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I'm doing a Colorbond™ steel panel fence and need to cut the sheets in half (across the corrugation). I will use a reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade and tape the shoe to reduce scratches. Would I be better off cutting each sheet individually (maybe 25 sheets), or stacking & clamping several and cutting them together? If so, how many would be sensible to attempt to cut at once?

The sheets are all identical size & need to be cut identically. My concern with stacking them is the extra friction & heat - presumably at some thickness this will become an issue. I would like to understand what that thickness is (a single sheet, 3, 5, 10, ...?) without damaging anything.

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In my experience cutting steel shed siding and roofing, you can certainly cut a few sheets at a time for efficiency. I wouldn't try more than say three, though, because resistance gets to be too much, so heat is more of a problem and keeping a straight cut is more challenging.

Be sure to clamp well. Vibration can get things moving, which leaves you with crooked cuts and scratched finishes.

Depending on the type of saw blade, cut from the back side. This is standard practice for many materials as it has the blade teeth pulling into the finished face, reducing tearout and leaving a cleaner appearance.

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I think you'll figure out what the maximum thickness is based on your tool and the particular blade you choose.

  • If you have a low powered saw, you simply won't be able to cut through as many layers as you would with a higher powered tool.

  • If you choose a cheap blade, it will overheat and dull more quickly than a higher quality blade will.

Your best bet will be to clamp together what you think is a "reasonable" number of sheets and see what happens. If your saw is struggling, stop, remove a sheet, and try again. Keep removing sheets until you get to the point where your saw does OK.

If your blades are dulling quickly, either slow down your cutting rate, take breaks, (if using a long blade) use different parts of the blade to spread the heating, or buy better quality blades.


I would think that a reciprocating saw would not be the right tool for this if you need a straight, neat cut. A circular saw with a metal-cutting blade would make a much nicer cut. If the fencing system hides all cut edges, then the cuts don't need to be all that tidy and a rough cut edge is sufficient.

A Sawzall™: enter image description here
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A jig-saw: enter image description here

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