• In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey shares tips for cutting virtually any plumbing pipe.

    1. Use a standard tubing cutter to cut copper pipe.
    2. Tighten the cutter so that its blade just scores the pipe.
    Rotate the cutter around the pipe.
    3. Slightly tighten the cutter and rotate it around the pipe several times.
    Repeat until the blade severs the pipe.
    4. Cut steel pipe with hacksaw, reciprocating saw or use a steel-pipe tubing cutter.
    It works similarly to copper-tubing cutter.
    5. Saw through plastic PVC pipe with carpenter's handsaw, hacksaw or use PVC pipe handsaw.
    6. Plastic pipe can also be cut with a ratcheting PVC cutter.
    Ratchet the top handle up and down until the blade slices through the pipe.
    7. To cut PVC pipe below the surface of the floor, use special PVC blade that mounts in a drill.
    Run the blade around the inside of the pipe.
    8. Flexible PEX is easily cut with a specially made PEX tubing cutter.
    9. To use a cast-iron pipe cutter, start by slipping the cutting chain around the pipe.
    10. Hook the chain onto the jaw, then ratchet the handle back and forth to snap the pipe in two.
    • Typically less than 5 minutes per cut
    • $10 and up, depending on the size and model of the tool
    • Difficulty: Easy
      most of the tools are relatively easy to use, even for do-it-yourself homeowners

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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • tubing cutter
        Tubing cutter, used to cut plastic pipe
      • steel pipe cutter
        Steel-pipe tubing cutter, for cutting steel pipe
      • pvc saw
        PVC pipe handsaw, used to cut plastic pipe
      • pvc pipe cutter
        Ratcheting PVC cutter, used to cut plastic pipe
      • PEX cutter
        Ratcheting PEX cutter, used to cut PEX tubing
      • cast-iron pipe cutter
        Ratcheting cast-iron pipe cutter, used to cut cast-iron pipe
      • drill with PVC drill-blade
        Drill with PVC drill-blade, for cutting plastic pipe below floors

      Shopping List

      1. Copper tubing

      2. Steel pipe

      3. PVC plastic pipe

      4. PEX tubing

      5. Cast-iron pipe