Cutting Aluminum Closet Rod

The right blade on a light chopsaw makes quick, clean work of it. April 10, 2012

I’m looking for suggestions for the best way to cut aluminum closet rod. I'm using a handheld pipe cutter now, which is OK, but need a better way.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor V:
A jigsaw with a metal blade, and a quick file when done should work.

From contributor R:
On aluminum, a small, lightweight miter saw with carbide blade and goggles. Burr-free and quick.

From contributor H:
I cut steel closet rod using a chop saw and a carbide blade. We get about a year out of the blade then send in for re-sharpen. The blade won't cut wood after cutting the closet rod. You could cut aluminum easier than the steel using the same set up.

From the original questioner:
I'll give the mitre saw a try. I looked quickly at a chop saws at HD today and the smallest one had the claim: “cut a 2x4 in one pass!” Now that's impressive.

From contributor R:
If you use a chop saw do not use a regular wood blade. Blades are made to cut aluminum which give a nice clean cut.

From contributor M:
To contributor H: what size/type of blade are you using and is there anything special with the miter saw? How clean is the cut, and does it get hot enough to discolor chrome or burn paint? How many cuts you figure you do in a year or between sharpenings?

I have a 10" Delta miter saw that I keep setup with an aluminum blade and it works great. A similar setup dedicated to steel would be ideal if the cuts are good or somewhat better than the abrasive saw I use now.

From contributor H:
I use the same aluminum blade you are using to cut my steel closet rods. The saw is an old Holtz and has pulleys, so I slowed the blade speed down. The cut is clean, and no burning unless the blade is dull. I cut a few boxes of rod every year but never kept count of how many pieces.

From contributor L:
The correct blade for non-ferrous metals will have a negative hook so it won't be inclined to grab. Wear really good goggles. Ideally for steel you should be using a cold saw. They turn a lot slower.

From contributor D:
A couple of companies make chop saws for cutting metal with carbide blade. The blade runs a little slower. They work great for metal and aluminum closet rod. You must clamp the piece though or it will vibrate while cutting and knocks or breaks the carbide tips off. I have the Porter Cable model and cut thousands of rods per year and hundreds of aluminum extrusions on a blade.

From contributor F:
We use an 18v Stout portable band saw. It works great and was not expensive. It also cuts chrome pole and is clean and quick.