Cutting Metal Studs - demolition

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Sparky617

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I'm doing a little demolition work at our church removing some permanent risers in the choir practice room. They don't practice in there and removing the risers will make the room more useful for other things. So last week we removed the plywood flooring and the 2x6 steel studs used for the joists. We're left with the structure supporting the joists, see photo. They are WELL anchored to the floor with powder driven anchors, and a lot of them. For added fun the structure is welded in places, including for whatever reason, welding the outboard joists to the steel wall studs.

We're attacking what's left on Saturday. My thoughts are to use an angle grinder to cut off the tops of the concrete anchors. Then we need to cut up the beams to allow easier handling and eventual transport to the scrap dealer. So I'd like to cut them up into pieces 6-8 feet long. Any thoughts on the best way to do it? I picked up some metal cutting blades for a circular saw, and I have additional blades for the angle grinder, and hacksaw blades for a saws-all. I've thought about getting one of these: 14 gauge 4 Amp Heavy Duty Metal Shears If it can handle cutting through the bends of a steel stud. Another volunteer measured the metal and it is 16 gauge. The tool is rated for 14 gauge, so at least on the straight cuts it would be OK. If the tool dies after I'm done, I'm OK with that. I don't have a lot of use for metal shears, though once I own one, you can never tell. I'd love to get a Jaws of Life, but I don't see one at Sun Belt rentals and I doubt the fire department will step up to this project.

Any thoughts?
 

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Snoonyb

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Before you try the angle grinder, try a pry bar and hammer, because most track is set with 1/2" to 1" pins and pop fairly easily.

Be careful with the circular blades, kick-back can be injurious.
 

Sparky617

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If it was just screwed together, we'd attack all bazillion screws used, but they had to go an weld it as well. We used a digging iron to pop out the anchors used on the bottom row of joists. Each plate had two anchors and they were tough enough to remove. Trying to pop a dozen out will be a real challenge, hence the thought to grind them off with an angle grinder.
 

Sparky617

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Before you try the angle grinder, try a pry bar and hammer, because most track is set with 1/2" to 1" pins and pop fairly easily.

Be careful with the circular blades, kick-back can be injurious.
What do you think about the shears? I need to cut each beam into 3 or 4 pieces.
 

Sparky617

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I haven't done a close inspection on the floor anchors, but it appeared like they had them about every foot. I was pretty beat after tearing out what we got accomplished last Friday in about 4 hours.

We're not using the church much these days with COVID19 so I'm not killing myself getting this done in short order. Even when we do start worshiping in person, we won't have a choir. They use the room to change into their robes. Other than that our bell choir uses the room and a kids choir does as well. All are on a COVID19 recess.
 

Sparky617

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We tried the pry bar/hammer route on the plate, we found the digging iron jammed between the plate and the concrete floor worked better but it did do a lot of tear out of the concrete floor. We really couldn't get a bite on the concrete anchors from on top of the steel plate with the pry bar. The stuff we're going to remove on Saturday has a lot of anchors, like every foot or so. Given all the steel, we're going to be fighting several anchors at a time if we try to pry it up as we did on the plates last week.
 

Johnboy555

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I did a lot of metal stud work years ago and have the scars still. The anchors in the floor are usually about 1". I used a "flooring chisel (google it) and a 24 oz. or 3lb. sledge to slide under the plate and knock the anchor loose. One good shot will usually knock them loose.
As far as cutting them, nestle 2 together and use a steel cutting blade in your "skilsaw". That way they support each other and aren't so flimsy. Wear goggles, heavy gloves, and a long sleeved shirt. Spray silicon or WD-40 on the blade now and then.
Where they are welded just use your 4 1/2" grinder with metal cutting wheel to cut the weld, carefully so it doesn't grab the disk. SAME PROTECTIVE CLOHES.
Take care, metal studs love blood!😱
Good luck
 

Sparky617

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If you have access to a compressor and an air hammer I found the easy peesy way to do it!
Go on Amazon and search
3 Inch Wide Pneumatic Chisel
It should bust them loose in 3 seconds!
My GC friend who will hopefully show up tomorrow has one of these.
 

Sparky617

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I did a lot of metal stud work years ago and have the scars still. The anchors in the floor are usually about 1". I used a "flooring chisel (google it) and a 24 oz. or 3lb. sledge to slide under the plate and knock the anchor loose. One good shot will usually knock them loose.
As far as cutting them, nestle 2 together and use a steel cutting blade in your "skilsaw". That way they support each other and aren't so flimsy. Wear goggles, heavy gloves, and a long sleeved shirt. Spray silicon or WD-40 on the blade now and then.
Where they are welded just use your 4 1/2" grinder with metal cutting wheel to cut the weld, carefully so it doesn't grab the disk. SAME PROTECTIVE CLOHES.
Take care, metal studs love blood!😱
Good luck
Thanks, I've worked with them before as well but in the building mode not demolition mode. I figure we'll try to break them free from the floor and then cut them into manageable lengths. These are a bit heavier than the typical wall studs, so they aren't nearly as flimsy, plus being screwed and welded together I suspect they are quite robust. These are probably the ones they use in commercial buildings for the exterior walls.
 

Sparky617

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We had a pretty productive demolition day today. We were able to get the support beams off the floor and most of the stuff they welded to the wall studs off. The welds are giving us a challenge. For the support beams we unscrewed the upright studs from the base plate and pulled the welded mess off. Then we were able to pop the base plate off with a digging iron. Much faster than trying to grind off the studs. It did damage the floor, but nothing a little floor leveling compound can't fix. We got all the work done in the pictures in 3.5 hours. Cutting the stuff up once it was removed from the floor was relatively easy with a saws-all or circular saw blade. The welds are a different story, they are much harder on the blades than the studs themselves. We still have a couple of pieces of steel to cut away at the welds. I decided against buying the metal shears.
 

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pjones

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Good choice to skip the shears on this job. They do well on round and flat metal but if there is a hard bend then they can break the blades, not to mention the ergonomics issues that you would encounter. The blades need to be pressed against the metal surface so as you cut around a pipe you need to rotate the shears around the bend with it. That would make cutting a C channel an annoyance.

They are a good tool, just not right for this job.
 

Sparky617

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Good choice to skip the shears on this job. They do well on round and flat metal but if there is a hard bend then they can break the blades, not to mention the ergonomics issues that you would encounter. The blades need to be pressed against the metal surface so as you cut around a pipe you need to rotate the shears around the bend with it. That would make cutting a C channel an annoyance.

They are a good tool, just not right for this job.
I figured I'd give what I had a shot before I spent the money. The welds are incredibly tough to cut through. The metal blades for both the saws-all and the circular saw did really well on the studs.

Now I just need to get rid of the metal. at $.325-$4.00 per CWT it isn't worth my time to run it to the scrap yard. I've got it up on Craig's list hoping to make some scrappers day. I'll gladly give it away and let him pocket $40-50. The hours at the scrap yards aren't friendly to my day job.
 

Sparky617

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I think I have a taker for the steel from a post to Freecycle. I'll celebrate when it is all gone, especially if I don't need to take time off to get rid of it.
 

Sparky617

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There's nobody from the church that can run to the scrap yard? Most churches I know are hungry for even $50
It is a mostly upper middle class church in an affluent suburb. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get people to help on the projects. It winds up being the same group of people every time. I suspect anyone who could use the money, couldn't do the work or doesn't have a truck. I'm happy to let someone trying to earn a living scrapping get this stuff.
 
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