If you are new to constructing designs using furniture grade PVC pipe, there are a few things you need to know before you get started. One of these is the best way to cut your furniture grade pipe, to ensure you get that nice, tidy finish that will make your design all the more attractive.
Posted by Bob Bawden on 8/20/2018
Sometimes people think that a hacksaw - which is usually used for metal - is the best option for cutting pipe. This is because the hacksaw has quite fine teeth on it, and they think that those fine teeth will make a really fine cut. However, the blade on a hacksaw is quite flexible, and that means that it might cut at an angle, or even in an 'S' shape, leaving you with a messy cut on your pipe instead of that tidy, fine cut you were expecting. Similarly, you can get a cutting tool, like pliers, which would leave you with an unpleasant, unattractive cut.
Alternatively, you could use a grinder to cut your furniture grade PVC pipe. However, this tends to leave you with a messy cut as well. Little bits of plastic fly off the pipe while you work on it, and they end up sticking to the pipe further down. You can try clean the pipe, but it never achieves that tidy, clean look that you want for your design.
There are two options for achieving the best cut you can on your furniture grade PVC pipe. One option is using a normal wood-saw. A toolbox saw is fine for this purpose, because the furniture grade pipe only has a small diameter. Make sure that when you are cutting the pipe, you have it held somewhere solid so it won't move and ruin your cut. If you are putting it in a vice or clamping it, you will need to put something soft around the vice or clamp so that they won't damage the look of your pipe.
The second option is using a chop-saw, if you have one for cutting wood, for example. Don't be afraid to use a chop-saw to cut your furniture grade pipe, as it is designed to take an impact and will not shatter. A chop-saw also has a clamp in it, so you will need to make sure that you have something soft around it to prevent any damage to your pipe. Both the chop-saw and the wood-saw will leave you with a nice, clean cut on your pipe and retain that attractive quality that will likely be important to your design.
If this is your first time sawing anything, or if you haven't done much of it, here's a helpful tip: if you want a straight cut on your pipe, position it so that it is perpendicular to the line of the side of your body. Your saw, hand, elbow, and shoulder should form a straight line down the side of your body, and that will help you cut a straight line in your pipe with your saw. If you come at the pipe at an angle, it is unlikely that you are going to manage to cut the pipe in a straight line, and your design could suffer for it!