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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm refining a DIY project I found for making installation of christmas lights easier. It involves cutting a straight slot down lengths of small diameter (1") PVC pipe for the cord, then dropping the icicle strands through drilled (widened) spots along the slot. Then mounting tool clips to the soffit below the gutter to hold the PVC. I can cut to length first, the shortest piece would be around 2', and do as many pieces as possible at 5'. I know from reading to build a jig to hold the pipe against the fence and table. Cut depth is easy, it's a bit more than wall thickness. My question is how do I get a 1/8" gap (kerf) defeating the 'pinch' of the PVC pipe.
 

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A cat made me do it.
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Welcome to the forum. There are 1/8" bits, I've had good luck ordering from Router Bit World.

Or are you concerned that the pipe will pinch closed? I guess use a larger bit, so you still have the gap you want after it partially closes.
 

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regardless of the tool you choose to make the cut, router table or table saw, in my opinion the challenge will be to keep the cut straight. first thought would be to attach a long board to one side, which will help keep the pipe registered to the table, so it won't rotate on you. you can screw it through the pipe at some sacrificial section of the pipe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'll be cutting the slot on my table saw, and drilling the wider spots on my drill press. I'll be using an 'L' shaped jig, that clamps to the fence for the cut. I was asking for methods to get an adequate gap in the PVC. Will two passes be necessary? Is there a way to mount 2 blades for a wider kerf?
 

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while most std table saw blades leave (almost) a 1/8" kerf, you will need to see how much "spring back" you get after you cut the slot. a second cut may be required to open it up more. hard for us to determine that. it could even change from pipe to pipe, batch to batch, etc., hot day cold day
 

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some jig is required to keep a good hold on it, plus keep the kerf straight.
I strongly advise fastening the pvc pipe to a jig that runs smooth through the saw - attempting to hand feed a round pipe through the table saw has a very high pucker factor - especially if you're doing 'a bunch'

as for the kerf closing up, this could be a good thing or a bad thing. if it closes slightly, that would act to 'retain' the cord - you could use wedges to hold the slot open when installing the cord...

you might experiment with drilling the holes before cutting the slots - drilling thru sides that move is tricky.
 

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I'm refining a DIY project I found for making installation of christmas lights easier. It involves cutting a straight slot down lengths of small diameter (1") PVC pipe for the cord, then dropping the icicle strands through drilled (widened) spots along the slot. Then mounting tool clips to the soffit below the gutter to hold the PVC. I can cut to length first, the shortest piece would be around 2', and do as many pieces as possible at 5'. I know from reading to build a jig to hold the pipe against the fence and table. Cut depth is easy, it's a bit more than wall thickness. My question is how do I get a 1/8" gap (kerf) defeating the 'pinch' of the PVC pipe.
As with any material that wants to "pinch" the blade, immediately after making a kerf that's long enough to slip a small wood wedge in, do so. That should prevent any further pinching, but you'll need to stop the saw and insert in in from the far end. You could incorportate that idea into your holding jig for faster and safer results since you will need multiples of this concept. A full kerf blade will yield a 1/8" wide kerf. You don't want to make two passes. if that's not wide enough? then stack two "thin kerf blades" and see what that kerf is.... ?
 
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