Cutting off iron at concrete. How?

I’ve got iron posts (1940’s “wrought” iron (the fake cheap kind)) on the front of my house. They’re sunk partly into the concrete surface of the porch.

I’d like to remove these to replace these posts but I’m not sure how to do it short of a cutting torch - which I don’t have.

I have a circular saw and a abrasive cut-off wheel but I’m not sure it’s going to be able to do the job. It’s kind of a funny angle for it.

Any ideas for a better tool/method?

Angle Grinder

there are two basic options for blades on them. Cut off wheels are what you would use to cut off the rails.

The other blade option is a grinding wheel which you may need to also use if the cut off rail has a sharp edge or sticks up a bit.

An angle grinder with a metal cutting wheel should do the trick. If you can’t get it clean on the first pass, switch to a grinding wheel and grind it right down to the concrete. Watch out for sparks (there will be many) and wear safety glasses.

Do you want to remove the posts or cut them of flush? If it’s a flush cut you’re looking for I’d suggest an angle grinder with a thin cut-off wheel.

I’d use an angle grinder with a cut-off blade.

My SO would probably get out the Sawzall.

I’d put money that I’d win that race.

Either way you’re going to have to grind down the remnants, because you’re not going to be able to cut flush with the concrete.

[eta: drat you fast typers!]

None of those methods is going to remove the post part down in the concrete, though. What were you planning to replace them with?

This might be useful:

I tend to scoff at safety equipment, but for god’s sake, wear safety goggles if you use the grinder.

Yeah - flush cut. I’m going to replace the iron posts with decorative wood columns.

I was wondering about a sawz-all. I have one of those, too. Don’t think it’ll work, huh?

OTOH - an angle grinder means I get a new tool! Tool Shopping!

if you are scrapping the old railing you can hacksaw an inch above the floor height. chip some concrete away from around each point. then use an angle grinder with cut off wheel and cut in at an angle from the sides so that no metal comes about 1/4 inch from the old surface. patch these holes with a patching material (either mineral or plastic).

if you are putting in a new railing you will have to drill holes for anchors using a masonry bit. if these need to be in the same locations as the old ones then you are better chipping out the old ones with a chisel and 3 pound hammer.

If the rails are close enough to the edge of your steps a sawz-all could work. Otherwise making a square cut could be difficult.

You could also cut the iron posts long and use them as an internal support for the wood posts by drilling a hole in the bottom of the wood ones for the iron to slide up into.

As far as new tools go an angle grinder is neat but they don’t get much use. I have 2 of them. I rarely use them. I can’t remember the last time I used one at my own home. I use them to cut up old pressure tanks to large to fit out doors and to take sharp edges off of well casings.

Rent one or borrow one IMO

Well, given this comment, I think I’ll try the sawz-all first. It is near the edge of the porch so it may come off square. It’s a $3 blade so if it doesn’t work, I’m out very little.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll go for the angle grinder.

Thanks, all.

I think the sawzall will work, it’ll just take a while.

What kind of decorative columns?

Could you just build them around the existing post, or are they solid?

No matter what you use, definitely goggles. Metal shards in the eye hurt!

Well the sawz-all will probably work but you are likely to end up with a sharp stub that will need grinding anyway.

Just tell yourself you need an angle grinder. Man with a sawz-all got to have an angle grinder too.

This is true. The drycut diamond blade for your angle grinder will come in handy when you decide you need to trim a couple feet off the edge of your driveway.

Well I do have some concrete work coming up… Hmmm…

and it would’ve been perfect for the changes I just completed on my siding. Do ex-post-facto repairs justify the purchase?

If you have access to pneumatic tools and a compressor, the job might be easier.

I second the Saws-All and angle grinder. I did virtually the same job for a friend last year, except it was a ham radio tower set in concrete. Cut with the saw as close to the surface as I could, maybe 1/4" off and grind it down to the surface with a 60 grit disk. Kicked some dirt over the top and planted some flowers.

The hell with all this, you need a 20lb sledge and a bag of sackrete. Use the sledge to break the cement up around the post, and then patch it with the sackrete.

It is great fun to wield a 20lb sledge.

Hubby used a 20-lb sledge to break up the tile on our old shower as we were remodeling. He was well satisfied with the work until he walked out and back around through the bedroom and saw the dimples in that wall. :smack:

The aftermath:

The sawz-all didn’t work. Got the metal blade but it dulled very fast, didn’t make it through the first post. The posts were set back too far from the edge so I could only saw with a limited piece near the end of the blade. It did the accordion thing a couple times, too.

I went out and got a $30 angle grinder and a cut-off disk. It was perfect for the job. Out of six iron posts, only two had to be ground farther down. The others were close enough to need no grinding.

The iron went to the back alley, the scavengers had snared it by morning, and two of four replacement posts are in place. I’ll get the other two up tonight, I hope, and then it’ll be paint, decking, and finally rails.

I’m surprised you had blade issues. Was it a brand name blade? Correct number of teeth per inch?

I used one Saws-All brand blade to cut an old gas stove up into pieces small enough to fit into a trash can. It was pretty noisy though.