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Thread: chain cutter versus snap cutter...

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member coach606's Avatar
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    Default chain cutter versus snap cutter...

    I'm getting ready to rent one - probably this week - to cut into my 4" stack. Seems like a chain cutter has a chain with cutting wheels that you tighten and then rotate around the pipe, then retighten in the same groove, etc., until the pipe is cut, much like a regular tube cutter.

    So how does the snap cutter work? Which might be better in my situation: a 4" C.I. stack, vertical going into a bell shapped pipe in cement?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    DIY Member casman's Avatar
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    I think your talking about the same thing. I used the chain thing, and I didn't have to spin it like your saying, just slipped it around the pipe and pulled close the handles and that was it.

  3. #3
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Chain and snap cutters are the same animal. The cutters are in a chain that has a ratchet. You place it around the pipe and snug it up. Then start ratchiting and as you tighten the chain and cutting wheels the pipe should snap with a clean cut.

    Wear gloves and eye protection.

  4. #4
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    For vertical, I prefer the ratchet......

  5. #5
    Retired plumber speedball1's Avatar
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    Out of all the posts in this thread the only one that that called the cast iron cutter by its correct name,(ratchet cutters) was Plumber1 although Cas was right on target when he said chain and snap cutters are the same thing even though he combined the two, snap and ratchet, later in his post..

    If the cast iron pipe was on the ground or where we could lay the bottom of the snap cutters on a flat surface so we could bear down on the top section, tighten the chain and snap the pipe that's when we used the faster chain cutters. However, if the cast iron pipe was in a trench or was a vertical stack where we couldn't use a set of snap cutters we would fit the chain around the pipe and pump away at the ratchet until the pipe snapped.
    Bottom line? Since the pipe Coach wishes to cut is a vertical stack he will be using a set of ratchet cutters to cut it. A word of warning. If you're going to cut out a section of the cast iron stack to install a fitting the upper section of the stack should be supported so it won't fall or sag opening up lead and oakum joints it might put weight on.
    I hope this answers coach606's question. good luck, Tom
    Last edited by speedball1; 07-10-2006 at 11:47 AM.
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  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member coach606's Avatar
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    Default it does...

    Again, thanks to everyone. I'll be certain to provide a lot of support for pipes above, though I'm having some trouble finding riser clamps.

  7. #7
    Retired plumber speedball1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coach606
    Again, thanks to everyone. I'll be certain to provide a lot of support for pipes above, though I'm having some trouble finding riser clamps.
    Raiser clamps,(see image) may be found at most plumbing wholesale houses.
    We use car jacks under the clamps so we could slip the fitting in the opening and let the stack down gently. Good luck, Tom
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  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default cutters

    Chain cutters and snap cutters are usually the same thing. There are wheel "snap cutters" that you open the frame, wrap it around the pipe and then rotate it back and forth as you advance the wheels until the pipe snaps, but they are normally special use cutters for materials like cast iron water main. The common snap cutters you are referring to, differ in the way the chain is tightened. Some use a scissors action, such as a bolt cutter, which is faster if you can apply the needed pressure easily, such as when it is on the ground. When the pipe is in the air, then applying the pressure that way is very difficult and then you advance to the ratchet cutter. The ultimate cutter, however, is a hydraulic one, which can also cut up to 4" cast iron water main.

  9. #9
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking rigid chanin cutter vs snap suteter

    I got 3 rigid chain cutters......and 2 old rusty snap cutters..
    and never ever use the snap cutters...

    both are very versatile and generally are used
    for specific applications in the Wide World of Plumbing...
    \

    the Chain type Rigid cutters always seem to be for re-model type work
    meant for lots of tight spots and mean, mean , applications.....
    -----------------------------------
    the SNAP cutters are usually used on
    commercial construction projects where
    fast cuts have to be made .......

    they SNAP cutters are far quicker if you got literally hundreds of
    cast iron pipes to cut....day in and day out with no-hub fittings

    usually the SNAP cutters need a lot of of room to work them
    and generally are not used that often in re-modelling work...


    I always use the Chain cutters

    here is a pretty pic of some mean-ness I got into once


    Does anyone know how to post a pic????

    I cant seem to figure it out...





    Last edited by master plumber mark; 07-13-2006 at 01:56 PM.

  10. #10
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    I have a wheeler chain/snap cutter I bought in the early 90's. Don't use it much but most of the time I use a diamond blade angle grinder, cut a oblong rectangle out of the face of the pipe you are trying to cut through so you can shove a rag in the piece you are salvaging and continue to cut the back side of the pipe that is either against a framed wall or brick.

    Something the snap cutter will never get around in that situation. Most people like myself take some #10 insulated wire about 2 foot long and loop the last loop in the chain so you can fish the wire/chain around the pipe in tight spaces.

    I like the fact my snap cutter collects dust instead of dirt.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  11. #11
    Retired plumber speedball1's Avatar
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    Mark,
    Does anyone know how to post a pic????

    I cant seem to figure it out...

    Ya see a picture ya wanna post then highlight and rightclick it. A dialog box will come up asking you to save the picture to whereever. Since I use images a lot in my answers I've made a folder called Scans that I tuck the images that I've downloaded into. The image is now in your computers hard drive. When you have completed your answer look below and click on "manage attachments" This will bring up a dialog box asking you to brows for the picture that you wish to insert. Click on the picture and up load and the picture will appear on your post. Good luck. Tom
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  12. #12

    Default riser clamps

    I'm going to be cutting some cast-iron pipe with a rental tool soon. Most of the rental agencies around here don't carry one, but I did find one about 50 miles away. One rental place offered me a "rescue saw". Imagine trying to use that in a 2' x 3' closet on a 4" cast-iron pipe. I ordered riser clamps from www.mcmaster.com.

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