I am planning a shelving project that will use galvanized pipes. I am still designing the shelf and am wondering if I can plan on using whatever length pipe that I need (because they are straight-forward to cut) or are they difficult/costly to cut and I should find out what specific increments are available and design my shelf around that?

After I cut them, the ends of the pipes won't be threaded anymore. Do I have anyway of using standard pipe fittings on pipes without threads?

  • 1
    m.harborfreight.com/… . They also have cheap pipe cutters. won't last long, but you don't need then to.
    – Edwin
    Jul 28, 2014 at 21:50

3 Answers 3


If you buy the pipe at Home Depot, they custom cut it (and thread it) for free. You have to buy the pipe, and there is a fairly flexible policy that they will make up to three cuts per 10 foot length, but if you catch them an hour before closing or when it is not otherwise busy, they are very accommodating.

  • 1
    Second this. Either that or you need to rent a pipe cutting machine and some pipe threading dies.
    – BrianK
    Jul 29, 2014 at 1:50

The ease of cutting will come down to the following:

  1. The pipe schedule (thickness of the pipe wall)
  2. The diameter of the pipe
  3. The cutting tool to be used

Assuming that the pipe schedule is sch 40 or less and the diameter is 2" or less (larger diameters can limit the cutting tool selection and the increases the effort required to obtain a true parallel cut), the following cutting tools would be your best options:

  1. chop saw with an abrasive blade
  2. reciprocating saw
  3. angle grinder with a zip blade
  4. hacksaw

I've listed these in descending order with the easiest first (although this would be subjective based on your familiarity with the listed tools).

  • 1
    Not many folks can make good clean cuts with a reciprocating saw. They're designed more for demolition, than for making finished cuts.
    – Tester101
    Jul 29, 2014 at 2:17
  • I have cut many a galvanized pipe with a hacksaw. He/she can use rigid conduit fittings which have compression rings and nuts if he does not want to thread the pipe, those will hide irregular cuts. Of course, design strength, aesthetics, and cost will be factors. Jul 29, 2014 at 3:05

Why don't you use a standard sized and threaded pipe for your shelves? Sizes range from 1" to 8'(foot) in lengths and 1/2" to 3" in half inch increments on the widths, in stock and on the shelves at Home D or just about any DIY Big Box Store.

This way you could create whatever you like and probably wind up within an inch or so of wherever you want it to fit. Then all you will need are the fittings like elbows(90deg.and 45deg. or even 22.5deg.) couplings, reducers or caps. No cutting will be necessary and you can assemble it with a pair of adjustable grooved pliers or even a pipe wrench if you have one keeping in mind no water tight joints are necessary.

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