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Thread: Cutting Into 6" Extra Heavy Soil Pipe

  1. #1

    Default Cutting Into 6" Extra Heavy Soil Pipe

    I'd like to cut into the soil pipe in the floor of my basement for the purpose of tying in a drain for a toilet and sink. The house and thus the pipe is 97 years old. The pipe is 6" and is about 3/8" thick walls. This is extra heavy pipe I think. I tried cutting it with an abrasive blade on a sawzall. Got about 10% of the way through after an hour. Forget about that.

    Will one of those chain snap cutters work on this big extra heavy pipe? Are there any special techniques required when the pipe is extra heavy? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking cast iron??

    are you sure its cast iron and not
    Duram steel???

  3. #3
    Plumber RioHyde's Avatar
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    Default

    Snap cutters will cut 6" XH soil pipe without a problem. Just be sure to get the chain on as straight as possible and be ready for when the pipe snaps.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    are you sure its cast iron and not
    Duram steel???
    Hi Mark,
    It looks like cast iron. I don't even know what Duram steel is. What is it?

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default pipe

    It is probably not Durham steel, since Durham refers to the fittings not the pipe. If it were wrought iron pipe, your saw would have cut it. I would even be amazed to find 6" cast iron pipe in a house, even one a 100 years old. A grinder may be the preferable way, because after this much time the cast iron will probably crush even with a snap cutter.

  6. #6
    DIY Member George R's Avatar
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    Default Be careful!!

    The professional plumbers didn't mention this and you also probably know this, BUT, I'll say it anyway. Keep in mind that you have hundreds of pounds of this pipe above your head when you cut this pipe in the basement. Be sure the pipe is well supported from above, BEFORE you cut it.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member Cal's Avatar
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    It said , "soil pipe in the FLOOR of my basement" .

    Go with the grinder , diamond blade , safety glasses, mask etc. If you crush that pipe with snap cutters you won't be happy !

  8. #8

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    Hi George,
    Ya, this pipe is in the ground. I have to excavate to get to it. But I'll keep your advice in mind for any riser work I do in the future.

    Hi Cal,
    When I tried to cut this pipe another time at another place further back for a different project (which I gave up one and changed the design of) I found this pipe was very thick and strong. Trying to cut it with an abrasive blade on a sawzall was very very slow. The pipe seems to be strong as nails. Is it possible that it is decievingly brittle and might not cut clean with a snap cutter even though it seems so solid and strong?

    All that being said, I have a 4 1/2" grinder with a diamond cut off wheel. The wheel is primarily made for cutting through masonry and that is what I usually use it for. Would that blade work on this pipe, or is some other kind of specialized blade called for?

    As far as getting all the way around to the bottom of the pipe, I guess I would probably want to use this little grinder on the bottom anyway as I'd have to make a huge hole to fit a bigger grinder around to the bottom.

    I don't have the pipe open yet so I can't test the grinder method. This project is in the planning stage.

    Is this little grinder what you had in mind or a bigger one? I wonder how long it would take me to cut the pipe with this little grinder?

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    A word of caution about the grinders. The small one will cut it, but you will go through several discs, but these can be dangerous especially when working in cramped space. You must keep both hands firmly on the grinder so it will not rip out of your hands when the disc get hung up. Fortunately, on these small units the overload protector will help some, but not 100%. If you get a bigger one, like a 9", that will cut quicker, but is about 10 times more dangerous. I have the scars to prove the point, and I was just cutting 4" cast iron! Might be time to consider hiring a pro.

  10. #10

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    Hi Gary,
    When you say I will go through several disks, are you talking about the regular metal cutoff blades or diamond blades? Cal said to use diamond blades. I didn't think it would use up even one of those. They cost about $40 each.

  11. #11
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I was thinking of the standard metal cutting blade or disc. I don't know about diamonds.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default pipe

    The older cast iron pipe had a lot of "slag" in it which makes it almost as hard as glass so it eats up the teeth on regular saw blades in a matter of a few strokes. I have had some destroy a band saw blade yet do nothing except polish the pipe a bit.
    Last edited by hj; 06-08-2005 at 04:38 PM. Reason: text

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member Cal's Avatar
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    Tom,

    I am saying a diamond blade. It is worth the cost ! Goggles ,Gloves & Heavy dust mask !!!! Give it a try, don't go too deep on your cuts. Your blade should last you a LONG time for many projects .

  14. #14
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default cut

    UNless you buy a very expensive diamond blade, old extra heavy cast iron pipe may take two or more blades to cut it.

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