PVC pipes are a common sight if you are involved in any sort of plumbing jobs. One of the major benefits of this material is how easy it is to cut it. It is used widely in plumbing repairs, sink, or even toilet repairing. If you have a miter saw, cutting a PVC pipe down to size is quite effortless.
But before you start hacking into the material, you need to know the right technique. Since this is a relatively softer material compared to metal or steel, you can easily ruin its integrity if you are not careful. And to be fair, a miter saw is a powerful tool, and for safety’s sake, you need to follow the correct procedure.
In this article, we will give you a handy guideline on how to cut PVC pipe with a miter saw so that you can easily handle whatever project you have going for you.
In this post we'll cover:
Before you Start
Before starting to cut the pipe, you might want to lubricate it slightly to make the entire process a bit easier. Similar to any other materials like wood or metal, lubricating the PVC pipe will allow you to make a smoother cut. Besides, lubrication will also prevent dust from flying around as you cut it.
Make sure you use a silicon or food-based lubricant such as the WD 40 or cooking oil with PVC pipes. Since these oils are safe for plastic, you will not have to worry about bending the pipe or damaging it in any way. Do not lubricate heavily, and just a quick short burst should be enough for cutting the pipe.
Cutting PVC Pipe with a Miter Saw
Miter Saw is quite a powerful tool. In fact, some might say using a miter saw to cut PVC is a bit of an overkill. But it does come with its advantages. For one thing, you can cut through PVC in a matter of seconds with a miter saw. However, it is important to take all the safety precautions as you might risk serious accidents if you are not careful.
Preparation is an important part of using any power tools. When it comes to a powerful tool like a miter saw, you can never be too safe. You can use a wide array of blades with a miter saw. For cutting PVC, make sure you are using the right type of blade.
Furthermore, it never hurts to test run your saw before you actually start cutting with it. Power up the saw and do a quick run check to see if there are any issues. If everything is good, you can get on with the next step.
The next step is to determine the cutting location on the PVC. You should use a measuring tape to size up the PVC pipe and use a marking pen to make a small mark on the surface where the blade of the saw will make contact.
To make your mark, you can also use a pencil or paper. In fact, you can even use a small strip of tape.
You need to then set up the PVC pipe on the miter saw. Because of the cylindrical shape of the PVC pipe, it is nearly impossible to set it up on a flat surface. You want a stable cutting experience since a miter saw has a strong kickback, and without stability, you will not be able to control the angle of the cut.
It will help if you have a bar clamp as this handy tool can hold down the pipe for you firmly while you use the power saw. We cannot stress the importance of stability enough with a miter saw. Make sure you never bring your hand anywhere near the blade of the saw while it is running.
If you followed the above steps, you could now turn on the miter saw by plugging it into an electrical outlet. Pull on the trigger of the saw and give it some time so that the blade can reach its top spinning speed.
When the blade speed is perfect, gently pull it down on the PVC pipe and watch it cut cleanly through it.
Now that you have made your cut, you will notice that the edges of the pipe are not smooth. This can be solved easily with a sandpaper and some elbow grease. Once you are done smoothing out the edges, your PVC pipe is ready for use in whatever project you have going.
Safety Tips when Using the Miter Saw
As we said before, in an inexperienced hand, a miter saw can be extremely dangerous. Losing a limb because of poor handling is not unheard of when it comes to a miter saw. So you need to take all the proper safety precautions when you are handling this tool.
The three most important protective gear you must use are:
- Eye Protection:
When you are cutting anything with a miter saw, be it PVC pipe or wood, protecting your eyes is crucial. The blade of this tool spins extremely fast and as it makes contact with materials, sawdust can fly everywhere. The last thing you want is for it to get into your eyes as you are handling the power saw.
To protect yourself, make sure you are wearing proper eye protection. Safety goggles or glasses are a must when you are making a cut on a PVC pipe using a miter saw.
- High-grip Gloves:
You also should wear safety gloves that come with a good grip. This would enhance your control and stability with the tool. Dropping a miter saw when in operation can be deadly, and can cut clean through your body parts. With a decent pair of gloves, you do not need to worry about losing your grip on the saw.
This is even more important if you have sweaty hands.
- Safety Mask:
Thirdly, you should always wear a mask when you are cutting anything with a power saw. The specks of dust that can damage your eye can also get into your lungs if you are not careful. With the proper safety mask, your lungs will be protected from any microparticles that fly off when using a power saw.
Apart from the three important safety gears, you should also consider wearing a high-grip leather boot, a safety vest, and a helmet to better protect yourself against any sort of accidents. Granted, that might not be the most likely place you will get hurt, but a little extra protection never hurts anyone.
Although cutting PVC pipe might not be the most difficult job in the world, having a miter saw will definitely make things a lot easier for you. Besides, there are plenty of other uses for a miter saw, and if you are a DIY-enthusiast investing in this tool will give you a lot of different options to experiment with.
We hope our guide on how to cut PVC pipe with a miter saw could come to your benefit and help you grasp the proper cutting technique.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.