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Old 02-12-2008, 09:51 PM   #1
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What pipe threader to get?


DH wants to get a pipe threader in anticipation of me doing some work on our steam system. DH (being a man) wants to buy the most expensive gee-gaw he can find - a Rigid electronic pipe threader. Me (being a woman) I think it would be better to buy a less expensive ratcheting pipe threader (and spend the extra money on capital improvements).

So, for a competent DIYer, which pipe threader would ya'll recommend?

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Old 02-13-2008, 07:06 AM   #2
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What pipe threader to get?


How much pipe are you going to thread? I would not buy a pipe threader for a one time project unless you want to resell it and try to recoup maybe half the investment. Most large home improvement stores will thread pipe for you if you buy the pipe there. Having said that you would only need an automatic threader for large production and with the hand threader you will also need a good mounted pipe vise.

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Old 02-13-2008, 11:37 AM   #3
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What pipe threader to get?


If you are not going into business, don't buy either. Rent either type you want to use. You can rent the threader, a tri-vise (3 legged vise to hold the pipes while cutting and threading) and a pipe cutter for way less than buying something that will sit in the basement for years after the work is done. Renting an oiler is a good idea also but, you can use a handheld oil can for this. Oops, almost forgot about a pipe reamer too.
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:58 PM   #4
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What pipe threader to get?


A couple words of warning on steam systems.
1. Steam is hot. Take it very seriously, a quick blast will cause serious burns.
2. You need to use steam fittings. Regular black fittings have thinner walls and are not as strong. They will fail in short order. I do not think Home Depot or Lowes sells steam fittings, you will need to go to a local plumbing supply.
3. Steam lines are like drains, always pitched back towards the boiler.


Now.
What size pipes are you planning on threading? A steam system typically uses 1 1/2 or larger pipes. For something that size your looking at close to two thousand dollars for a ridgid 700, chain vise, dies, and an oiler as your absolute minimum. Want to thread bigger than 2" and you're looking at a Ridgid 300, plus a header for 3-4in pipe, plus a carrier (if you want to thread pipe smaller than 3"), dies, oiler, and a chain vice will come in very handy as well. That will run about 5 thousand dollars.

Now if you're looking at threading 3/8", 1/2", 3/4", or 1" their are some cheap electric threaders out there which are decent for a one time deal, those run about $200 with the dies. You will also need something to hold the pipe, a bench vise with pipe jaws will do the job.


Personally I went out and bought a Ridgid 700, dies, a chain vise and cutter on eBay for $600 when I was re-doing the gas line in my house as I didn't want to borrow tools from work. They're now collecting dust in my basement until I have my own business one day.

Last edited by Marlin; 02-13-2008 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:50 PM   #5
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What pipe threader to get?


Thanks for the confirmation on what I already suspected. My plan is to rent. I have a great plumbing supply place just down the road (Lowes is fine and good when I need to buy a bucket, but otherwise I like a place where I can go in and actually get some help.).

I have been reading Dan Holohan and getting advice from www.heatinghelp.com

I don't plan on monkeying around with the steam pipes until the spring when I don't need my heating system to work. I know all too well never to start a DIY until I'm ready to be without whatever I am working on for twice as long as I planned.

Cheers
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:24 PM   #6
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What pipe threader to get?


Quote:
2. You need to use steam fittings. Regular black fittings have thinner walls and are not as strong. They will fail in short order. I do not think Home Depot or Lowes sells steam fittings, you will need to go to a local plumbing supply.
3. Steam lines are like drains, always pitched back towards the boiler.
Thanks Marlin I didn't know that, we don't have these systems in Texas and I have only seen a radiator in a picture.

And Leah Frances we don't have gee-gaws in Texas either but have plenty of doo-dads

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