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Speaking of saddle cuts (e.g., TM drum smoker post on 1/18/2010), Instructables has a new posting on making perfect pipe saddle cuts with a bandsaw or chopsaw. For same diameter pipes, the author, samson3000, uses two cuts at approx. 35° close to, but not through, the center of the pipe so there’s a flat spot (as shown above), not a sharp point. An end view of the cut, pictured below, shows a pretty tight saddle.

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For a larger pipe saddled to a smaller pipe in the case where the smaller pipe fits in the larger pipe, the angle is increased to 45°, and the cut goes through the center, so there is a point. If you want a non-90° saddle, you can, for example, cut one side at 30°, and the other at 45°. There are many machine-shop illustrative pictures at the Instructables link.

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8 Responses to How-To: Make Perfect Saddle Cuts

  1. browndog77 says:

    As a carpenter who likes to tinker with metal occasionally (my father was a welder, maybe it’s in the genes!), I want to offer a hint for this process. Making the angle cuts to a point first, and then squaring of at the proper location is a better plan. The heel of your angle cuts will be the measuring point, and is more important re: accuracy. A goof on the square cut can be dealt with easier.

  2. Ross says:

    You can also use the Tube Coping Calculator at metalgeek.com to print wrap around templates for more complex joinery. There is also a downloadable program TUBEFIT that works for sizes that are beyond the constraints of the web based utility.

  3. David Bryan says:

    I saw that Instructable and it’s nice, and it looks like a really good method for most purposes, and it’d be good enough for anything I’d be doing, but it sure ain’t how you make “perfect” saddle cuts.

  4. Gordon says:

    @ David

    I was a little uneasy about the “perfect” part myself, but decided to stick with the title from Instructables to be consistent.

  5. Cameron Watt says:

    That looks like cast iron pipe.

    Harderwoods.com has a nice cope template generator I’ve used a couple times.

    As an apprentice, I needed to learn how to make cope templates with drafting tools, and it’s saved my butt a couple times. You can find the method in a book on sheet metal pattern development.

    If you have to make a pile of cope cuts, make your first piece with the chop saw method, make it perfect, then make a template by wrapping a piece of paper around it and rubbing the cut edge with your dirty hands; it will transfer the edge to the paper quite nicely. Trim ‘er up and you have a nice, accurate template.

  6. Cameron Watt says:

    Oops, I forgot to put my website in my post!

    By the way: I haven’t seen the term fish-mouth used anywhere…Isn’t that what American fabricators call them?

  7. browndog77 says:

    Let’s not start name-calling! lol

  8. DNC says:

    Take a look at ‘www.pipesaddlelayout.com. The saddle page gives the layout lengths in seconds for various pipe sizes and different angles. It gives the basic 8 ea. lengths for the typical 16-division layout; in addition it gives the dimensions for a 64-division layout in case you have a very shallow angle or want more of a template quality layout.

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