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How To Cut PVC Pipe: 3 Methods for Your DIY Irrigation Projects

If you’re no stranger to irrigation DIY projects you’re familiar with either Poly or PVC pipe.

You can save on time and labour costs by learning to cut PV yourself. With proper guidelines and a little patience, you’ll be a pro in no time.

To properly cut PVC pipe, you need the right equipment and know-how. From balancing the pipe to segmenting it precisely.

We’re here to help by giving you a rundown of the most common (and best) ways to go about this.

For your DIY project to work, you need to cut PVC pipe down to the right size. The process is much simpler compared to other building materials. Depending on what tools you have, you can cut the pipe in many different ways. 

Before You Get Started 

When working with PVC pipes, there are three PVC cutting tools you can use to ensure accuracy:

  • A handsaw
  • A PVC cutter
  • A miter saw

The tool that works best for you depends on your comfort level and the space you’re working in. Regardless, we’ll guide you on the best way to cut PVC pipes with all three tools.

Remember: finding the necessary cements and fittings to bond pipe pieces together is the easy part. A trip to a local hardware store will have you covered. The tricky part in dealing with PVC is the cutting process.

Pro Tip: Use lubricant. When you want to cut PVC ensure you have lubricant to help ease the process. It will keep the friction down and let the blade glide easier. It also keeps particles and dust from getting into the air.

Choose a lubricant with a silicone base or a food-grade lubricant like cooking oil. These oils are safe to use on plastic and won't corrode the pipe compared to other solvents.

Apply a quick spray directly onto the pipe. Be sure not to make the process messier than necessary.

However, if you’ve been hesitant about taking on PVC projects due to environmental concerns such as its chlorine gas emissions, read research by John D, Wagner, a green building consultant.

The research goes into detail on why and how PVC is low maintenance, easily recyclable, and doesn’t generate toxic hydrogen cyanide and aldehyde compounds.

Why We Recommend Using a Hand saw

It's sturdy, simple, and gets the job done.

When using a carpenter's handsaw or hacksaw, you position or clamp the pipe over the edge of a workbench or counter and cut in a sawing motion.

This cutting method's success can be amplified by using a guide for the blade to follow.

For example, a miter box and a standard 10 Tooth per-inch (TPI) wood blade can help provide you with the best angle to guide the saw blade.

When using the blade, go slowly to ensure it stays perfectly on course. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Let the saw do the work”? This simply means guiding the blade back and forth instead of jamming it into the PVC pipe.

It's advisable to avoid using a table saw as a way to cut through PVC pipes. Seeing as the PVC pipe is curved, it can easily slip from your grasp when placed on a smooth table saw surface. This could lead to unnecessary accidents around the sharp equipment. 

Handling ‘Burrs’

Using a handsaw or hacksaw blade often leaves ‘burrs’on the end of the pipe. You will need to undertake a deburring process (using a debur tool) which is removing the rough bits to leave a smoother edge.

Alternatively, If you don't have a debur tool for the deburring process you can use a sharp utility knife on the inner and outer edges of the cut. While holding the blade at a slight angle, run it along the rim of the burrs.

Then use sandpaper or plumber’s cloth gently as a final touch to smoothen the pipe surface.

Take a look at some of our pipe cutters below. 

Pvc/Abs Plastic Pipe Handsaw PVC/ABS Hand Saw
Christy's - HSF-180 - 18 Christy's - HS433-18 - 18'' Pvc Saw
Size: 18” Size: 18”
Handle: Made of rubber making it easy to use in hot or cold environments Handle: Made of rubber that provides adequate grip for easy cutting through PVC, wood and more
Cost: $22.37 Cost: $20.98

Why You Can’t Go Wrong With a PVC Cutter

A great choice for stability and efficiency when cutting PVC pipe is a PVC cutter. It resembles a pair of pliers with a thick, sharp blade fitted on one side. It’s our favorite way to cut PVC down to the right pipe sizes.

Of all our three techniques, this is by far the simplest. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Place the pipe on a workbench or other stable surface 
  2. Position the blade on the cutting point around the pipe
  3. Hold the tool square
  4. Squeeze the handles together to push the blade through the PVC pipe

When it comes to scissor-type cutters there is one main consideration to take note of. They can only cut through a PVC pipe with a small diameter. If your pipe is 2 inches in diameter or larger, you can go for a rotary-style cutter instead.

Our PVC ratchet pipe cutter uses a ratchet mechanism that allows you to use continuous force with a minimal amount of effort. It costs $32.10 and is made of stainless steel that stays sharp longer than plated steel.
You can save up to 44% by purchasing it from our online store today. It especially comes in handy when you need to cut through that 1/1/4" pipe.

Harvard Contractor's - HM42 - American Granby
Harvard Contractor's - HM42 - American Granby

The Upside of Using a Miter Saw

Power miter saws can work on all sizes of pipes with high accuracy. Even though they are mostly used on wood, they are just as efficient on a PVC pipe. Here are steps to follow when using this tool:

  1. Secure the pipe at the miter saw base 
  2. Line the desired cut mark with the blade 
  3. Lift the saw up and start the blade
  4. Gently lower the blade on the PVC pipe until it cuts through it 
  5. When you are done release the button and stop the blade

Refrain from twisting the pipe if the blade is still running as it is unsafe and you may end up with inaccurate cuts.

If you ever find yourself in a tight spot with none of your equipment on hand, consider using a string. Yes, it’s a possible PVC pipe cutter method. Use a knife to cut PVC pipe and create a small notch for the string to pass through.

Hold the pipe in place using a vise, miter box, or duct tape and use a nylon string to repeatedly pull it sideways in the notch. It is a time-consuming process, but an ace up your sleeve when in a tight spot. 

Which Pipe Cutter Should You Choose?

Your skill, workspace and budget are all factors to consider as you choose a PVC cutting method and PVC pipe cutters

Whereas a miter is undeniably efficient, it is rather expensive. With PVC cutters you need to find one with the right diameter PVC pipe size.

For handsaws, you need a blade made of durable material and need to consider your options carefully.

What we’re good at is giving you quality options. Our supply store is fully equipped with high-end, affordable products to make your work easier.

Visit our store to find the perfect hand tools to help you create the perfect oasis. 

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