How to Cut ABS Pipe

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure

  • Handsaw

  • Utility knife

  • Powered miter saw

  • Work gloves

Tip

A hacksaw can also be used to cut through the pipe when already installed, but its smaller blade makes it harder to make a straight cut.

A circular saw can make the cut in both previously installed and yet-to-be installed sections of ABS, but if working in a confined space, use headphones to deaden the noise.

Although a power saw, handsaw or hacksaw can be used to cut yet-to-be installed ABS pipe, a powered miter saw makes the cleanest and straightest cut.

Warning

Wear work gloves while cutting the ABS pipe.

You can cut through previously installed ABS pipe with a handsaw.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a hard, black, plastic pipe that is installed in homes for both sewer and vent lines. It serves all types of water fixtures and comes in diameters ranging from 1 1/2 to 4 inches. Sections of ABS pipe join together with ABS couplings and ABS cement. The type of tool used to cut ABS depends on whether the pipe has been installed already or if it is yet to be installed into the sewer line.

Previously Installed ABS Pipe

Step 1

Mark the ABS pipe at the place where it needs to be cut, using a pencil. Rest the blade of a handsaw on the mark with a thumb on one side of the saw to help guide the blade.

Step 2

Move the saw slowly backward and forward across the pipe. When the blade starts cutting into the pipe, remove your thumb. Make a straight perpendicular cut right through the pipe.

Step 3

File away all plastic fragments or burrs from the cut pipe end, using a utility knife or fine sandpaper.

Yet-to-Be Installed ABS Pipe

Step 1

Mark the cutting point on the new section of ABS pipe. Adjust the miter saw's locking handle to 90 degrees and turn it clockwise to tighten it in position.

Step 2

Place the ABS pipe horizontally on the miter saw's base and against the back stop. Position the mark on the pipe with the circular saw blade. Hold the pipe firmly with one hand (12 inches or more from the blade) and squeeze the saw's trigger to turn it on. Pull the saw's handle down to cut fully through the pipe.

Step 3

Lift up the handle and remove the cut pipe. Cut off any burrs from the pipe with the utility knife.

references & resources

Steve Sloane

Steve Sloane started working as a freelance writer in 2007. He has written articles for various websites, using more than a decade of DIY experience to cover mostly construction-related topics. He also writes movie reviews for Inland SoCal. Sloane holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and film theory from the University of California, Riverside.