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Can I cut hard material flush to a surface with a pair of pliers?

Hard material cannot be cut flush with pliers. There are physical reasons for this:
For a flush cut, the pliers cutting edge must not have an outer bevel.

 

Cut without an outer facet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one-sided cutting wedge creates very large lateral compressive forces on the cutting edge when cutting at the tip. These bend the cutting edge or cause breakouts.

 

Flush, burr-free cutting only works with soft materials such as lead, copper, soft brass or plastic, without damaging the cutting edges.