If you want to attach your pipe and fittings together and you are confident you won't ever need to detach them again, the best way to achieve that permanent joint is to use glue. To clarify, this blog post aims to advise you on gluing furniture/display grade PVC pipe and fittings together, NOT normal PVC pipe and fittings.
Posted by Bob Bawden on 9/3/2018
You need to be certain that you want a permanent joint before you start gluing. If you do, you next need to make sure that everything is cut to size and how you want it for your structure before you glue it all and realise some of the parts were too long or too short, and you can't detach them to replace them. If you don't want a permanent solution, you can use our plastic rivets
instead, which allow you to disassemble your structure if needs be.
Gluing can be quite a messy process, so make sure you have a large sheet of paper, or pieces of cardboard or newspapers, laid out on the surface you're working on to protect it from the glue. You will also need some gloves to wear so that you don't get glue on your hands - the glue isn't harmful at all, but it can dry your hands out and be stubborn when you're trying to get it off! Make sure the gloves you wear aren't PVC gloves, because otherwise the glue will stick to your gloves and then to the pipe and fittings, and everything will be messy and stick together.
Another important thing to think about is the size of brush you will be using to apply the glue. Ideally, the brush should be no more than half the size of the pipework. From half the size and upwards, the brush will be difficult to get inside neatly and you risk spreading the glue over the outside of the fitting as well, which you don't want. Make sure your brush is therefore smaller than half the size of the pipework.
Because furniture grade pipe is only really used for making structures, you don't need to worry about any air bubbles that might cause water leakage or anything like that - you just want the fitting to be mechanically sound. For that reason, you only need to put glue on the socket part. If you were gluing plumbing pipework, you would apply the glue on the socket and the pipe as well; but that can give you a messy joint around the outside, and you will want your structure to look really neat and tidy. Also, because you are only going for a mechanically sound joint, you don't need to use cleaner on the inside of the fitting.
Having laid down your paper, cardboard, or newspaper, pulled on your gloves, and chosen your brush, you next need to chamfer down the end of the pipe. If your pipe is very sharp on the end where it has been cut, it will push all the glue in front of it when you push it into the fitting. To counter this, you should make sure you chamfer the end down - you can use a file or a paint scraper to do this. Be careful you don't go down the pipe too much or it will peek out from underneath the fitting when you connect them and the appearance of your structure will suffer for it. All you need to do is chamfer around the very edge of the pipe until it is soft, which will guide the glue into the joint rather than pushing it in front of the pipe.
Get some glue - not too much! - on the brush and paint the inside of the fitting with it. Make sure you go all the way round the inside of the fitting, avoiding the very end. Then you get the chamfered end of your pipe and push it into the fitting. When you are connecting pipe and fittings dry, you sometimes need to hit them with a wooden mallet to make sure the pipe goes down to the stop inside the fitting; however, when you apply some glue inside the fitting, that acts as a lubricant and the pipe should just slide in until it hits the stop. Once you have pushed the pipe in, you have about 15/20 seconds, at a push, to turn the pipe if you need to. After that, it is a permanent joint that you won't be able to alter or dismantle. If you put too much glue inside the fitting, the pipe will push the glue over to the other side of the fitting, which will then disrupt any plans you have of attaching a second piece of pipe to the fitting.
This permanent joint should last a long time without slipping or falling off.