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Thread: Cutting PVC pipe - need to get it straight

  1. #1

    Default Cutting PVC pipe - need to get it straight

    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. #2

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    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. #3
    DIY Member George R's Avatar
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    Default 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. #4

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    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. #5

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

    -Robert

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default cut

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

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    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    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...


  8. #8

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    I'd like to see a video of you cutting 3" PVC pipe with a garden pruner. That would be pretty funny.

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Default

    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. #10
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    A sawsall with a long 24 TPI blade will make a straight enough cut for you.

  11. #11
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    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. #12
    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    No, of course not 3"
    But I've used it on some pretty good size conduit.
    That's what I get for steering slightly off-topic....

  13. #13
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    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. #14
    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    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. #15
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    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.

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