QUESTION

I want to cut truck tyres open to use in my garden. What type of blade should I be using on my jigsaw for this application?

 

ANSWER 

Firstly, it depends on if you are cutting only the sidewall of the tyre, or if you need to cut through the tread and / or bead. It also depends on the size of the tyres – you say ‘truck tyres’, so we’ll assume that they’re from a lorry as opposed to a bakkie.

If you’re cutting a tyre from a small passenger car and you only need to cut the sidewall, you could do it using a Stanley knife. This will be the quickest, neatest and safest way, although you must use heavy gloves while doing so.

The sidewalls of heavier tyres are thicker and harder, so a Stanley knife isn’t really an option. There are a few options for these tyres, as well as for cutting through the treads and beads – a jigsaw, a bandsaw, an angle grinder, a reciprocating saw, or even a Dremel-type multitool. Whichever you use, make sure you use eye protection as well as heavy leather gloves.

Unless you need the bead, we recommend cutting it out instead of cutting through it. Make an incision just inside the bead and cut all around the tyre, then remove the bead.

A bandsaw with a metal-cutting blade would be the best way to cut a tyre, but very few of us have a big enough bandsaw at home to deal with truck tyres. Likewise, reciprocating saws and Dremels aren’t that common.

Using a jigsaw is very possible, and to do so you should use a fine-toothed metal blade. Keep lubricating the tyre with water or oil, and give the blade time to cool down. One problem with a jigsaw is that it vibrates quickly up and down, which can make the rubber tyre vibrate in sync. If you experience this, use a G-clamp and pull the two sides of the tyre together to help prevent this. When getting started, we’d drill a hole in the sidewall where you want to start cutting, rather than cutting through the bead.This will also help to keep the tyre rigid and prevent vibrations.

If you choose to use an angle grinder, use a metal-cutting blade, and again keep lubricating the tyre with water. If the blade gets too hot it could break, and if you don’t lubricate the tyre it might start shedding lumps of molten rubber. Take it slowly and be patient, cutting in short bursts, re-lubricating, and giving the tyre and blade time to cool down.

Hope this helps!

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