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View Full Version : Cutting a tire in half for sledgehammering. Help?


Patrick Donnelly
07-01-2009, 10:11 AM
The end goal is a cushion for me to use for sledgehammer blows. The plan I have to do that is as follows:

1. Obtain a large tire - not tractor large, but larger than the regular car tire.
2. Cut it in half along a diameter.
3. Use contact cement to adhere the pieces together (doubling the size of the strike-zone).
4. Secure the tire to a thick plywood base.
5. Side a few plates on the base underneath the tires to weigh it down.
6. Have at it.

I've done #1. That was easy. #2 is giving me trouble. I've already marked out the lines for the cuts and given them a good gash with a utility blade. However, I can't get any further. It seems to be that there's a tapestry of steel wires underneath the first layer of rubber. While it's comforting to know that Goodyear et al. care about us enough to make their tires so durable and safe, that doesn't really help me in my present situation.

How would you recommend getting through this? The wires look think, but they are tough.

I've tried...
* Further cutting with a fresh edge on the utility blade. It's not getting through.
* Drilling a hole through the tire to insert a sabre saw. The drill went right through (with some sparks), but the saber saw keeps getting stuck on the wires as I'm inserting the blade. Also, in light of the third thing I tried, I'm worried that it wouldn't even work anyway.
* Cutting through the tire with a reciprocating saw, with both a wood blade and a hacksaw blade. The wood blade was entirely ineffective. The hacksaw took out a few wires, but I'm afraid that thing is pretty dull from one time where I accidentally used it on a block of wood. (Didn't bother checking which blade was in before going to make the cut.) This also started smoking pretty quick, making me concerned that too much cutting like that might cause the blade to heat up, lose strength, and snap. Pouring some water on the tire stopped the heat, but didn't make the cutting any more effective.

Ideas I've had...
* A chisel to snap the wires, then continue cutting the rubber as usual. Unfortunately, I don't have a chisel, but I really should get one anyway. I'm thinking that with enough pressure, it might do the trick. However, the flex of the tire might absorb the force.
* Angle grinder. If all else fails, the angle grinder succeeds. I've cut a doorknob off a door using this thing. It was some odd variation with a snap-on cap covering the screws that I couldn't snap off. Of course, this also took about two hours of careful grinding, but it worked. I simply want to avoid this though because it'd make a very mess cut, and once again, there'd be the issue with the heat.


So... Any ideas?

Garrett Smith
07-01-2009, 05:34 PM
Call a tire shop, they might think you're crazy, but they would probably know how to go about this. Or...

Get a semi tire. Forget about the cutting and mounting. Work on your or your client's targeting skill if you need a bigger target than the width of a semi tire.

Bob Overstreet
07-02-2009, 04:48 AM
Do you have access to a saws-all (http://www.milwaukeetool.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductId=2620-22&CategoryName=SC%3a+General+Contractor%27s+Top+Tool +Choices)? A favorite in maintenance departments or where "de-construction" is being done. The name pretty much says it all. :)

Jay Cohen
07-02-2009, 05:06 AM
Are you nuts??

Just get a second tire, get a few tires. It's just taking a big friggin hammer and hitting a big friggin tire.

How can you take something soooooooooooooooooooo simple and make it sooooooooooooo hard?

Have you considered running for a governmental position?

Please take pictures if you're using a motorized saw and catch one of the steel belts. Google chain saw kickback.

Patrick Donnelly
07-02-2009, 09:09 AM
Garrett, why did I not consider calling a tire shop before? Wow. My generation, myself included, is so dependent on the internet that it's disturbing. Thanks for sending a moment of "Duh" my way.

Bob, the sawz-all is a reciprocating saw, which I've already tried. However, the hacksaw blade was a bit dulled, as I had said before. I remember once at work last summer one guy using a DeWalt reciprocating saw to cut through several pieces of rebar, but it wasn't easy and DeWalt tools are far better than my Ryobi's. (Eleiko to Pendlay, basically.)

Are you nuts??
A lil' bit.

I can't afford the space for a large tractor tire, meaning that a smaller tire placed vertically is the next best bet. I like Ross Enamait's idea right here (http://www.rosstraining.com/articles/sledge2.html), but unfortunately, I need things to look at least moderately nice.

Dave Van Skike
07-02-2009, 09:38 AM
Patrick, with all warmth and respect...U... R... High...

