If you are wondering if you could use a table saw to cut through PVC pipes and sheets, the answer is yes. But note that it comes with risks, as table saws are not designed for cutting curved materials.
When it comes to cutting PVC pipes and sheets, table saws are not the best option. They are capable of doing the job when used correctly, but there are other available options you could use.
But the fact that you are reading this article, likely means you only have a table saw available. So to learn how to cut PVC safely with a table saw, keep reading.
Cut PVC with a table saw?
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a material commonly used in home improvements. Most homes use PVC pipes as drainage and water service pipes. To successfully use PVC pipes, they need to be cut to size, and this can be achieved using a table saw.
A table saw with a dull blade is preferable when cutting PVC, as a sharp blade will cut through the PVC pipe aggressively.
Using a table saw to cut PVC pipes can be risky as their surfaces are not designed for curved materials. When pushing the PVC pipe through the blade, exercise extra care as any slip can lead to serious injuries.
Cutting PVC pipe with a table saw
In order to get a smooth, clean cut using a table saw, there are a number of factors you will need to consider. Such factors include the thickness of the PVC pipe, its length, and its diameter. The table saw goes through thinner pipes faster than it does thicker ones due to its aggressive cutting. So, to prevent damaging your pipe, do not use them on smaller-diameter pipes.
- Choosing the right saw blade
Using the right saw blade is probably one of the most important decisions you will have to make. Using the wrong type of saw blade will not only damage your PVC pipe; it can cause the operator bodily harm too. Always use blades with shorter teeth, as the longer ones tend to cause friction a lot.
- Carrying out proper measurements
It is important you measure your PVC pipes accurately before cutting. You don’t want a situation whereby the PVC is shorter than the required length.
- Ensure your table saw is working perfectly.
PVCs are soft materials, and it is important that the table saw is able to cut through them at go. Ensure your table saw has enough power and torque. Any table saw that jams and stops while cutting is dangerous and should not be used.
- Control the cutting speed if you can.
Table saws are fast and have high RPM. Unfortunately, this makes them cut through the soft PVC pipes aggressively. If you can, add variable speed control to help control the speed of the blade while cutting.
- Always keep your hands as far as you can from the blade.
Always protect your hands and body in general by keeping them away from the rotating blade of the table saw.
- Always wear protective coverings.
When operating the table saw, always wear safety goggles, gloves, a mask against dust, and ear guards to protect your ears.
A step-by-step guide for using a table saw to cut through PVC pipes.
Set up your table saw. Ensure all parts are working efficiently. Clear any dust particles from previous cuttings off the table surface.
Add vertical and horizontal support or fence to help guide and keep the pipe in place as you turn the pipe while making the cut.
Position the pipe. After taking all the necessary measurements, position the pipe in such a way that it is directly on top of the saw blade opening. Ensure the end of the pipe rests on the vertical fence while the body rests on the horizontal fence.
Turn on the table saw. Slowly raise the blade while pressing down on the pipe firmly. Continue raising the blade until it cuts through the bottom of the pipe. Once it cuts through, stop raising the blade.
Gently roll the pipe as the blade cuts through the pipe. Keep your hands as far away as you can to prevent injuries.
Turn off the machine once the pipe is completely cut into two. Allow the blade to stop before picking up the pipes.
Types of saw used to cut PVC
When it comes to cutting PVC pipes, precision and accuracy are essential. In this section, we will discuss three other tools apart from the table saw you can use to cut PVC pipes.
- Handsaw or hacksaw
Both the hacksaw and handsaw are popular among builders and are the most commonly used tools for cutting PVC pipes. They are readily available and cost less compared to the others. Its downside is that it is a manual tool and will require physical energy to use. Using hacksaws and handsaws is also time-consuming. Therefore, they are most suited for jobs that require just a few PVC cuts to be done.
- Pipe cutter
Another great, inexpensive tool you can use to cut your PVC pipes is the plastic pipe cutter. They can be bought from most building material stores and are very easy to use. Its major downside is its limited capacity. They are suited for cutting PVC pipes that are one inch or smaller in size. They can also cause significant pain and stress to the hand when used for a long time.
- Miter saw
The miter saw will be the best tool for cutting large quantities of PVC pipes. It is an electric saw used to make precise and accurate crosscuts. Its downside is that it is expensive.
What is the easiest way to cut PVC pipe?
The easiest and best way to cut PVC pipe is by using a miter saw. Miter saws are primarily used for trimming and making angled cuts. With the right blade, you should be able to cut your PVC pipes easily.
Like table saws, miter saws are stationary, but their blade is drawn downwards onto the cut material.
If you want to use a miter saw to cut PVC pipes, follow these steps:
Take proper and accurate measurements of where you want to cut the pipe. Then, using a pencil or any other marking tool, clearly demarcate where the cut will be made.
Place the pipe and line up the marked part where you will be cutting on the throat plate of the miter saw.
Use clamps to hold the pipe in place securely. Do not attempt to use your hands to hold the pipe while cutting. Holding the pipe with your hand can lead to severe bodily injuries.
Turn on the miter saw and gently bring the blade down. Do not stop until the blade has completely gone through the pipe. Then, turn off the miter saw and allow the blade to stop rotating before you attempt to remove the pipe or raise the blade.
How do you cut PVC by hand?
Not everyone is fortunate to have a miter saw. However, if you need to cut some PVC pipes and you happen to have a hacksaw or hand saw lying around, then you are in luck. Cutting by hand is usually slower and more stressful when compared to other cutting tools.
Measure and mark the PVC pipe at the location you wish to cut.
Using clamps, securely hold the pipe in place.
Place the saw at the marked location and gently move your hands in a back-and-forth motion. Ensure you keep a steady motion so as not to veer off track.
Try not to stop until the saw has gone through the pipe.
How do you cut a 2-inch PVC pipe straight?
Using a handsaw can sometimes produce uneven cuts. This is because the larger the pipe, the harder it is to get a perfectly straight cut. One way you can try to get a straight cut is by using a metal clamp or clip.
Before you start cutting:
- Make a round marking off where you wish to cut.
- Place a 2-inch clamp around the pipe.
- Adjust the clamp until it sits a centimeter away from the marked location.
- Tighten the clamp and start cutting.
Use the clamp to guide your saw; at the end, you should have a straight cut.
Can you cut a PVC sheet with a table saw?
Yes. You can cut PVC sheets with a table saw the same way you would wood. Unlike PVC pipes, PVC sheets have a flat surface, making them easier to cut on a table saw.
Is PVC board easy to cut?
Cutting PVC boards is easy with the right tools. When using power tools, make use of carbide-tipped blades. Also, note that the fewer teeth your blade has, the smoother the cut edges will be.
Cutting PVC with a table saw is possible but also has its challenges. For example, PVC pipes are harder to cut using a table saw than PVC sheets. Also, remember not to use a table saw for very small PVC pipes.
Always remember to wear safety goggles, gloves, and ear guards when using the table saw. Also, always ensure your hands are always kept away from the blade when cutting.
If you are looking to make just a few cuts, you can use a handsaw. But if the PVC pipes you want to cut are many, it is advisable to use a miter saw.