Cutting PVC pipe - need to get it straight

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by rrzepka, May 9, 2005.

  1. rrzepka

    rrzepka New Member

    Messages:
    8
    What is the best way to get a clean, straight cut in PVC pipe? My task is to cut out the appropriate length in order to splice in a 3" x 3" 1.5" tee connection. When I've tried to cut PVC pipe in the past, I'm always a bit off from a true, straight cut.

    The pipe in question is 3" in diameter, its located in an unfinished portion of my condominium and is slightly above eye level. Should I use a cabled saw, a PVC pipe saw or some other device? What should I do to ensure a straight cut?

    -Robert
  2. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member

    Messages:
    131
    They have a tool made for cutting PVC. I never bought one since I don't do a lot of plumbing work. I just use my power miter saw. It gives a nice, straight cut if you ease the blade down slowly.
  3. George R

    George R New Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    Central Illinois
    Straight cut

    Take a piece of paper and tape it around the pipe, lining up the edges of the paper at the point where you want to make the cut. Trace the line of the paper onto the pipe with a sharpie. Remove the paper and then cut with a sawzall or a cable saw, depending on the access.
  4. Dave Meers

    Dave Meers New Member

    Messages:
    12
    When making a cut with the PVC pipe in place, I put a metal hose clamp around the pipe (like a car radiator hose clamp) and use it as my straight edge. It helps make for a nice cut. :)
  5. rrzepka

    rrzepka New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Many thanks to George R and Dave Meers for excellent suggestions.

    -Robert
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,485
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    cut

    Do not expect to get a straight cut if you use a cable saw.
  7. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    Tampa
    I've used this garden tool lots of times. I think it's called a pruner, but I trim/cut branches and stuff with it. It works great on pvc, conduit, etc...

    [​IMG]
  8. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I'd like to see a video of you cutting 3" PVC pipe with a garden pruner. That would be pretty funny.:D
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,328
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Maybe he has really big bushes and trees. Fortunately, the cut on PVC does not have to be to the nth degree of straight. Close will be just fine. The paper and hose clamps are good, also masking tape. Cutting 3" or 4" pipe in place can be a bit tricky. If you have really good access, a jig saw with a fine blade works pretty good. A cable saw will cut it, but is hard to keep straight. If the pipe is not attached, I find my band saw will give me a good straight cut.
  10. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    A sawsall with a long 24 TPI blade will make a straight enough cut for you.
  11. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I use a 12" miter saw for anything over 1". Produces a nice clean cut, but you've got to be sure to hold the pipe securely to prevent it from spinning. Haven't found a PVC pipe cutter yet that will produce a true square cut. I like the idea of using the lopper -- I'll give it a try.
  12. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    Tampa
    No, of course not 3" :D
    But I've used it on some pretty good size conduit.
    That's what I get for steering slightly off-topic.... :p
  13. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    LOPPER?: But I've used it on some pretty good size conduit.

    Conduit is not as brittle as water pipe. I would be concerned about cracking the water pipe.
  14. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    Tampa
    Ya, it definately needs to be real sharp. Mine probably is not anymore, since I use it mainly on my mutant bougainvilleas from hell. I've cut branches 1.5" thick with this thing.
    I got the idea at the hardware store where I saw one of the employees use the handtool cutter on some pvc. It went thru it like butter. So the next time I had to cut some pipe, I used my pruner/cutter/trimmer/lopper whatever the hell you call it!!! and it worked like a champ.
    But you're right about cpvc. You could easily crush it, if you're not careful.
    The bigger pipes, a mitre saw works great. A hacksaw is the WORST.
  15. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    For about $8 you can buy a real pvc pipe cutter that will do a real good job.

    But I'll be darned as to why you you don't just use a hacksaw blade.
  16. molo

    molo New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Location:
    cold new york
    Confused

    Whats wrong with a hacksaw compared to garden shears to cut pvc? I am laughing, (but not too loud, because i have never tryed garden shears). Are they really easier than a hacksaw?
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    WIth the right shears, it is about as fast as you can squeeze the handles...makes a nice, clean, burr-free cut. I've got a pair for up to 1.5", and it works great. Didn't cost me much, either. I've seen them for larger pipe, but haven't used one.
  18. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    Tampa
    Hacksaw blades are too flimsy and have too much play. If you are cutting a large pipe, that blade will be all over the place.
  19. Lancaster

    Lancaster New Member

    Messages:
    164
    One guy I know (and only one) has a Ridgid tubing cutter with a special plastic-cutting wheel (as opposed to the copper cutting wheel).But it should be noted that he is for all purposes retired and does very little plumbing anymore.It does give a nice clean cut but I am sure its time consuming.Works for up to 2" PVC.
  20. I use a cordless navigator and it makes little work of cutting even 6" PVC piping.

    Been using it for two years and works great. [​IMG]
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