How to cut cast iron pipe reciprocating saw

Cast iron pipe is a popular material for water pipes due to its durability. However, it can be difficult to cut with standard tools. A reciprocating saw is the best tool for the job, but you need to know how to use it correctly to avoid damaging the pipe.

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In this blog post, we will show you how to cut cast iron pipes using a reciprocating saw. We will also discuss some of the challenges you may encounter and how to overcome them.

Cast iron pipe (CIP) is a type of material that is used to convey water and wastewater.

It can be recognized by its grey-black matte finish, circular shape, and fluting.

The material was invented in the mid-1800s and it has been largely replaced today by PVC plastic piping.

How to cut cast iron pipe reciprocating saw step by step:

Here are some steps

1. Disconnect power to the pipe

Before you cut through a cast-iron pipe, make sure that there is no water in it by turning off all of the valves leading into and out of the pipe. Otherwise, you stand to get seriously injured by scalding hot water or steam.

2. Mark your cut line with chalk or soapstone

You can use either of these items to mark where you are going to make your cut along the outside of the pipe before using the saw on it.

This substance will leave a warning color on both sides of your intended cut so that you only have to look once for your line before cutting. A marker can also be used if they are working properly.

3. Secure the pipe

The reciprocating saw’s blade will have a tendency to fling back and forth during use, so you should establish some type of brace to hold it in place while you cut. A vice grip can be used here, but you might want to clamp down hard on the pipe with your own two hands as well.

Don’t try any quick or jerky movements because this will make the blade move unpredictably right into your skin. Use slow, steady movements for safety.

4. Cut slowly through metalworking

You should start at one end of the line where you used soapstone or chalk and work slowly downward toward that other end until it has been completely cut through.

You should take care not to apply too much downward pressure with the saw because this could cause it to skid and lose control, which will lead to injury. A slow and steady movement will help you avoid such an accident.

5. If your cat doesn’t go all of the ways through

If you only were able to make a partial cut into the pipe, but not completely through it at either end, don’t despair. Turn off the power and let the pipe cool down for around 30 minutes before attempting to complete your previous cut lines using something like a hacksaw or pipe cutter (if you have one).

You might also try using an Oxy acetylene torch as well if you aren’t afraid of causing sparks.

6. Clear out any obstructions

After you have successfully cut through the pipe, be sure to clear away all of your tools before turning the water back on.

Try to get rid of heat insulation, mounting screws, nuts/washers, and anything else that might prevent water from flowing smoothly through the pipe afterward. This will help prolong the life of the pipe also.


1. Pipe Connection On The Right Side Of Saw.

The binding of the blade is common when using saws like this one due to their size and weight which is around 5 kilos (11 pounds).

For example in my case when I was trying to make a cut for a vertically mounted pipeline; it took me about 4 hours to make a cut.

2. Poorly Made Pipe Joints.

No matter how good you are in using a saw, it will not work if its joints are poorly made or manufacturer defects led to leakage of water/steam at pipe joints.

3. Worn Blades And Damaged Mounting Screws.

As time goes by, blades and screws will start to wear out which can cause a lot of trouble during cutting.

4. Pipe Joints In Ambiguous Location.

This is the most difficult part when making a cut for cast iron pipe with a reciprocating saw because it has ambiguous locations where you cannot know its direction without looking at the other half of the pipe.

Safety Tips:

1. Use safety gloves

As always, you should wear gloves that will protect your hands from cuts and burns when using the reciprocating saw for this type of project. These tools are designed to cut through tough materials like metal, concrete, wood, etc., which is why they will also cause significant damage to flesh if used improperly.

2. Wear ear protection

It doesn’t matter if you’re using a regular saw or a reciprocating one, they will produce enough noise to damage your hearing if you don’t protect it with some form of ear protection. Ensure that the filters on the blades are working properly and that all other components are in good condition before continuing to work.

3. Use protective eyewear

Similar to the earplugs, you should also protect your eyes with protective glasses while working with reciprocating saws. These tools are made to move straight lines in an extremely rapid fashion; if anything slips or moves unexpectedly, it could lead to significant damage to your eyesight (and possibly other parts of your face).


What is the best reciprocating saw blade for cutting Cast Iron pipe?

The TEKTON 6945 is a highly durable, dependable blade for heavy-duty cutting. It cuts up to steel.

What are the dangers of cutting cast iron pipe with a reciprocating saw? 

If you are not confident in your abilities or do not make sure that you have the tools to make a clean cut, it may be possible for debris to fly around during the cutting process.

This is dangerous because these materials could cause eye injuries and other physical damage if they collide with you or another person.

How can I prevent jamming and binding when cutting cast iron pipes?

You can try to lubricate the blades and saw machine (if necessary) to avoid binding. Some people also choose to spray WD-40 on the surface of whatever it is they’re cutting in order to reduce friction and prevent sticking.


We showed you how to cut the cast iron pipe with a reciprocating saw. The process is simple and only requires a few basic tools. Be sure to wear safety gear while cutting the pipe to avoid injury. Are there any other projects you’d like us to cover? Let us know in the comments!

We hope you found this information helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below.