How to dado a PVC pipe

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Forum topic by Medickep posted 08-07-2015 02:37 AM 3110 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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574 posts in 2132 days

08-07-2015 02:37 AM

Topic tags/keywords: resource

I have a project I’m about to start on, which calls for a 3/4” dado through a piece of 1.5” PVC pipe. The dado blade on the TS would be the easiest way, but I’m not sure how kosher that is since I’ve never done it. I feel like it may want to kick around or chip, sending pieces of plastic flying. I could brace the other end of the pipe with wood, but I’m not sure if that’s good enough. Anyone done this?

Has anyone done this?

This is the project I’m working on:


-- Keith

32 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


10858 posts in 1880 days

#1 posted 08-07-2015 02:44 AM

I’d do it on a sled.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View CharleyL's profile


223 posts in 3759 days

#2 posted 08-07-2015 03:01 AM

You should be able to just slit the pipe and then spread the slit to put it onto the wood. You shouldn’t need a dado blade.

If you make a round hole in a couple of square blocks of wood that tightly fit the ends of the pipe you can set your table saw blade just high enough to make the cut through one side of the pipe. Then set the table saw fence so the saw cut is in the bottom center of the pipe with the blocks of wood riding against the the saw table and the fence to keep the pipe from turning. Make certain that the pipe is longer than you will need and avoid cutting all the way to the wood blocks. Raise the running blade up through one side of the pipe near the first block of wood and then feed the pipe into the blade until the slit is longer than you will need and before you cut the second block of wood, then turn off the saw while holding the pipe in place until the blade stops. Once the slit has been made you can remove the wood blocks and trim the ends off the pipe to the length that you really need. Drive wedges into the pipe slit to open it up wide enough to fit over the the wood and then slide it onto the wood, removing the wedges as they become unnecessary. The spring tension in the pipe should hold it in place without any additional fasteners.


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Greg In Maryland

553 posts in 3392 days

#3 posted 08-07-2015 03:06 AM

+ 1 on the sled, though I think that two passes with a regular blade would be better than a dado stack.

Oh, and be prepared for little white chips EVERYWHERE and I mean EVERYWHERE. I cut some PVC pipe with my chop saw and what a mess. I will never cut PVC on any power tool indoors again.


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574 posts in 2132 days

#4 posted 08-07-2015 03:11 AM

Well I don’t have a sled yet, I know, I should so I will have to try Charley’s way! Thanks for the help!

-- Keith

View Daruc's profile


460 posts in 1527 days

#5 posted 08-07-2015 03:28 AM

Call me a rebel, but I would just use some double stick tape and put down a follower strip. This will keep your pipe from turning. I would start with a pc about 4 foot long, (that way you can hold it tight), push it through far enough to cut your 25” then lift it up off the blade.

-- -

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574 posts in 2132 days

#6 posted 08-07-2015 03:48 AM


Are you saying the wood would be up against the fence, taped to the side of the pipe? Or over the top of the pipe up against the fence and over the fence?

I was going to use a regular blade and one pass, but I’m not sure it will spread to 3/4”!

-- Keith

View jmartel's profile


8467 posts in 2544 days

#7 posted 08-07-2015 03:55 AM

The PVC pipe is just going to explode when you put it through the saw. At least it has the couple times I’ve tried.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 2822 days

#8 posted 08-07-2015 04:21 AM

Be very careful cutting PVC with a length wise slit, with a power saw. I would take a hand saw first to see what residual stress remains in the slit PVC.

PVC and a power saw could result in a nasty accident in a heartbeat.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Rayne's profile


1209 posts in 1934 days

#9 posted 08-07-2015 04:35 AM

How about drawing a straight line with a marker and using a soldering iron to just melt it open?
Or use an oscillating power tool to cut the slit?

View markum's profile


6 posts in 1613 days

#10 posted 08-07-2015 04:47 AM

I have done this several times. I did not use a dado but basically did what woodust said. I cut in two passes to form the gap. PVC will not “explode” in a table saw. It can be messy. I would not recommend making a cut and spreading it open to fit over your boards. Just cut your opening light of the width you need to span the wood. Go slow. You should be ok.

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574 posts in 2132 days

#11 posted 08-07-2015 04:48 AM

Okay, you guys are starting to scare me! What about a router with a 1/4” bit and have the pipe up against the fence along with a feather board pushing it down and another one towards the fence?

-- Keith

View WhyMe's profile


1153 posts in 1955 days

#12 posted 08-07-2015 01:24 PM

Use either one of these methods but making 2 slices through one side to make the slot. I’ve done it and it works fine. I would not use a dado blade. or

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Fred Hargis

5549 posts in 2888 days

#13 posted 08-07-2015 02:48 PM

I’ve also cut slits in PVC without a problem. You do have to have a method to hold it in position while cutting. I also share your concern about the pipe not spreading enough if you only make one cut….I’m thinking it will take 2 slits, but try the spreading thing first.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Daruc's profile


460 posts in 1527 days

#14 posted 08-07-2015 03:09 PM

I just did a test with no jigs. I just put in a wobbly dado blade and ran a pc of 3/4” pvc, (all I had on hand)
Just held it and pushed it through a ways. It cut with no problem.
No exploding pvc.
It chipped out the bottom a little bit, but going a little slower and using the 1 1/2” pipe it would be better.
Easily doable, even better with any kind of jig.

-- -

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574 posts in 2132 days

#15 posted 08-07-2015 05:50 PM


Since I’m rapidly approaching this step, your my hero!! Thanks for Being the guinea pig. It needs to fit over 3/4” wood, so I’ll stack my dado aiytle smaller and go for it.

-- Keith

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