Can You Cut PVC with a Hand Saw?

You can cut PVC with plenty of tools, but some of them are too messy or take too long. If all you have is a handsaw, you might be curious if you’ll be able to cut through PVC sheets and pipes without ruining the material.

You can cut PVC with a handsaw if you clamp the PVC with a vice. Mark your cutting line, then slowly saw back and forth. Keep the PVC at the base of the saw where there’s more structural support. You’ll also prevent the blade from wobbling, which could lead to an uneven cut.

Throughout this post, you’ll learn how to cut PVC with a handsaw, whether or not it’s difficult, and everything else you need to know about using handsaws for PVC.

How to Cut PVC With a Handsaw

To cut PVC with a handsaw, follow these steps:

  1. Clamp the PVC with a vice. Home Serve recommends keeping the vice a few inches away from where you want to make your cut. This distance provides stability that prevents the PVC from wobbling while you saw it. Make sure the clamp is far enough from your hand to keep it from shifting when you cut the PVC.
  2. Mark where you want to cut with a washable marker. You can also use a permanent marker, but you’ll end up with lines on the PVC after cutting it. Consider using a ruler or another straight edge to achieve straight lines. If you’re cutting PVC pipe, you can cut the end off a sock and slide it down the tube for a perfect circular line.
  3. Saw the PVC with the base of the handsaw’s blade. The base of any saw blade is where you’ll find the least amount of wobbling. It also provides cleaner cuts because it’s closer to the pressure source (i.e., the handle). Cut at a 25-degree angle away from your body to get the best leverage.
  4. Ream the PVC with a rag to get rid of the excess debris. You can also use a reaming tool. Handsaws leave a lot of debris on PVC because the blades are serrated. Wipe away the PVC bits to make the surface look smooth and clean.

Cutting PVC with a handsaw isn’t too difficult. The most important thing to remember is to go slow and steady. Skipping the marking step or cutting with the tip of the blade will inevitably lead to jagged lines. If you’re worried about putting too much elbow grease into cutting the PVC, read on.

Is It Hard to Cut PVC With a Handsaw?

It’s not hard to cut PVC with a handsaw, but it takes longer than other saws. However, it could be difficult to cut large PVC sheets with handsaws since it puts the blade at an awkward angle. Furthermore, using a worn handsaw will be much more challenging than using a worn power saw because it requires a lot more manual pressure.

Although it’s more labor intensive, PVC Fitting Store explains cutting PVC with handsaws is one of the most common methods. It’s as cheap as can be, not to mention the overall accessibility and user-friendly functionality of handsaws. PVC comes in varying widths, so make sure the blade is thick enough to cut through it.

The good news is that you can use a handsaw to cut literally any PVC pipe in residential plumbing. Most residential areas use PVC pipes between ½-inch to 4 inches, so there’s almost no chance you’ll need anything bigger than a regular handsaw.

On the other hand, PVC sheets are rarely thicker than 6mil to 20mil, making them the perfect size for handsaws. In other words, unless you’re working on a high-end construction project, you’ll have no trouble using a handsaw to cut PVC.

What to Know About Cutting PVC With a Handsaw

It’s important to keep in mind that cutting PVC with a handsaw will take a little bit longer than with other saws. Furthermore, it might not look as clean if you don’t have enough practice. Proper leverage and correct angles are crucial to achieving the best PVC cuts with handsaws.

Here’s what you should know before starting:

  • Never use rusted, corroded, or dull handsaws to cut PVC. Not only will it ruin the cut, but it’ll also put rust all over the PVC. Furthermore, cutting PVC with a worn handsaw can make the blade slip, causing all sorts of hazards. Make sure the blade’s screws are tightened beforehand (if applicable).
  • Chipped teeth will make any handsaw create jagged PVC cuts. Much like the previous example, there’s a high chance of injury. Your PVC will look chunky and uneven, so it’s best to stick to using handsaws with intact teeth. The same applies to other blades; always inspect and sharpen the teeth when necessary.
  • You’d have better luck using a miter saw to cut PVC if you’ve never done it with a handsaw. These saws are quicker, smoother, and overall easier to use when cutting PVC. However, handsaws will work in a pinch. Countless people have used handsaws to cut PVC, but there are definitely better tools for the job.
  • There will be a lot of flying debris throughout the process. PVC is notorious for sending bits and pieces in all directions when it’s being cut. Since handsaws are slower and slightly less smooth than power saws, you can expect a lot of debris. Wear safety goggles, gloves, and other protective gear.

If you don’t have a handsaw or you need to replace yours, try the QYQRQF 14-Inch Pro Handsaw. It has short, sharp teeth that are close enough to create smooth cuts on multiple surfaces, including any type of PVC. The steel blade is designed to prevent rust, making it last much longer than old-school handsaws.

Final Thoughts

Using a handsaw to cut PVC is relatively straightforward. That being said, it’s important to clamp the material and mark where you want to cut to get a precise, even slice. Remember to keep your hands away from the saw and wear protective gloves whenever you cut PVC with a handsaw (or any other blade).

Damien Madeira

Damien has been doing woodworking for the last 5 years. He began as a hobbyist with hand tools and slowly worked his way up to own larger machines and mill rough wood into beautiful creations. While still considering himself a hobbyist, he has a passion for woodworking and enjoys working with epoxy as well.

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