improvement project you work on. 

Ask your stock metal supply specialist for safety gear tips relative to your situation.

Cutting Angle Iron

Start by making rudimentary visual outlines of the project. Take time to look at the metal and get a good understanding of where you cut. 

Man making a hand drawn schematic on paper.

You will need to understand where to mark or tape on the metal to know where to cut. Carefully measure or mark segments on the metal with masking tape, chalk, paint marker, sharpie, or colored pencil.

Make sure that you have a vice to hold the metal in place while you are cutting it.

Carefully look over your tool before you begin working. Make sure your device does not have any defects or broken parts. You don’t want to find out you have a defective tool while in the midst of cutting angle iron. 

And make sure your blades are not sharp or rusty. And make sure that you are using bladed tools that are designed to cut metal.

Prep your workstation and make sure you are working safely. And make sure that you are using metal designed to be cut with workman cutting tools. 

Now here are several ways for cutting angle iron.

Chop Saw

A chop saw is fast, efficient, and will get the job done quickly. Even though the circular blade moves quickly, make sure that you cut the metal slowly. Always use the correct blade when cutting metal.

Miter Saw

Chop saws make straight cuts. Miter saws can make straight and angled cuts. Miter Saws are specifically designed to cut angular cuts in wood and metal. You will have to carefully mark the metal, hold it, and maneuver it while the miter saw is operating.

Hand Saw

Hand saws require a lot of patience, elbow grease, hand-to-eye coordination, and experience to be effective when cutting metal. You will need a vice. Cut the metal with a steady and purposeful hand and never rush.

Reciprocating Saw

A reciprocating saw is a motorized hand saw. You will need a vice and good hand-to-eye coordination. You can cut angular patterns with a reciprocating saw, but you could damage the blade, hurt yourself, or ruin the project if you don’t know what you are doing.

Get Guidance From Metal Fabricating Professionals

While cutting angle iron is a straightforward process, it is not easy. You must know what you are doing. And even if you can cut the metal, you may need assistance with welding. 

Do you need advice or materials for cutting angle iron? Contact the professionals at South Austin Metals now.

Related: Ferrous & Non-Ferrous Metal: What’s the Difference?