PVC is gaining popularity as a building material for indoor and outdoor projects because it’s lightweight, UV resistant and cheap. Building with it requires no special knowledge beyond measuring, cutting, possibly drilling and gluing.
There are a few tricks and tips that will help your project go together faster, however.
Here they are:
1. As Norm Abram, host of “The New Yankee Workshop” says, “measure twice, cut once.” Sage advice.
2. Dry fit everything together before gluing. This way, you know if something’s cut too long or short.
3. Before gluing, place reference marks on the fitting and the pipe. This is a simple pencil mark make on the fitting and the pipe itself. When gluing, align these marks for a perfect fit, especially if the pipe is glued at an angle.
4. When measuring between fittings for PVC pipe, include two inches to allow insertion into the fittings. For a single fitting, add only one inch.
5. For repairs, when a fitting and other pipes need to be cut out, have patience. Use connectors to add pipe, then use a new fitting. The new piece will look pieced in, but it’s better than throwing the entire project out. For garden projects such as vegetable terraces and tomato holders, no one notices.
1. Hacksaw- if you don’t have too many pieces to cut, an ordinary hacksaw is fine. A universal blade makes short work of small diameter pipes.
2. PVC saw- this saw is shorter and a little thicker than a wood saw, but it is made specifically for cutting PVC. If you have many projects for your PVC workshop, the expense is worth it.
3. PVC cable saw-this looks similar to camping cable saws. A flexible tooth blade on a cable between two handles. Usually used to cut wide diameter pipes, it does require some dexterity to keep the cut straight.
4. PVC Cutters- somewhat pricey, but make small work of pipes up to 2 inches in diameter. Plumbers use these for fast, even cuts because for them, time is money. Worth the expense for a PVC workshop.
5. Cutting jig- if working outdoors with a saw, a cutting jig may be used. To a straight 1-by-4, glue and screw in place a straight furring strip cut at an angle to the inside. The round edge of the pipe will butt up against this. Place another angled wood strip against the other side of the pipe and tape or clamp in place. Make sure the cutting mark doesn’t let you cut through your board as well as your pipe. A miter box also works well with wood shims holding the pipe in place.
6. Drilling jig- to make holes straight through, it’s nearly impossible to hold a round pipe in one hand and a drill in the other. Using the jig above, brace your drill with both hands and drill slowly and evenly. It’s ok to drill through the board.
7. Story board- used by carpenters for centuries, it eliminates the need to measure every pipe repeatedly. Mark one pipe with all the cutting, drilling, gluing places and transfer those markings exactly to each pipe in your project.
Low-VOC cements sold at DIY stores and online are for use in the house, particularly where ventilation might not be at its best- say, for example, inside a wall.
All-purpose PVC cement is generally less expensive than the typical two part cements used in water pipes. These are fine for furniture making and stand up well to the elements.
The typical PVC cement comes in two parts- a primer and the cement. The pipe and the connected fitting is first cleaned, and then painted with primer. Once the primer dries, the cement is painted on both parts. The ends are connected quickly, as the chemical reaction only provides a few seconds working time. This bond is strong and works well in water pipes. However, it can be a little too messy for furniture making, as the primers and cements aren’t always clear, but tinted so the plumber can see adequate coverage of the pieces.
Source Kris Jensen- Van Heste, “Techniques for Working with PVC Pipe,” About.com website, no date given