A Few Tips for Cutting Brass at Home

Brass is a thin, lightweight metal that might be used around the home for tubing as well as for sheets as a backsplash or counter covering in a kitchen. Because the metal is so thin and lightweight, it's relatively easy to cut, but this also means it can be bent out of shape or even crimped if you don't use the right tools and method of cutting. Note a few tips for cutting brass at home so you know you won't damage the metal.

Cutting sheets

To cut a sheet of brass, you might use what are called aviation snips. These are a bit stronger than standard tin snips, and they come in straight cutters or curved cutters. You can actually use the straight cutters for curves on a brass sheet; cut around the curved area slowly, making small snips as you do, and then file down the remaining part of the curve with a lightweight metal file. This will ensure you don't bend the brass as you make the curved cut.


You can cut very small lengths of tubing with a standard set of pliers. Place the tubing as far down the jaws of the pliers as possible so you can make a clean cut and are not crimping the tube as you apply pressure. If you cannot slide the tube into the lower part of the jaws of the pliers, they probably won't be strong enough to cut the tube cleanly, so you may need to use a different cutting method.


Larger pieces of brass tubing can be cut with a hacksaw, but many homeowners and amateur tool users often use this type of saw incorrectly, especially when cutting something as soft as brass. First, be sure you use a sturdy vise to keep the tube in place; a C-clamp probably will allow the tube to move around and this can cause abrasions or an inaccurate cut. Next, put the part of the blade close to the handle of the hacksaw into the tubing and push the saw away from you, making very small and shallow abrasions. This will create a notch you can use to make a cleaner cut.

To actually cut the tubing, put the hacksaw into the notch and then put your free hand on the front of the saw; this is something many homeowners overlook, not realizing that a hacksaw is a two-handed tool. Cut the brass by pushing the saw away from you while using the hand in front to guide the saw and keep it in place, allowing for a cleaner cut.  

For more information, contact professionals like Intracut.