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Coping (notching) pipe with a portaband

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  • Coping (notching) pipe with a portaband

    I've been building pipe fence for awhile. I started off using Shur Kuts and then pipe notchers like Williams Low Buck's. Then I picked up a Vogel and have never looked back.

    The problem with the Vogel is the dies for two and a half inch (2 7/8" O.D.) is about twenty five hundred dollars plus. That's for the dies, no punch press, no hydraulic power source.

    Torches are great. So is the plasma. In fact when I have a bunch of posts to do that are 2 7/8 I will make up a shur kut thingy and do them all in the shop with the plasma.

    But most of the time the easiest way for me to do just a couple of pieces of any size up to 4" (4 5/8") I use a portaband.

    Here's how I do it.

    These pictures are of doing two inch (2 3/8" 0.D.) schedule forty. Yes it's galvanized. I'm sixty one years old and I've been welding galvanized since I was in my early twenties. If you are wary about welding galvanized then don't. If you do use your head for something more than hanging a hood on.

    The first thing I do is butt a piece of pipe up ninety degrees. I don't have to do this anymore for most sizes because I've done them often enough that I have the measurement down. But when I need to know how deep to cut the notch this is where I find that out.

    I measure the distance that's the biggest between the pipes. On two inch it's about five eighths of an inch. That's for schedule forty. Thin wall can go three quarter of an inch or more.
    Attached Files
    life is good

  • #2
    I take the measurement and mark my pipe. Sometimes I'll cut from the end up to the mark and sometimes I'll cut from the mark towards the end of the pipe.

    What you want to do is divide the end of the pipe into thirds. So if you're cutting down from the mark you aim for one third down on the end of the pipe. If you're cutting up from the end then you start a third down and cut up to the mark.
    Attached Files
    life is good

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    • #3
      Then it's just a simple matter of turning the pipe over and doing the same thing on the other side.
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      life is good

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      • #4
        If you only are going to cut some copes or saddles for one job or aren't interested in developing a real skill with it then I suggest calling a fried of mine in Plano Texas. There they sell notches. They take my Vogel dies and put them in their eighty ton punch press. They cut pieces of two inch (2 3/8" O.D.) one and a sixteenth long. They notch these pieces. Then all you have to do is subtract 1/2" from your measurement and weld in a notch.

        Plano Power Equipment 972 423 5220
        Attached Files
        life is good

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        • #5
          I have been doing it that way for years on noncritical applications. I don't even spin the pipe, just make the top cut then lay the saw over and saw the other side from the end back. Makes a handrail job fly.
          I don't need no stinkin notcher!

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          • #6
            Pipe Welding

            Thanks for that information. Over the years I have looked at the fixtures they have to cut the ends using a hole saw. Your method is quick and easy with tools I already have in the shop. I have shyed away from doing pipe joints because cutting looks complicated. I can't wait to try this out!
            Bill

            Miller Mig 130XP
            Linde VI206 W/Mig
            Miller Econotig
            L Tec Plasma PCM32i
            Pneumtic Forging Hammer 75#
            Mechanical Forging Hammer 65#
            Propane Forge
            Makita Chop Saw
            Bader 72" Belt Grinder
            Bader Knockoff 72" Belt Grinder
            Milwaukee Portoband

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            • #7
              I'm assuming this method works well for post that have already been set in concrete.

              What do you do? Cut to desired height and then cope saddle? is there a better way?

              Regards,

              Dan c

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dan c View Post
                I'm assuming this method works well for post that have already been set in concrete.

                What do you do? Cut to desired height and then cope saddle? is there a better way?

                Regards,

                Dan c
                I saddle all my posts before I set them. I install the Vogel in the rear reciever hitch on the truck and do all the posts. Corners, ends, and gate posts I set with the notched end in the concrete.
                Attached Files
                life is good

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                • #9
                  I set my posts by eye, height and line.

                  I know. Some people use a string. But how do they check out the line after they set it with a string? They look down the line. I skip the string thing and just do it by eye.

                  This allows me to use notched posts. Once I'm rolling I'm faster than a man setting with a string. And when I'm done there is no going back and cutting and welding for height.

                  This is a west coast thing. West coast fence men don't use strings or wire for setting fence lines. In fact a lot of the old boys will fire a man who drags out a string when setting a fence line.
                  life is good

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                  • #10
                    Where that notched pipe posts really is nice is when its weld up time. I set my posts on eight foot centers, never more, most of the time two to six inches less. I use twenty four foot pieces of pipe. This makes it simple when cutting posts at eight feet. It also means I can space my joints over posts. This eliminates broken top rails years later. I usually have to cut a couple of inches off of each length to make it work but that's nothing.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wroughtnharv View Post
                      What you want to do is divide the end of the pipe into thirds. So if you're cutting down from the mark you aim for one third down on the end of the pipe. If you're cutting up from the end then you start a third down and cut up to the mark.
                      I don’t think I understand when you say you divide the pipe into thirds. Do you have a picture of how you lay the pipe out?

                      This is my understanding of laying a pipe out into thirds.
                      Attached Files
                      Caution!
                      These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

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                      • #12
                        Look at a circle. Now divide it into thirds with horizontal lines. The middle third would be the part of the end of the pipe that's not affected by the cutting process. The top third and the bottom third would be cut back by just slightly less than forty five degrees.

                        2 3/8" O.D. schedule forty pipe would have approximately thirteen sixteenths thirds. The cut back is five eighths of an inch.

                        If you're tigging in a piece of stainless or chromemoly then this method needs to be undercut and then finished out with a grinder to get a tight fit. If you're sticking or migging then the fit is good enough for Ray Charles to sew up on a good day.
                        life is good

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                        • #13
                          This falls into the category of, can’t see the trees for the forest!

                          I got it now, thanks!
                          Attached Files
                          Last edited by Sonora Iron; 02-09-2010, 01:31 PM.
                          Caution!
                          These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

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                          • #14
                            If I had your way with the cad I wouldn't have to use so many words.
                            life is good

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                            • #15
                              CAD is easy; think of it as your toolbox. Each function is a tool, just have to keep track of what function / tool does what!
                              Caution!
                              These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

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