Cutting PVC Pipe - Lengthwise for guttering

Ok, here's one I thought I'd throw open to the masses....

I'm knocking off the last of a fully automated self-sufficient watering system that runs completely off grey/rainwater. However, the coke can guttering is not working in this position as it has previously :( 

I was thinking of using PVC piping, cut lengthwise for guttering. However, I'm working out the logistics of cutting it. It can't be cut directly in half - this would be too shallow to catch the runoff from the chicken shed. and funnel it down to the tanks, so I'm looking at removing a chunk of the top.  And I also have no table saw. Wheee.

What I do have

Dremel (x2) with associated cutting wheels
Jig saw (With associated plastic cutting blades)
Circular Saw
Mitre saw
Hand saws (tenon, crosscut, hack, pruning, etc)

So, here's one that I'm throwing open. With the tools I have, how would you do it?  I'm leaning towards the dremel, but there would probably be issues with maintaining a straight line (not that I care about some warp, it's a gutter)  


*EDIT*  Ended up using a jig saw with an acrylic cutting blade. Worked a treat.

sort by: active | newest | oldest
1-10 of 12Next »
OLEO2323 years ago
Surprisingly enough there aren't a lot of good answers out there for this, I cant believe I'm the first to come up with this but felt compelled to post what finally worked out for me. Simply buy to lengths of the same size pipe you wish to cut in half. (save one or cut both) Lay the pipes out on a reasonably flat surface the flatter the better. If you are by yourself, try a few bands of masking tap to help hold them tight together for gluing. Stitch the pipes together with hot glue- 4"-6" of glue every two feet. Let the glue cool to set up, flip and repeat stitching on the other side. On a table saw (if you dont have one find a friend that does) for small pipe you should be able to cut through the pipe in one pass, on larger pipe like the 3" I split, set the blade down to clear one wall thickness and cut in two passes. you will likely need a minimum of two people to feed, guide and draw the pipe over the table saw. Do the same for the second pipe or hang onto for future projects. Separate the two halve pipes by scoring or cutting through the bead of glue and then scrap clean from pipe surface. Be careful when drawing a sharp blade at too steep and angle along the pipe as it will dig into the pvc.

Hey OLEO232!!! What an absolutely super tip, I needed to cut 3/4" slots along three 8" pices of 2" PVC, and the hot glue worked absolutely perfectly, then used a table-saw for the six cuts (no fingers lost!). I needed to do 3 passes for each cut as well, as the PVC has some compressed & springy-flex. Another BIG TIP here is denatured or rubbing alcohol will lift the glue right off most anything, just dab or pour it on and the glue blobs will peel right off, not leaving any mark whatsoever. Rock-on!!!

Mmatch2 years ago

Did anyone mention the PVC pipe thickness ... 40 gauge?

In any case, I was hoping this would have lead me to a more low-tech, simpler solution.

Like splitting the lengths of PVC pipe with some sort of "fixed blade" alliterative ...?

No power saws and all the resulting sawdust.

Well, at least on thinner walls, I was able to "slice" mine with a very sharp "knife" (garden pruner, actually)

The problem was that the blade would wander and not follow the guide-line (mfgr printed text). Even thought the pruning shears used had a sharpened edge on BOTH side of the blade. This was an anvil type, versus shears type [with only one side sharpened ... guaranteed to drift to one side].


If you cut one side at a time, be aware, the PVC will tend to pinch the saw blade.
If the blades at a shallow angle it helps...
Clamp the jigsaw upside down in a workbench, tape the trigger on and feed the pipe through like it's a bandsaw, hopefully the blade's long enough to do both sides at once.

if you've got a reciprocating saw (didn't see it in your list but you might not have considered it as an option) you could do the exact same thing as KJ's suggestion. the advantage is that you can get MUCH longer blades for recips than you can for jig saws (depending on how big your pipe actually is)

a circular saw would work as well, i use my table saw for stuff like this and a circular saw has basically the same type of blade (if your really concerned you could just get a finer toothed blade).....which, by the way, you can build a table that can hold a regular skill saw upside down to make it into a table saw (i think i've even seen pre-made versions that you can buy). it's a lot like making your own router table for a hand held router, you just cut a hole in a board that's the right size for the bottom plate of the saw so that it doesn't fall through (might need to make the plate bigger by attaching some wood or plexi or other plastic). if you do this, make a switched outlet so that you can turn the thing off without having to unplug it or reach under the table to get to the trigger.
Kiteman6 years ago
Borrow a router with a wide bit and chew the channel out in one pass?
NachoMahma6 years ago
.  What I wouldn't use are:
Dremel. Fantastic tool, but a bit small for this job. Would take forever and would probably clog alot.
Mitre Saw, Tenon Saw. Too fine; will clog easily.
Circular Saw. Might work, but I'm guessing it will shatter PVC.

What might work:
Jig Saw. See prev comment.
Crosscut Saw. Might turn out to be your best bet. Can make both cuts at once. Probably has coarse teeth so clogging will be minimized. Your arm's gonna get sore.
Pruning Saw. See Crosscut Saw.
NachoMahma6 years ago
.  I'd build a jig to hold the pipe and keep the saw straight and make two cuts with the jig saw. Things will get warm and the PVC will give off vapors so maintain plenty of ventilation.
1-10 of 12Next »