If You See These Holes on Your Wire Cutters, This Is What It Means

Updated: Jan. 25, 2023

Everyone knows wire cutters can cut wire. But did you know they can cut screws too?

Wire cutters—also known as wire strippers—are an essential inclusion in every handyperson’s toolbox. For cleanly cutting and stripping wires, no other tool compares.

Now, thanks to a TikTok shared by carpenter Sam Irwin (@constructiontips), many DIYers are learning a new task their wire cutters can accomplish: cutting screws. Check out the video below.

@constructiontips Cleanly cut machine screws. #klientools #wirestripper #wirecutter #multitool ♬ original sound – Sam Irwin

How to Cut Screws with Wire Cutters

As Irwin shows in the video, wire cutters often have screw shearing holes in the middle, right next to the central bolt. These holes are designed to properly cut a screw or bolt, without damaging its threads.

To successfully cut a screw, first locate the corresponding shearing hole (in the video, Irwin has a 6/32 inch-diameter screw). Then, screw it into the shearing hole to the desired length. Finally, squeeze the handles. You will be left with a shorter screw still in the shearing hole, as well as the cut end.

Safety Tips When Cutting Screws

The process is pretty straightforward, but be aware that the cut end of the screw can go flying. Therefore, cut screws in an enclosed open area, such as a garage, where they can be easily found and not damage anything. Additionally, be sure to wear safety goggles so the cut end can’t hit your eyes.

Other Uses of Wire Cutters

Now that you know how to cut screws with your wire cutters, let’s examine some of the other useful jobs the tool can perform. For a full outline of its parts, check out the Toolipedia entry here. However, as a quick rundown, here are some more tasks a pair of wire cutters simplifies:

  • Grabbing, twisting or bending wires
  • Stripping insulation from wires
  • Bending hooks in wires so they can wrap around screw terminals
  • Attaching crimp terminals to wires

Who knew one tool could do all that?

Stocking Your Toolbox

If you’re making your toolbox on a budget, be sure to include wire cutters, as they eliminate the need for other specialized tools like pliers. Some other multitasking basics include a key screwdriver, a basic utility knife, a toothed claw hammer and a sturdy tape measure. With just these few essential tools, you’re well on your way to an efficient, functional toolbox.