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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    312

    Default 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.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    312

    Default

    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.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    312

    Default

    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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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    312

    Default

    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
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  5. #5

    Default

    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!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Western NY State
    Posts
    41

    Smile 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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ione - Sac
    Posts
    2

    Default

    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    312

    Default

    Quote 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.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    312

    Default

    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    312

    Default

    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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