Garrett Smith
07-02-2009, 10:02 AM
Listen to DVS, he knows of what he speaks.

garrett stack
07-02-2009, 03:15 PM
just in case a tire shop in your locale may have one of these

http://www.glenmartin.com/erit.html

Joe Hart
07-02-2009, 06:45 PM
Get a bobcat / skid loader tire. They are short and wide. Get a sheet of plywood some 4x4s. put the tire on the plywood 4x4s on each side. Screw them down and bolt a chain across that will go through the tire. That way the tire will stay put whilst whailing the hell out of it. Did that make sense?

Dave Van Skike
07-02-2009, 07:35 PM
Listen to DVS, he knows of what he speaks.

i know that you know that i know what that means.....

Patrick Donnelly
07-02-2009, 10:32 PM
just in case a tire shop in your locale may have one of these

http://www.glenmartin.com/erit.html
No, no, no, no. That's a cut across a circumference, not a diameter. I'm not looking for anything that troublesome. That cut I've got in mind is how you'd cut a donut to share it with someone (please spare us all any Paleo/diet jokes). Much more simple. Live I've said, I've already done a fair portion of it just with a utility knife. I figure I'll get a fresh hacksaw blade tomorrow (really ought to have one on hand anyway) and give it another shot. Once I get through the wires, the remaining rubber will only take a minute to get though, but those wires are tough stuff.

Joe, that sounds like the set-up Ross has in the link from a prior post of mine. I like that idea, but the one I have in mind isn't really all that complicated (I though of it after seeing Ross's), but I think it'll turn out a bit nicer looking. Looks are importnat since I have a few personal training clients right now, and they aren't paying to see rag-tag looking stuff. In fact, prior to a major remodeling of my set-up, I was having some serious problems with client retention, and that was probably why. I'm also working from a disadvantage since I am working from a garage, albeit, a very nice looking one, but it's only that way since I took the time to paint it! If all that weren't the case, I'd be more than happy with the simpler solution.

For an example, compare these:
http://img33.imageshack.us/img33/3365/homegym5.jpghttp://img6.imageshack.us/img6/9841/plyoboxes1.jpg

The first box is one I had for a long time I used for myself. It worked fine, and was very solid, despite the fact you could see I patched it up in a place or two where some screws popped through while building it. Eventually, I replaced it with the set in the second photo. Equally solid, but simply nicer looking. Why did I spend 3-5 hours per box to make the new set? Because when asking one client for feedback, she told me that the first one looked like trash and she was scared it'd fall apart if someone tried to use it. When someone gives me honest feedback like that, I take it very seriously. That is, after all, why I ask for honest feedback. Since then, I've made a point of making things look presentable.

Yes, I realize it's just a tire you're going to be smacking with a hammer. I know. I'm fully aware. Like I said, I'd be happy enough with a set-up like the one you described, Joe. But it's not about me.


I hardly understand how many of the garage or industrial storage space CrossFit gyms pull it off. Clearly, they have some outrageous ability to tap into a market of crazy people who love exasperating themselves and don't give a damn about where they do it.


Sorry for going a bit off tangent there. Just felt the need to explain myself.

Frank Needham
07-03-2009, 07:03 PM
The right tool for the job, despite the job being somewhat strange, is a CUT OFF SAW. Cuts through anything, like butter. With the right blade on it will cut concrete, steel, ductile iron, aluminum, etc.

Dean Saunders
07-06-2009, 05:31 AM
I thought about getting a tire and doing something similar but the boss(wife) vetoed that idea totally. How about instead of a tyre, get hold of some conveyor belt rubber and make a stack out of that? you can cut it to whatever size you need, and store it wherever you want. If there are any factorys that use conveyor belts in your area, or check the yellow pages for conveyor belt splicing, or similar.
Does the trick and you dont have a great big tyre hanging around in the back yard

Patrick Donnelly
07-06-2009, 12:25 PM
I picked up that hacksaw blade yesterday, a nice one too. Gave it a go today. It's cutting, but there's more wire than I thought. A lot more. I might have to go back to the drawing board with this one.


Maybe I should have picked a Firestone, hahaha.

Gary Ohm
07-15-2009, 07:21 PM
How's the project coming Patrick? I've cut through several tires with a set of bolt cutters. These guys are amazing useful. They are a bit expensive but they last for ever. I agree, though, the wire bead is a bugger to get through.

Patrick Donnelly
07-15-2009, 07:30 PM
This one is on the backburner for a little bit. I'm really surprised that hacksaw blade didn't do the trick. It wasn't a cheap-o one either. I've got some other more pressing projects to finish at the moment. I ought to get around to cutting the tire in the next two weeks, then finishing the project altogether within another week.

Scott Kustes
07-16-2009, 07:51 AM
Patrick, radials are typically steel-belted. That keeps them from shredding and makes them safer. You're unlikely to find anything that's "not too big" that's also not steel-belted.