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Cutting PVC


Before you start cutting PVC, determine the lengths and quantity of each piece of PVC you will need in constructing your obstacle / equipment. The standard length of PVC pipe from your local hardware or building supply store is theoretically ten feet. Measure the PVC pipe before you start cutting. We have found instances where the pipe was a little shy of ten feet. Lay out on paper how you can most efficiently use the ten feet of PVC. If necessary, you can probably shorten a few of the obstacle dimensions by say ¼ inch without impacting the obstacles appearance or functionality.

Some stores sell shorter lengths ( say 3 to 4 feet ). We suggest you shy away from the shorter lengths as the stores charge a premium for them. The shorter lengths will also typically result in more waste.

We contacted a couple of stores in our area and asked if they would cut a ten foot length PVC to our specifications. Surprisingly, the stores we contacted were willing to make as many cuts as we desired free of charge. The only caveat was that we had to purchase the entire ten foot length. This may be a viable option for you. Check with your local store.

PVC Cutting Tools

PVC is fairly easily cut with the following three tools:

·         Hacksaw

·         PVC Cutter

·         Miter Saw


Always practice safety first; don’t over tax your abilities. Here are a few cautions:

·    Do not cut PVC with a band saw, table saw, circular saw, or hand wood saw. These saws will not properly cut PVC and have the potential to cause personal injury.

·    Always wear eye protection whenever you cut PVC. PVC can shatter and fly at you.

·    When cutting PVC with a Miter Saw, also wear a face mask to protect yourself from the dust.


The following outlines cutting PVC with three tools. Remember before you make your cut, measure twice and then mark your PVC to the proper length.

·    Hacksaw: Simply saw the PVC on your mark. Try to keep your cut straight. If you get a slightly uneven cut, don’t fret. Remember the ends of the PVC will be seated into some type of fitting.

·    PVC Cutter: There are two varieties of PVC cutters, scissors and racketing. Both make nice clean cuts, but check the cutter’s specifications. The manufacturer should have specified the maximum PVC diameter that the cutter can effectively handle. With either variety of cutter, position your PVC in the semi-circle side of the cutter, align the blade side with your mark, and slowly squeeze / racket until the PVC is cut. Attempting to cut too quickly can shatter the PVC.

·    Miter Saw: A standard 10 Tooth per Inch ( TPI ) wood blade works well. Align your PVC mark under the blade and then secure the PVC with a clamp. Bring the saw blade down at a slow to medium speed until you cut through the PVC.

The Hacksaw and Miter Saw may leave a lip around your PVC cut. Remove the lip with 80 to 120 grit sandpaper to help ensure that the PVC pipe will slide into its respective fitting.
Have fun!
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