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Topic: Anyone with experience with PVC?  (Read 1093 times)
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kmfishburn
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« on: October 16, 2005 11:46:40 PM »

OK. So I have this idea to make my daughter a new headboard and footboard using PVC. (I figure that it's relatively inexpensive and we can paint it to match her room.) Anyway, here are my questions:

1.  Is PVC easy to drill into? (I'm thinking about the anchors.)

2.  My daughter is not quite 2 yet and as I've never worked with PVC before, is it possible to sand down the rough edges that I assume occur after cutting it? (Don't want her to get hurt, ya know!  Wink )

3.  What is the best way to cut the many pieces of PVC that I'm going to need? I don't want to have them cut all of the pieces at Home Depot, since there will be so many....

4.  I know that there is a T-connector, a rounded corner connector, an endcap for the ends and a straight connector for 2 pieces of PVC.  Are there any 3- or 4-way connectors?

OK.  I think that's it for now. I'd appreciate any help or advice that anyone wants to give me.  (I'm even thinking that if I can find the right types of connectors, we could make a canopy bed, but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself....)  Thanks so much!!!!

-Karla  Smiley
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Lylyfai
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2005 10:53:47 AM »

Howdy... just helped my husband make nearly a dozen jewelry displays our of PVC so I will tell you how it worked for us Cheesy
1) Yep easy to drill, just have to keep it still and go slow

2) Yes it sands, we used metal type sandpaper, three different grits, coarse to fine.

3) We used my electric miter saw to cut our tons of pieces...but a good hacksaw or hand saw will work fine, just a bit more elbow grease required with hand tools Cheesy

4) Well the T-connector is a three way and then they have a corner three way, they do also have a 4 way. If you cant find it at your local Ace or home depot, might try a specialized plumbing store, we have a wholesale plumbing place in town, i swear with enough money you could build a PVC house with all the pieces and sizes they have!

And the Krylon Fusion (plastic) paint does really well on PVC, at least the black did for us. Good crafting!! Hope it does well for you....remember measure twice - cut once....and take PICS Smiley
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kewlchik
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2005 08:09:43 AM »

There is an older book at my local library that tells you how to make all kinds of furniture out of pvc. It was quite the thing back in the late 70's. You might check your library for the same thing, or check on ebay. As I recall, it had really good step by step pics.
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kmfishburn
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2005 09:20:47 PM »

WOW!! Thanks for all the information!  I'll have to check and see if we have that book at our library.  And all the info about where to find the pieces is really helpful!  I don't think that we have a plumbing supply shop (other than Home Depot, Menards, Lowes and Ace Hardware) around here (we're in the "metropolis" of the boonies in Michigan), but maybe I can find something online for the connector pieces.

And don't worry... I was going to take pics!!! (Probably of the whole room as I'm doing a LOT for the first time... making a quilt, making a bed skirt, making curtains, decoupaging lamp shades and making the bed.... WHEW! I'm worn out!  Wink )
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iwassupergirl
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2005 03:49:00 PM »


pvc is really bad for the environment and it gives off toxic fumes when it burns. if you're cutting it with power tools (where there's enough heat to melt the plastic) you need to make sure that you're in a well ventilated area.

i don't know if i would put pvc in a bed. you might be able to do this with metal pipe...not as cheap, and not as light, but safer, and recycleable.

sorry to be a bubble burster...
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Lylyfai
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2005 09:50:46 PM »

Hate to disagree with you iwassupergirl, but pvc is safer then metal pipe. Few metal pipes are sanded completely free of snags and I would rather smack my head on a piece of PVC then on a metal pipe (and head smacking is a definite possibility with the child/headboard combo). Plus, truthfully, the mining and processing of ores is just as damaging to the environment as the process of making PVC, and PVC is plastic and is recycleable. Besides, if you are making a piece of furniture with it...it isn't exactly going in the landfill anytime soon. As far as power tools melting it, you don't make long fast cuts on PVC, you do quick chops, rarely heats up enough for fumes. The worst problem i have had is those darn shavings everywhere, much easier to clean up then metal shards in the yard.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it seems that most people just hate on PVC when it is actually no worse for the environment then many other materials. And safer in many situations then other materials.

