How to Saw Cast Iron

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Cast iron is extremely tough and durable, though at the same time quite brittle. It will break if it receives a hard knock. Though griddles and old furnaces are made of cast iron, sewer pipes can also be made from this material and have been used in sewer lines for hundreds of years (some of which are still in use today). Flat cast iron surfaces are sawed with either a hacksaw or a circular saw with a metal blade. However, cast iron pipes are best cut using a snap cutter tool.

Things You'll Need

  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Straight edge
  • Hacksaw
  • Spare hacksaw blades
  • Eye goggles
  • Circular saw
  • Circular metal cutting blades
  • Snap cutter

Flat Surface Cast Iron

  • Mark the flat cast iron surface in the place where it needs to be cut, with a carpenter's pencil and straight edge. Rest a hacksaw blade at a 45-degree angle to one edge of the flat cast iron surface at the beginning of the marked line. Carefully guide the blade with a thumb on one side as it starts to indent the iron. Continue cutting at a 45-degree angle through the cast iron. Keep several spare hacksaw blades at hand, as they are prone to easily breaking when used on cast iron. However, when cutting along longer lines, use a circular saw with a metal blade.

  • Loosen the nut on the side of the circular saw, to make the cutting width of the circular metal blade equal to the width of the cast iron being cut. Tighten the saw's nut.

  • Put on eye goggles. Position the circular blade within a quarter inch of the beginning of the marked cutting line on the cast iron surface. Pull the saw's trigger, and slowly move the blade along the marked line. As cast iron is a heavy dense metal the saw blade will wear out quickly, so have several spare blades on hand.

Cast Iron Pipes

  • Mark the pipe at the point where it needs to be cut, with the carpenter's pencil. Put on eye goggles. Position the snap cutter's chain around the pipe, resting it against the mark.

  • Open the snap cutter's handles, and pull the chain taut around the pipe -- make sure the chain is perpendicular to the pipe. Slip the nearest chain link onto the hook located on the end of one of the cutter's handles.

  • Push the cutter's handles quickly together, to make a straight clean cut through the pipe.

Tips & Warnings

  • Snap cutters can be rented from DIY rental houses, either by the hour (or three-hour time period), or by the day/week.
  • Cast iron is heavy: If the iron pipe section being cut is long, have a second person hold and support the pipe while it is being cut.

References

  • Photo Credit David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images
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