Working with gas pipe is not much different from working with metal water lines. Depending on the application, the gas pipe may be thick walled with threaded ends, or thin walled with flared ends. Perhaps the most difficult part of pipe fitting is learning to make the bends in pipes, and many home enthusiasts have found that using flexible pipe or tubing is a logical way to save time and frustration.
Make sure that you have a basic set of hand tools available. This set would include fastening tools such as screwdrivers and a hammer. It would also include such tools as a tape measure and even one as simple as a pencil. Depending on the precision of the mounting, you may also need to employ tools such as a framing square or carpenter's level.
Many types of gas pipe fitting are manufactured to fit the maw of a wrench. Having at least one quality crescent wrench enables you to quickly adjust the wrench you are using for the next larger or smaller size of fitting without searching for the next wrench in the set.
If you are dealing with thick-walled, threaded gas pipe, tightening the joints may require the use of more torque and specially designed gripping jaws. The jaws of a pipe wrench are intended to grip in one direction only and must be reversed to turn the pipe in the other direction. The advantage of this design is that increased torque can be applied when tightening.
The hacksaw is useful for cutting pipes that are not suitable for gas pipe or tubing cutters. For the best performance, keep a small container of machine oil available and apply a drop or two to the cutting area to reduce friction on the blade.
A flaring kit is composed of two tools: the flare mould and the actual flaring tool. The mould is typically two metal bars that can be locked together; there is a series of progressively larger holes along the length of the bar, labelled for specific pipe sizes. With the end of a gas pipe clamped into the mould, the flaring tool slides along the bar until a cone-shaped pivot can be screwed slowly into the open end of the pipe, flaring the end into a wider opening.
Pipe and Tubing Cutter
A pipe cutter is a C-shaped device which fits over the gas pipe. As a knob on the handle is twisted, the cutter is rotated slowly around the pipe and a blade is forced deeper into the pipe's surface. Pipe and tube cutters provide more accurate cuts than ordinary saws, and result in fewer dangerously sharp edges.
A pipe bender is usually a piece of cast metal with a curved groove running around the outer perimeter. It is used for bending hard, or thick-walled, pipes. The handle is a removable section of pipe, which allows the user to increase leverage as needed for more difficult bending applications. Using a pipe bender takes a lot of practice for even a simple bend, but a skilled user can create pipe sections with complex multiple bends.
Thick-walled pipe, often called hard pipe, can be threaded with a special tool that contains a metal-cutting die. As the pipe threader is slowly screwed counter-clockwise onto the pipe, machine oil is applied to the die. When the pipe threaded in unscrewed, the resulting threads are suitable for use with standard pipe fittings.
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