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How to Cut HDPE Pipe

Updated February 21, 2017

High-density polythene pipe is a tough product used in a wide range of plumbing applications. City utilities use large diameter HDPE pipe to supply potable water or drain waste water. This type of pipe is usually cut with tools designed specifically for the job and joined by fusion equipment. Many home stores carry smaller sizes of HDPE pipe, which is typically used for landscape drainage and can be readily cut with a saw. Although thick-wall HDPE is more forgiving than harder plastic pipe, care in blade selection and cutting speed are still advised.

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  1. Measure the needed length of pipe. Mark the circumference of the pipe in several places at this measurement. Using these marks as a guide, draw a clearly visible line around the pipe. Use a marker that can be seen well on the pipe.

  2. Place large diameter pipe in a position where it is firmly supported and yet can be rotated easily. Make sure the portion to be cut off can separate cleanly from the rest of the pipe without binding the saw blade.

  3. Start the cut slowly, making sure to follow the marked line. As the cut deepens, you can increase your cutting speed, but be careful to keep the cut clean and square. Turn larger diameter pipe when necessary to facilitate the cutting.

  4. Smooth the completed cut and the interior lip of the pipe with sandpaper.

  5. Measure and mark the needed length of pipe. Install a thin-kerf plastic-cutting or multipurpose blade in the mitre or chop saw.

  6. Hold the pipe securely against the saw's base and fence. Turn on the saw. Slowly lower the blade until it just touches the pipe. Advance the blade through the pipe much more slowly than you would to cut wood.

  7. Smooth the completed cut and the interior lip of the pipe with sandpaper.

  8. Tip

    Smaller diameter HDPE pipe can be cut with a ratchet-style tubing cutter designed for other types of plastic pipe.


    Always wear eye protection when using power tools.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Chalk, soapstone marker or felt-tip pen
  • Handsaw with 11 to 13 teeth per inch
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Mitre saw or chop saw
  • Thin-kerf plastic-cutting or multipurpose blade

About the Author

Steve Hamilton has been writing professionally since 1983. His credits include novels under the Dell imprint and for Harlequin Worldwide. A remodeling and repair specialist with over 20 years experience, he is also a Certified Pool Operator and holds an EPA Universal refrigerant certification.

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