Wiring is a fairly simple task to understand. The purpose of wires is to either work as a conductor for electricity or as a transmitter from data from one place to another. Due to the high risks that are related to electricity or heat, wires are most often than not covered with some sort of non-conductive material like reinforced rubber that traps all the energy within the wire. This effectively makes the surrounding environment safer by protecting it from the elements within the wire. But what about instances where the wire itself needs saving from the elements in the surrounding environment?
That is where wire armoring or metal-clad cables come in. Contrary to what it might sound like, the term ‘BX’ is not an NEC-defined terminology but rather a brand name. Technically, BX cables should essentially be called armored cables or ACs. Wires are essential to modern day lives- as they are often the primary source of energy for households and also the only way information can get in and out. And this is even more true for instances of remote geographical locations where there are regular natural challenges. BX cables are also used for underground wiring and complex wiring systems to avoid friction or leakage. In these cases, and sometimes in cases when pets are involved, protecting your cables from ‘physical damage’ becomes essential.
And this all sounds good and jolly since we already have a system for protecting our precious energy and information. Things actually become difficult when you are doing the exact opposite. Suppose you need to get through a BX wire for something or just want to get rid of an old wire. Buying expensive specialized wire cutters for one-off instances is hardly economically sound, and you are better off resorting to the tools you already have in your garage. One of the best tools for sticky situations like this is the hacksaw. Hacksaws are super durable and flexible. This is why they are often called a handyman’s best friend.
But How Do You Cut Through a Bx Wire Using a Hacksaw?
Measure to the length you will be cutting using a measuring tape. Repeat this process a few times to make sure you have the correct length. Mark down the spot to be cut at.
Step 2: Setting
If possible, bend the BX cable at the mark to pop the armor open. Position your rods on a steady work surface. After that, clamp the BX cable down using a vice or a clamp. Stabilizing your cable is essential to cleaner cuts using manual tools like hacksaws
Step 3: Cutting
Place your saw blade at a 45 degree angle to the armor. Make short back and forth strokes with your hacksaw on the cable. This should help you create a groove or a notch. Now that you have created this groove for added stability, make long but clean strokes till you are through the armor but not the cable.
Step 4: Finishing:
Turn the cable over and repeat the operation and take the cable out for later use. If you want to, you can use a file to trim off the jagged edges of the armor.
So there you have it! Your 4-step process of cutting a BX wire with hacksaws. While operation-specific tools will always be better for the job at hand, we hope this walkthrough will guide you through a cheaper alternative when getting wire cutters are just not worth it.