How to use a copper pipe flaring tool

Written by c.l. rease
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How to use a copper pipe flaring tool
A copper pipe flaring tool allows you to eliminate the need for solder fitting to create a watertight connection. (matériel plomberie image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com)

Flaring soft copper pipe is a common practice when using a compression fitting to connect piping in water, oil or gas systems. The flare you create on the copper piping is vital to sealing the connection within the compression fitting, as the cone-shaped end of the compression fitting needs to fit tightly into the flare on the copper. If you do not use the flaring tool properly, the flare on the end of the copper pipe will not form correctly and the connection within the compression fitting will leak.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Soft copper pipe
  • Pipe cutter with reamer
  • Compression nut

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut the soft copper pipe to length by twisting the handle of the pipe cutter counterclockwise to open the pipe cutter's blade. Insert the copper pipe in to the copper pipe cutter and turn the handle clockwise to hold the pipe cutter onto the pipe. Make one complete revolution around the copper pipe with the pipe cutter and then turn the handle of the pipe cutter a half-turn and make another revolution around the copper pipe. Repeat this process until you cut through the copper pipe. Do not rush this step, as you need the end of the copper pipe cut perfectly square.

  2. 2

    Insert the end of the reamer attached to the pipe cutter into the cut end of the copper pipe. Make three complete revolutions with the reamer to remove the burr from the inside of the copper pipe.

  3. 3

    Slide the compression nut over the cut end of the copper pipe. You need to make sure that the threads of the compression nut are facing toward the cut end of the copper pipe.

  4. 4

    Open the clamping jaws of the flaring tool, select the hole in the clamping jaws that matches the outside diameter of the copper pipe and slide the copper tubing into the flaring tool's clamping jaws. Make sure that the cut end of the copper pipe rests flush with the flared side of the clamping jaws.

  5. 5

    Align the cone of the flaring tool over the end of the copper pipe. Refer to the operating manual of your flaring tool for specific instructions on aligning and attaching the flaring tool to the clamping tool, as flaring tools have many different designs.

  6. 6

    Slowly turn the handle of the flaring tool to force the flare on the cut end of the copper pipe. Do not force the flaring tool into the copper pipe because this can cause the flare on the copper tubing to crack and you will need to restart the cutting and flaring process.

  7. 7

    Remove the flaring tool from the clamping jaws, loosen the clamping jaws and slide out the flared end of the copper pipe from the clamping jaws.

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