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Lowe's (a big US chain home improvement store) offers black iron pipe cutting and threading services to customers. Basically they sell the pipe & will alter it for you.

From their website in the "We Cut It" section says that they offer:

... pipe threading and cutting for any size galvanized or black iron pipe. The process involves a machine-based cutting operation with a metal wheel that creates threads in the ends of pipes. This service is specifically designed to both thread and cut pipes. No blade is involved in the process.

I italicized the last part of this statement - what is the significance that no blade is involved? I assume it is important or why would they even bother to mention it?

I'm no expert but do have a little experience cutting threads (manual taps & dies) and from what I'd seen I thought pipe threading was essentially the same thing. But this makes me think I'm missing something?

I need to do some pipework projects soon and mainly I just want to make sure I'm educated well enough to do it right! Thanks


Note - there is a "learn more" link on their website, but it doesn't offer information about this.

  • @jsotola that is a good suggestion. They may or may not actually know but no harm in trying... – UuDdLrLrSs Jan 17 at 1:59
  • people who know a moderate amount are often aware that saws don't usually do the best job on black pipe. – dandavis Jan 17 at 17:47
  • @dandavis meaning, Lowe's is basically stating some technical details to build confidence in people? That seems reasonable. – UuDdLrLrSs Jan 17 at 18:20
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When pipe is cut with a blade it can result in material debris and/or metal filings or oxides inside the pipe.

This is equivalent to dangerous sediments or solids in a gas line which can damage or clog equipment. Pipes cut with a blade will likely need to be cleaned and/or flushed before use. Imagine PVC filings clogging a sprinkler head.

Using something like a wheel or die should not pollute the pipe interior.

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A die is not a blade. That is what makes threads. A pipe cutter uses a round wheel that is not sharp but is tapered to a dull point. I make hundreds of threads and pipe length adjustments. Saying no blade may mean that if the end of a pipe thread is not filed it can slice you open as fast as a cutco knife from the factory.

I have made thousands of threads or pipe cuts and rarely use blades (like a hack saw or Sawzall). Pipes cut with a blade may not be true and are harder to thread and much harder to assemble if not totally perpendicular. This is the only reason I could see them mentioning it. Unless in an area banning knives? But no knives are normally used.

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    the other concern would be burrs that are normally created when a saw blade is used – jsotola Jan 17 at 1:52
  • No knife ban I'm aware of - your explanation probably is what they had in mind. I will try to find out what method they do use to cut the pipes! – UuDdLrLrSs Jan 17 at 2:01
  • I will try to find out what method they do use to cut the pipes! they use a motorized cutter with a wheel in it that's tapered with a blunt point like Ed explained. The pipe is loaded unto the machine and aligned with an indicator, then switched on, and the machine slowly rotates the pipe against the cutting wheel until it's cut. – dwizum Jan 17 at 18:24
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The way I read the section it feels like they are trying to say "this process is specific for pipes, and we can't cut anything else even if it is pipe shaped. There is no blade, just special wheels and machines that only cut pipe threads".

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