I'll admit it. I have all the pipes and fitting for the boat canopy design. I'm just a bit afraid to start making it! It suddenly feels a bit more complicated than I expected. It's one thing to design something, but another to actually build it.
The first thing that struck me was how to cut dozens of 1.25" PVC pipes into the pieces I needed. I have a pipe cutter that you turn around on the pipe and keep tightening. But doing that for dozens of cuts seemed daunting. I considered the radial saw, the tablesaw, a hacksaw, and a jigsaw. All seemed problematic. I googled a lot of PVC discussion sites and the evaluations of the various cutting methods all had supporters and detractors. Serious power tools not only toss up a lot of nasty PVC dust, but can make bad cuts, and even spray splinters that get into the skin. Low-powered tool like a jigsaw are slow and tend not to make square cuts. Manual saws are s-l-o-w...
I decided a reciprocating saw was the best choice. So I pulled out my never-used reciprocating saw. It had only 1 saws blade on the kit, designed for metal. And I had read some reports that said those blades melted the PVC edges and left hard blobs.
So I went to the net to find reciprocating saw blades designed for PVC. Go ahead and search for yourself. They are mentioned often, but never specified! It was a maddening search. There is basically "metal", "wood", and "multipurpose". I was so frustrated!
I went to Home Depot yesterday and looked at reciprocating saw blades. The hardware/tool clerk (manager?) helped. He pointed out that all the blades fit all the saws. That helped, I thought I need the same brand as my DeWalt saw. Then he noticed that there were little graphics on the blades that showed what they were designed to cut. One had a picture of PVC pipe. But that was a pack of 10 blades and I sure didn't need THAT many. He had to go help another customer. But then I noticed that the teeth description on the PVC blade was "8/12".
So I looked at the individual blades and found others that were "8/12". It seems to be a pattern of varying teeth. I bought one! Yay...
I have a few old pieces of PVC pipe and I will try the blade on one in the next couple of days. If it works well, I will start cutting Boat Canopy PVC soon.
I've been thinking on how to cut pieces accurately. I need a bunch of 1.25" pipes at 7', a bunch of 1.25" pipes at 5', a bunch of .5" pipes at 5" and a bunch of /5" pipes at 2.5'. I think I will have to set up stop blocks on my workbench and use the far end to mark the cut points. Then I can set the PVC pipes in a pair of Workmate benches set 1/4" part to guide the reciprocating saw in a straight cut.
Assembling all the pieces is going to drive me nuts...
On the other hand, I'm going to be thrilled after I get it all finished.
I'll sure be glad to go back to working with wood when this project is completed!