I had a run in with a gal once, who very rudely announced (while standing in front of my display of polymer clay beads (also plastic) that my beads were deadly to the environment and I should be ashamed of making them. I informed her that my beads do not go into landfills and that the glossy non-soy ink bag from Sak's was just as, if not more likely to be degrading in the landfill, while my beads were still being worn by a happy owner. Sometimes the knee-jerk reaction should be tempered with information.
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Diane B.
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2005 09:14:30 AM »

Just wanted to add that there is a PVC "cutter" that can be bought fairly cheap at the hardware store and does a quick, neat job of cutting PVC pipe.  It looks a bit like a short hand-held branch cutter, but it's ratcheted, so you squeeze the handles a few times after laying the pipe between the 2 blades to cut through, rather than cutting continuously like scissors. Think they cost about $8-10.   Love mine and wouldn't be without 'em.

Re the furniture, there are lots of instructions and inspiration online re using PVC pipe that way... and lots of it is really cool stuff.  I even saved a bunch of pipe lengths and connectors for my kid to play with as a giant erector set.

As for the safety issue, different plastics slump, melt, or burn at different temps.   PVC is very related to polymer clay**, and the danger point for burning polymer clay is 385 degrees.  I've never had a power tool get clay up to that those points though (and we use electric drills all the time, as well as grinders, lathes, etc., which all cause quite a bit of friction).  Even if it does accidentally burn, polymer clay is only "toxic" immediately if you sit around and inhale deeply (which would be hard to do since you'd be coughing)... and also that would just add to the lifetime exposure to not-wonderful stuff one gets from natural and synthetic materials all around us like carpeting, most furniture, wood smoke, as well as car exhaust, x-rays, heating non-stick pans higher than Medium, and a myriad of other things (...though, don't get me wrong, I think one should be aware of all those things, lifetime-wise!).

**polymer clay = a modeling material consisting of finely ground particles of colored polymer, often polyvinyl chloride (PVC), held together by a binder to form a malleable clay-like medium. . . .


Let us see it when you're done!!


Diane B.
GlassAttic ...polymer clay "encyclopedia"
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
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POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
iwassupergirl
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2005 06:18:08 PM »

ok.

i only know about pvc in industrial applications - all i know about polymer clay is that it makes pretty things to wear.

i didn't mean to step on anyone's toes. Sad
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kmfishburn
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2005 11:15:47 PM »

Thanks so much for ALL the information!  I've now learned so much more about PVC than I could have possibly anticipated! Wink  And I'll post a picture when we finally do it.  We're running into a freeze on the funds with redoing my daughter's room right now and the PVC bed is actually one of the last things on the "To-Do" list.  When that everything else gets done, I might need to hibernate for awhile before starting the bed, but we're working on the plans for it.  Gotta figure out the measurements....

Speaking of which, does anyone have any idea how much "seam allowance" (I'll use that for lack of a better term) a PVC joint would require?  I'm assuming that it would be different for different sizes of PVC, but I just don't want to short-change myself...
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Toffer
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2005 08:10:22 PM »

PVC board is actually very crafty.  Some of your questions have already been answered, but here are more considerations.

Depending on what thickness you get, you can cut PVC with a jigsaw/bandsaw or electric hand saw.  I've cut thinner peices with a box-cutter.  The best thing about cutting PVC with a powertool is that there is practically no resistance.  Almost like cutting butter with a hot knife.

The material is quite flexible.  That's also another consideration.  After a certain period of time, (and depending on the overall size of the cut you want) the PVC may warp.  Another thing is that it easily leaves dents and scratches on the surface that paint can't always hide.

Now, about what iwassupergirl said, you may want to wear a mask if you do decide to cut using powertools.  The fumes isn't so bad, just the pvc dust (not the shavings).  The dust itself is not so good for you. Tongue

When it comes to painting PVC, I would recommend Krylon EXCLUSIVELY.  I've had such good results with it.  Beware that it should be used in a well-ventilated area since it's not like other paints.

As for "seam allowance"... for thinner thicknesses, use more seam allowance.. and for thicker, you're generally safe near the edge.
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