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wombosi 11-11-2012 07:04 AM

Shortening a baseboard radiator - very thin pipe
I Installed a new door in a wall that had a long radiator. I have chopped off the 3' or so of the radiator and removed the aluminum fins far back enough to sweat on a new elbow. The problem is, the original end of the radiator was flared to accept a street 90 and seemed to be of thicker material. The pipe I have exposed 3 feet in is ultra soft and thin. As soon as I put the pipe cutter on it and tightened the wheel it bent the pipe. I had to sawzall it off and I am left with a totally mangled pipe I will never be able to sweat anything onto.

What can I do? Even if I do straighten the pipe out, is it going to be a problem with too loose a fit on an elbow now?


Bondo 11-11-2012 07:11 AM

Ayuh,... use yer tubing cutter, 'n go very carefully, with very little tension on the cutting wheel...

it's a slow process, but can be done....

When done gently, a standard 90 elbow will fit...

joecaption 11-11-2012 07:14 AM

Never heard of anyone trying to cut a radiator to size:eek:
Just go buy a shorter one.

oh'mike 11-11-2012 07:23 AM

The cutting wheel on your tool is dull----

This is done all the time---Bondo gave you the way----you need a sharp cutter---

Daniel Holzman 11-11-2012 08:24 AM

Joe, I think it is pretty common to cut a baseboard radiator to size, since they typically come in increments of two feet, and you may have a space that is say 7'6" and you want to cover the whole area for maximum heat. I had just such a problem when I fabricated two double high baseboard radiators to fit the space on either side of a new exterior French door, so I could retain approximately the same amount of heat capacity as the original radiator. Regardless, I used my copper tubing cutter slowly and, as Bondo suggested, it was sharp, so it was no problem. But the copper is quite thin, must be special for heater systems.

wombosi 11-11-2012 08:27 AM

thanks guys.
i was worried given the thickness in there it wasn't designed to be connected to.
i was able to straighten out the pipe using some jeweler's tools and a vice grip and file.
waiting for the hardware store to open so i can get a 90 bleeder fitting on there.

thanks again.

AllanJ 11-12-2012 07:13 AM

How about a much finer toothed hacksaw? They make some really fine toothed saws for hobbyists. These may not last very long when cutting copper pipe (and not succeed in cutting even one steel pipe) but you might not need to do that many cuts.

Saw a little, turn the pipe a little, and saw some more. This way most of the sawing is across (nearly tangent to) the surface as opposed to across the cut edge. Don't apply too much pressure while sawing.

Heating systems operate at much lower pressures compared with water supply systems so thinner pipes can be used. Of course, the thinner pipes are cheaper.

wombosi 11-12-2012 07:16 AM

the work is done. cleaned up my sawzall cut with a file and straightened the pipe with a jeweler's tool (tenant is a jeweler), looks like a tapered steel ramrod, gentle pliers around this to get it back to round.
sweated on a new 90, and bing!
thanks guys.

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