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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am building a barn and need to cut some siding to lenght and trim width.

How do you cut multi ribbed metal siding. Tin snips I can notch it and rough cut it. I end up butchering it if I have to go the length of it.

Power shears or knibbler? Or get a metal cutting circular saw blade? Or other?
 

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I have witnessed using a circular saw with the blade turned backwards. It is loud enough to make you sick, but it cut pretty decent.
 

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To cut across the sheet, use the biggest tin snips that fits your paw.....I believe that would be a 10" or 12" snips. Not hard at all to cut with a good tool.....maybe 20 seconds to cut a 3' wide sheet.

To rip a sheet lengthwise, I usually score the sheet (with an awl or the end of the snips) at one of the bends........cut in a few inches from either end to get started........then carefully fold the piece where scored.....please don't kink it..........bend it 180 degrees and it will about snap right off if it's a quality hardened panel.
 

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Use electric knibblers. The Skil Saw blade turned around backwards will work, but make sure you are covering the cut edge w/ some sort of trim or flashing. The saw blade is burning and cutting through the metal at the same time. This could cause the panels to rust. If the panel is a thin enough gauge, you can score the panel for a length cut.
 

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I didn't watch my steel erectors put up my steel shop building, but I know they went through a bunch of thin abrasive wheels because I cleaned up a bunch of the "hubs" along with other worksite debris. I suspect they used a 5 or 6" hand grinder and the abrasive wheels for cutting/trimming.
 

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I guess I was assuming you're talking about 29 gauge steel commonly used on pole buildings and such. Anything much thicker than that and you can forget the tin snips, unless ya got a gorilla like grip.

I would avoid cutting with abrasive discs. Those sparks you see flying are red hot bits of steel. They will melt into the finish and begin rusting a few seconds later......looks like sh!t on a white building within 6 months. If your building is brown.....have at it!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys.

Its 26ga I think and big squarish ribs. Its tiring to wiss cut it and I can't get it to curl much to get more penetration with the snips so its a pretty ugly cut.

I am going to the store to look for a metal cutting blade and price some knibblers.
 

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Snips are about the only way to cut across the ribs. The bigger and sharper the better. I've cut a lot of 26ga metal with my Wiss snips. Definitely will make your hand more tired than 29. Try to pull the short piece as directly opposite your hand as possible. A metal circular saw blade will also do. Shear and nibblers both work well length ways. We usually use a utility knife because we don't have access to electricity in the middle of a field and don't always have the generator. Score it a couple times and bend it backward. If its scored good it will snap right off. If not bend it back and forth a couple times. Careful not to cut yourself with the knife or the metal. You can break the tip off the blade to get a sharp point several times on the same blade.
 

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skill saw with steel blade works . the nibbler will leave it rippled a little , snips give you a great workout in the forarm
 

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I have witnessed using a circular saw with the blade turned backwards. It is loud enough to make you sick, but it cut pretty decent.
I worked on building steel buildings for 2 yrs and turning a saw blade backwards worked really well. You can buy an abrasive one to do the job but it might take several depending on how many sheets to cut. Just buy a cheap blade and not a carbide one and just turn it around and I would also invest in ear plugs because it will be LOUD!
 

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skill saw with plywood blade in backwards. i've cut thousands of feet this way.
 

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i have a makita nibbler. works for cutting the sheet anyway you want it. leaves no marks, just punches out little half moon pieces. it will cut everything except proloc. i also have a tool made by black and dekker that is like a can opener. works good for ripping the sheets but to cut across it will flatten the ridges some and leaves a mark on the one side. i doubt youll find this tool since black and dekker says they never made it. didnt cost very much back in the day when it was out. the makita nibbler cost me about 350

nibbler
 

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Most lumber yards have a shear that will cut the sheet to length. They are shaped with the same ribs as the sheet and cut it square. Work like a charm!
 

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backwards skilsaw blade works great
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I asked around and googled too. Several people have said turn a fine tooth blade backwards, one said use a plywood blade and toss it afterwards.

I am not argueing with anyone and appreciate the advice but turning a blade backwards just seems like a bad way. Having designed cutting tools and understanding importance of rake angle, margin, relief, and chip breakers etc turning a blade backwards just sounds crazy to me.

I bought a metal cutting blade last night (fairly fine pitched carbide tipped) and will try that. At first glance it really doesn't look all that different than a carbide tipped finishing blade but I know grade of carbide makes a HUGE difference. Its a shame it cost 2x as much but probably due to mfg quantities.

I'll post back after a couple days of work with more experience and report.
 

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I think the reason for running blades backwards is so the teeth don't jam on the metal. I found this out the hard way when cutting a 4" hole in my galvanized roofing with a bimetal hole saw, grabbed bigtime near the end and I got whacked once with the battery on my cordless drill. Installers that put the 6" hole in the wall for my tankless hot water heater said they always run the hole saw backwards when drilling sheet steel - it "wears" through the steel and the teeth won't grab and lock.
 

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sears sells a double blade circular saw to cut thin stuff, blades turn opposite directions.
I've got a big pair of tin snips that I use to cut 1mm body metal so 26-29ga is like cutting butter. I wear welding gloves or mutli layer kevlar gloves when cutting w/ snips, most everything I've done is last 5 yrs has been w/ snips. I used a 32tpi sabre saw or sawz'all blade and it works good too. I've used a cut off wheel in a circular saw and die grinders and the panel will rust and everywhere the sparks land on the panel will rust.

we've got a local amish material sales and they'll give you their big sheet cutter like Ray is talking about but it won't work on angle cuts.
 

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Have a buddy that builds lots of barns. He was using a metal cutting circular saw. Tractor Supply has them for like $80. It worked pretty good. He recently found something better. It is a set of shears that attaches to a cordless drill. Don't know the name brand. But they work great flat or ribbed it cuts right through it. I would think anywhere that sells alot of barn steel would know what I am talking about.
 

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-quote schiker- I bought a metal cutting blade last night (fairly fine pitched carbide tipped) and will try that. At first glance it really doesn't look all that different than a carbide tipped finishing blade but I know grade of carbide makes a HUGE difference. Its a shame it cost 2x as much but probably due to mfg quantities.

Be carefull with the metal cutting blade on a regular skill saw because the rpm rating on the metal blade it is much slower than a skill saw turns, go to your local tool rental and rent the saw, better to be safe and keep all your fingers and eye sight...
 
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