Introduction: Cutting PVC in a Tight Spot

I used a vise and a couple of 2x4's to simulate a hard to reach pipe. As a plumber I encounter this a lot. They do make a cable saw for this but, they don't last. I'll show you a way you can cut it easier than a cable saw.

Step 1: Get Nylon String

The string on the left is nylon . It's very common string. The string on the right is not nylon it's cotton and will not work.

Step 2: The Process

Wrap the string around the pipe as shown. I don't cut my string; that way I can position myself to a comfy spot while cutting the pipe.

Step 3: Back View

After the string is in place pull on the string lightly to keep it in place to where you want to cut it; at the same time saw with both ends of the string back and fourth.

Step 4: It's Working!

This is sched 40 solid pipe. It works even easier with foam core. With just a few pulls you will get a groove started.

Step 5: The Finale.

You will quickly get a rhythm going and before you know it you will have cut a straight smooth cut.

Step 6: Done

It takes about 20 seconds to cut 1-1/2" pipe. Works every time!

Comments

author
Dan-PamB (author)2016-05-09

Wow! I've been dreading this 2nd floor drain leak fix. Hardly room for a short hacksaw stroke. I thought I would try this nylon string "gimmick". Amazing!! Cut the 2" PVC in less than a minute. Smooth cut, too. Thank you, hdmotorc. Great tip.

author
alienvibes (author)2013-10-22

Nice. I was expecting some over complicated solution and had the rebuke fully loaded. You proved me wrong! :) Now... off you go and find me a solution to cutting cast iron pipe in the same situation. ;)

author
r_harris2 (author)alienvibes2013-10-23

You just do the same thing, but with DuPont carbon nanotube superstring. It's easy to get if you have a time machine; ordinary hardware-store stuff in 2215. Oh yeah, if you DO try this with nanotube string, you have to wear Wells Lamont Titanium Fiber gloves, get those in the same place. As I said, ordinary hardware store stuff in 2215, but beware, 200 years of inflation will give you sticker shock!

author
alienvibes (author)r_harris22014-05-06

LOL!Just reinstalled the app on Android and seen all my messages... this is the one that made me chuckle the most! Sorry for the ridiculous delay... proof, if its needed, that I never did find that time machine! :)

author
r_harris2 (author)alienvibes2014-05-08

Ha ha! It DID work a bit like a time machine, I had totally forgotten this comment :-)

author
SlavicFMJ (author)2013-10-24

That was crazy! Had no idea it would work.

author
Bill WW (author)2013-10-23

Wow, I had no idea.
And I have been cutting things for 60 years.
Thanks for the education.

author
ardnon (author)2013-10-23

awesome tip.

author
hdmotorc (author)2013-10-22

I do everything with a iPhone or iPad. Haven't had luck posting YouTube videos to instructables with those. However, yes 20 seconds on 1-1/2" pipe. Longer with larger pipe. If the pipe is wet it might take slightly longer (cools the friction). I'll tell you this as a plumber I do this all the time.

author
marcosmazini (author)2013-10-22

Is it only in 20 seconds?

author
hdmotorc (author)2013-10-22

I first tried this with neon string used on job sites as pull strings / marking string.
It didn't work with masons cotton string.
Kite string is nylon string which I referred to as waxed. It's nylon :)

author
hdmotorc (author)2013-10-22

No the package won't say waxed. You are correct. It is nylon string. Cotton string doesn't work because it has too much friction and won't glide. If you force it; it will just break. Nylon string slightly melts and takes on some of the pipe; and so it builds friction and heat and melts the pipe while maintaining its strength.

author
hdmotorc (author)2013-10-22

It does work with ABS too :)

author
alienvibes (author)2013-10-22

I'm guessing you would want to use cotton string (waxed) as cotton resists melting etc due to the heat generated.

author
Alezius (author)2013-10-22

Does it work with ABS too?

author
allybongo (author)2013-10-22

sweet

author
oldmantime (author)2013-10-22

Great Tip. Thanks for sharing. Question: It looks like the string on the left is nylon and the string on the right is cotton. Is the term waxed string printed on the item packaging?

author
Lectric Wizard (author)2013-10-17

Another great tip, thanks!

author
rimar2000 (author)2013-10-16

Genial, thanks for sharing.

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