Things You'll Need
Ruler (or tape measure)
Power miter saw (or hacksaw)
Cut longer pieces first. Wipe the edges of the pipe clean if you plan to glue it.
Always wear safety protection (goggles and a face mask or respirator) when working with these tools.
You can cut a PVC pipe straight and easy with some basic tools and a little know-how. If you don't have a power miter saw, don't sweat it. With an inexpensive hacksaw (about $5) and a bit of duct tape, cutting a PVC pipe couldn't be simpler. Merle Henkenius, in his book, "Ultimate Guide to Plumbing," recommends long, slow strokes when making your PVC cuts, adding that "moving the saw too fast can cause the saw blade to overheat, gumming it up and leaving hard-to-remove burrs in the pipe."
Use a ruler to measure the length of PVC pipe you want to cut; denote the length by marking a spot with the pencil on the pipe.
Wrap a piece of duct tape around the pipe so that the outside edge of the tape aligns with the pencil mark you made.
Draw a line with the pencil, using the edge of the tape now as a guide, all the way around the pipe. This will be your guide for cutting the pipe straight through.
Peel and remove the duct tape from the pipe.
Place the PVC pipe in a bench vise, and tighten the vise around the pipe.
Put on your safety goggles and dust mask.
Line up the blade (or guide) on your miter saw with the inside edge of the pencil mark, then turn on the saw and carefully cut into the pipe. Stop and rotate the pipe as needed, until the pipe separates into two pieces. Turn off the saw.
Make the cut using a hacksaw if you do not have a miter saw. Merle Henkenius, in his book, "Ultimate Guide to Plumbing," recommends long, slow strokes when making your PVC cuts, adding that "moving the saw too fast can cause the saw blade to overheat, gumming it up and leaving hard-to-remove burrs in the pipe."
File down any burrs on the cutting edges of the pipe by using a medium flat file.
Dave Baker NYC
Dave Baker is an editor and writer based in New York. He has more than a dozen years of experience in the media industry, including work for "The Nation" magazine, the "New York Times" and the "Times-Picayune" of New Orleans, where he shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes after Hurricane Katrina.