How to Cut Copper Pipe Accurately

For smaller pipe sizes, a sharp-bladed hacksaw is the best tool to use to make the cut. You’ll need to hold the pipe firmly, but if you use a vice be careful not to over-tighten the laws and crush the bore of the pipe.

It’s important to cut the pipe square so that it butts up exactly to the pipe stop in the joint. This will ensure the pipe is seated squarely in the fitting which is essential for making a watertight seal. It will also help to make that seal. It’s surprising how near to square you can get the end just cutting by eye. But the best way to make a really accurate cut is to use a saw guide. This can be made very easily by placing a small rectangle of paper round the pipe with one long edge against the cut mark. By bringing the two short edges of the paper together and aligning them you effectively make a template that’s square to the pipe. All you then have to do is hold the paper in place and keep the saw blade against it as you cut. Any burr that’s left on the cut edges can be removed with a file.

cutting copper How to Cut Copper Pipe Accurately

If you intend to carry out a lot of plumbing, or are working mainly in the larger pipe sizes, it may be worthwhile buying (or hiring) a wheel tube cutter. Of course using one of these is never absolutely essential, but it does save time if you’ve more than, say, half a dozen cuts to make. And once you have one you’ll use it for even the smallest jobs. It’s quick to use and will ensure a square cut without trouble every time. You simply place the pipe in the cutter and tighten the control knob to hold it in place. The cutter is then rotated round the pipe and as it revolves it cuts cleanly into the copper. This circular action automatically removes burr from the outside of the pipe, but burr on the inside can be taken away with the reamer (a scraping edge) which is usually incorporated in the tool.

Instructions: Cutting copper pipe

1. Make an accurate measurement of the proposed pipe run. Don’t forget to allow extra for the pipe that will fit inside the joints.

2. Use a simple paper template to help you cut pipe squarely. Wrap the paper round the pipe and align the edges.

3. Use the flat side of your file to clean any burr from the outside of the pipe. The curved side of the file can be used to clean the inside.

4. When using a wheel tube cutter, position the cutting mark on the pipe against the edge of the cutting wheel, then tighten the control knob.

5. Once the pipe is clamped in place, rotate the cutter so it makes an even cut. The rollers on the tool will keep the blade square to the pipe.

6. A wheel tube cutter leaves a clean cut on the outside of the pipe, but any burr on the inside can be removed with the reamer (an attachment to the tool).

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