Cutting a brass nipple

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by MikeG, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. MikeG

    MikeG New Member

    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    Well I'm almost done with my bathroom remodel (10 months later :( ) and I have one problem with a separate handheld supply line in the shower. We are installing a separate shower head and handheld. Everything is tiled and when I set the ell for the handheld I based it on the overall thickness of the backer board, thinset and tile etc. to calculate the setback. Well it looks like I'm shy by about 1/16 - 1/8". When I put a 3" nipple in I have about 1/4" on the outside of the wall to mount the handheld fitting. Kohler suggests 9/16" but I think that may be too much. I think I need use a 3 1/8" nipple.

    I checked with Ferguson today and they don't cut/rethread pipe that short. So I was thinking I could take a 3 1/2" nipple and cut it down and rethread it with a 1/2" NPT die.

    The other option is to cut a hole in the wall behind the shower and try to reset the ell.

    Any advice on how to solve this problem?

    Thanks, Mike
  2. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    shower

    Don't know why 3/8" is that critical if your using a brass nipple.

    How are you going to hold the nipple to re-thread it?

    There is no guarantee that you will have the same depth cut if you use a new die.
  3. MikeG

    MikeG New Member

    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    Plumber1 -

    I'm not sure what you mean

    "Don't know why 3/8" is that critical if your using a brass nipple."

    I was going to screw the die on first and cut both ends and then use the die to clean up the threads when I unscrew it.

    I was planning on holding it with vise grips and then clam the vise grips.

    Any other suggestions?

    Thanks, Mike
  4. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    nipple

    I just guessed that you were using a chrome, brass nipple.....

    Why so critical about the length of the nipple. Of course, I may not understand what your doing either.
  5. MikeG

    MikeG New Member

    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    Plumber1 -

    It is a regular brass nipple. Currently a 3" nipple screwed into the ell with teflon tape etc. extends beyond the tile wall by about 1/4" to 3/8". Even though Kohler recommends a 9/16" extension from the wall I think that will be too much.

    What I was trying to do is to get the nipple to extend about 1/2" from the wall so that when I mount the fixture I don't screw down on the tile and crack the tile. The fixture has a estceon (spelling?) that will cover up the tile and hole.

    Sorry I'm not being clear.

    Thanks,
    Mike
  6. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    shower

    Again, why can't you let that nipple be 1/4" to 3/8" longer? Is it because of cosmetics or is it a spec. that you have to meet.
    This sounds unusual to me.
    What happens if it is a smidgen longer?
  7. finnegan

    finnegan New Member

    Messages:
    250
    Location:
    CT
    I would try trimming the 3 1/2" nipple and see how it goes. I expect that you should be able to just cut a bit off and then rework the threads. Even if it takes you a few tries, you should be able to do it.
  8. MikeG

    MikeG New Member

    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    Plumber1

    Here is the elbow that I'm installing....


    Basically if I go with a 3 1/2" the elbow will stick out too far from the wall. The escutcheon will not cover up that large of a gap.


    Flannigan - I'll give it a shot.

    Thanks, Mike

    Attached Files:

  9. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    shower

    Thanks for the pic.
  10. srdenny

    srdenny Plumbing Contractor

    Messages:
    361
    Location:
    SF Peninsula
    Instead of teflon tape, try pipe dope. It will thread deeper. If you're still sticking out too much, try using a 4in1 screw driver less the bit shoved inside the outlet of the elbow to make one more 360° turn, making sure not to damage the finish or the threads on the elbow. If you must cut a brass nipple, take the nipple you wish to cut, put tape on one end and screw it into a gal coupling attached to a 6" gal nipple at the other end, clamp the longer nipple with the jaws of a threader, then cut and thread the brass nipple. Afterwards, unscrew the brass nipple from the coupling and away you go. If that still doesn't work, you can always buy a nipple chuck, which are available for most freestanding electric threaders.
  11. MikeG

    MikeG New Member

    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    When I got home tonight I remeasured things. The depth of the ell in the wall from the outside of the tile to the ell is 2 3/8". When I thread the brass nipple into the elbow hand tight it is 1/4". When I hand tread the nipple into another ell it comes to 1/4". So it looks like the total distance is 2 7/8" which should leave me 1/8" to work with. I guess I'll try fitting the 3" nipple again to see where things actually come to.

    Thanks again for everyones help.

    SRDenny - If I do need to cut and rethread, are you talking about using an electric threading machine? I would have thought Ferguson's whoul dhave suggested that. Oh well.....

    Mike
  12. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Pipe threads are tapered, so you can't do like you would with a machine screw and thread the die on, then back it out over the cut.

    A good shop, but not necessarily a supply house, would have a nipple jig for their pipe threader. You may have to talk someone into doing one for you.
  13. MikeG

    MikeG New Member

    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    Guys you've been a great help.

    One last question... Can I expect to get the threads in 1/2" for the elbow and the ell? If I can without torquing the ell off then I think I might be able to use a standard 3 1/2" nipple.

    Thanks, Mike
  14. Dave Meers

    Dave Meers New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Can't you just solder a 1/2" male threaded adapter to both ends of a short piece of 1/2" copper to get any length you need? I've done this several times since I don't have a thread machine and sometime need a non-standard length nipple. :)
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