How to deburr copper tubing

Written by steve sloane
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How to deburr copper tubing
Cut the pipe with a hacksaw before using the reamer. (saw on metal image by terex from

Copper tubing or piping is used in the installation of copper water supply pipes. The pipes are generally either 3/4- or 1/2-inch in diameter, and are available in 8-foot lengths. The copper pipes are attached with copper couplings, which are soldered into place. Before installing the couplings, the pipe must be measured and cut at the right place. Though tubing cutters are the best tools to cut copper pipe--as the resulting cuts are straight--hacksaws can also be used. A reamer deburring tool is then applied to remove the burrs.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Felt tip pen
  • Vice
  • Hacksaw
  • Emery cloth
  • Reamer

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  1. 1

    Mark the copper pipe at the point where it needs to be cut, using a felt tip pen.

  2. 2

    Place the copper pipe horizontally in a vice, with the mark on the pipe close to the vice's jaws. Rest a hacksaw blade on top of the mark, with one thumb resting against the blade. Start moving the hacksaw blade very slowly backwards and forwards across the mark, until the pipe becomes indented. Move your thumb away and begin to saw more quickly. Cut right through the pipe, making sure that the cut is straight.

  3. 3

    Sand around the outside of the cut pipe end using an emery cloth. Place a reamer into the end of the cut pipe end, then turn it clockwise three full revolutions. Take the reamer out of the pipe, and check the end for any more burrs or copper filings. Don't place your finger into the end of the pipe, as burrs may still be present. If filings or burrs can still be seen, place the reamer back into the end of the pipe and turn it another three revolutions, or as many are needed to remove all burrs from the copper pipe end.

Tips and warnings

  • A reamer is a metal bit that is tapered to a point, with metal blades situated along the tapered shank. Reamers can include handles for hand use, or can be fitted into a drill chuck for faster revolutions.
  • Wear work gloves when cutting the copper pipe.

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