When dealing with soft copper pipes, the best cutter is a diamond wheel pipe cutter. However, this tool may not always be available, and it is not advisable for hardened pipe, such as steel, or PVC. A hacksaw is a cheap, easy-to-carry alternative that has enough other uses that it should be a part of every DIY toolbox.
Things You'll Need
- Tape measure
Measure the length of pipe you want cut. Mark the length with a permanent marker and tie string around the pipe on the mark to use as a guide to keep the end of the pipe even.
Wrap the rag around the pipe and place it in the vise. Adjust the pipe to place the string an inch or two from the edge of the vise on the side of your dominant hand. Tighten the vise snugly onto the pipe. Take care not to crush it; copper and PVC do not take much pressure.
Set the blade of the hacksaw next to the string, at the end of the blade closest to the handle. Draw, or pull, the saw toward you, pulling the handle down slightly to apply a small amount of pressure to scratch the pipe. Repeat this until you have a groove deep enough to keep the blade on course.
Set the blade in the groove and draw the saw back, then push the blade forward until you reach the handle end of the blade. Continue this back-and-forth motion until you have cut an opening deep enough to cover half of the depth of the saw blade.
Loosen the vise slightly and rotate the pipe one-quarter turn. Tighten the vise back on the pipe. Resume cutting, keeping the saw parallel to the string and in line with the previously cut section. Continue cutting and turning the pipe until it is cut completely through.
Insert a round file into the cut end of the pipe and lightly run it around the inside lip of the cut edge to remove burrs and restore the proper diameter to the interior of the pipe. Remove the pipe from the vise.
Tips & Warnings
- Choose a hacksaw with a stout blade tensioner, as keeping the blade tight is key.
- For best results, change your blades regularly, as they can become dull quickly.
- "Plumbing"; Rex Cauldwell; 2006
- Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images