Cutting a PVC pipe across its width may be a common occurrence in your job or your DIY projects and renovations, however, there are some jobs that call for a PVC pipe to be cut along its length.
In these instances, it can be a lot more of a challenge to ensure that your cut is straight all the way along and if you have ever cut PVC before, you will know how important it is that the edge is straight to create a flush joint.
In this article, we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to cut straight down the middle of a PVC pipe to make your pvc project a breeze.
Reasons For Cutting A PVC Pipe Lengthwise
There are a few reasons why you might need to cut your PVC piping in half lengthwise for your project.
The most common reason to cut PVC pipes lengthwise is to repair or replace the guttering on your home or building.
A PVC pipe cut in half can be a cheap and easy way to repair damaged guttering pipes without purchasing brand new guttering.
Other reasons for cutting PVC pipes lengthwise can be to make an easy casing for wires or pipes, create a trough for hydroponics, and even cap a fence.
All of these reasons require a straight and smooth edge to be created in order for the piping to work as intended.
For tips on creating smooth edges for your PVC pipe projects, take a look at our guide on How to smooth out the edges of PVC.
Best Tool To Cut PVC Pipe Lengthwise
While it is possible to cut PVC piping with a table saw, it is not the ideal choice.
A table saw has quite a thick blade which can reduce the amount of pipe you have to work with after you have cut it.
If you are using a large PVC pipe this can be less of a concern, however, if you are using a smaller diameter pipe, it makes a significant difference.
Another issue with a table saw is that the risk of kickbacks is quite high and can make cutting the pipe material straight more difficult.
The ideal tool for cutting your PVC piping lengthwise is a band saw.
The risk of kickbacks is significantly smaller with this type of blade which increases the safety and the smoothness of the cut.
A band saw’s blade is also a lot thinner than that of a table saw and so you lose less of the pipe diameter when you are cutting it, which is great for smaller piping.
If you own a band saw or have access to one, it is the better option.
Want to learn more about using different tools for working with PVC? Check out our post on How to properly bevel PVC pipe.
However, other popular methods for cutting pipes are scissor style cutters, a hacksaw, a handsaw, or a miter.
Consider the size of the pipes, as short pipes may need more delicate equipment to get a clean cut.
How To Cut PVC Pipe Lengthwise
The most effective way to ensure that you cut your PVC pipe straight is to build a jig that can both hold the pipe in place and create a guide for the saw.
Interested in learning how to create a jig for your PVC cutting projects? We’ve got a detailed guide on How to cut PVC pipe lengthwise.
Below, we will outline a step-by-step guide to building a suitable jig to keep the pipe secure and create a straight cut.
Measure The Pipe
The first step in building a jig to assist in the cutting of the pipe is to measure the diameter and length of the pipe.
Make sure that you do this accurately because if your jig is too big or too small it will no longer be as effective.
You should also be using a workbench so that you have a good flat surface as a base.
Build A Jig
Once you have gotten your measurements, it is time to create the jig. Using plywood that is around ¾ inch thick is best for this step.
Your jig or box only needs to have three sides to it, essentially a bottom and two long sides.
The short ends of the box should be left open to allow you to securely hold the pipe in place during the cutting process.
The jig should be the same length as the piece of pipe that you are cutting.
If you are cutting multiple pieces of PVC pipe that are different lengths, you will need to build separate jigs for each length.
The bottom of the jig that will be placed against the saw fence should be the same height as the full diameter of the pipe so that it will hold the pip properly.
The two long sides of the jig should be half the pipe’s diameter in height so that they only extend halfway up the pipe.
It is this edge that will act as the guide to help you achieve a straight line.
Fix the three sides to each other using wood glue and nails or screws. Ensure that the nails or screws are short enough that they will not come into contact with the saw blade.
Place The Pipe In The Jig
Once the jig has been made and the glue is sufficiently dry, it is time to position the pipe in the box.
Exactly half of the pipe’s diameter should be sticking out of the box all the way along. A spirit level can be used to ensure that the guide edge is straight before you begin cutting.
You should also mark your pipe where you want to cut to ensure you’ve got the right placement down to the inch.
Secure The Pipe To The Jig
It is important to ensure that the pipe is not going to move during the cutting process, this is where the open ends come in handy.
To do this, you can use a small screw at either end of the pipe to affix it to the jig while you cut.
However, if holes in the pipe are going to affect its usage, you can clamp the pipe. To do this, use small clamps to secure it to the base of the jig.
Position The Jig And Pipe
Line the jig and pipe up with the saw blade ensuring that the blade is positioned in the center of the pipe’s diameter.
Set the saw fence at the correct position to allow you to press the base of the jig against it.
The base of the jig should be positioned vertically and the half-width sides should create the top and bottom of the jig when it is on the saw base.
Cut The Pipe
Once securely clamped, and you have the pipe steady, you can cut the pipe. Keeping the bottom of the jig placed flat against the fence, gently push the pipe through the saw.
The fine toothed blade of the saw should run just along the edge of the jig sides to create a straight cut.
Once you have cut all the way through you can remove any burrs with sandpaper or a utility knife.
When cutting a PVC pipe lengthwise, preparation is key. A jig is an essential tool for this job.
Although building a jig for each piece of piping can feel labor-intensive and lengthy, it is worth it to ensure that you get a straight, smooth cut each time, whether you use a hacksaw, a miter, handsaw, miter box, a pvc cutter, or any type of tool.
With our advice, you can make your pvc project a lot easier!