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Old 11-09-11, 11:22 PM   #1
Muffin Man
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How to cut my fork?

I remember seeing a youtube video with a pipe cutting thing that went in circles around the fork and cut it after a couple of times. I have about 30mm of spacers stacked on top of my fork, and i dont see selling or changing my position on the bike anytime soon, so I wanna get rid of that.
Does anyone know what im talking about and be able to provide pics or a link to what im talking about?
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Old 11-09-11, 11:31 PM   #2
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The tool is called a pipecutter. You'll probably also want a flat file and rattail file to clean up the cut.

I usually use a hacksaw myself, with a piece of tape around the steerer acting as a guide. Miter box if I'm near one.

A-ha, here's a vid:

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Old 11-09-11, 11:38 PM   #3
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ok thanx. It should be available at the nearest home depot or hardware store?
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Old 11-09-11, 11:59 PM   #4
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The guys at the shop used a hack saw like this guy.

They did have a guide type fixture to keep the blade from wandering.

Don't forget you may have to install another start nut......or tap the original in further down the tube.

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Old 11-10-11, 12:11 AM   #5
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LBS has a hacksaw guide , makes it a quick job..

NB, not so common is the knowledge of how to properly use a hacksaw.
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Old 11-10-11, 01:04 AM   #6
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Pipe cutters work for cutting pipes, not particularly ok for bike fork steerer tubes. Depending on how the pipe cutter is used, it may leave a slightly flared end on the steerer tube which may make it difficult or impossible to slide a lockring/spacer/stem over it. This is because the "cutting" wheel of the pipe cutter doesn't cut, but displaces the metal via pressure.

Can they be used for a steerer tube? yes. Is it ideal? no. Best to use a hacksaw with a good blade. Even better to use that in conjuction with a cutting guide.
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Old 11-10-11, 01:33 AM   #7
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Pipe cutters work for cutting pipes, not particularly ok for bike fork steerer tubes. Depending on how the pipe cutter is used, it may leave a slightly flared end on the steerer tube which may make it difficult or impossible to slide a lockring/spacer/stem over it. This is because the "cutting" wheel of the pipe cutter doesn't cut, but displaces the metal via pressure.
That's the main reason I go for the hacksaw. I've never used a pipecutter for a steerer, but I've used 'em on other pipes and yeah, they make the pipe curl inward at the cut so you need to clean that up with a rattail file. I always clean up with a flat file and a rattail after hacksawing also but it seems like there would be less cleanup necessary in comparison to that of the pipecutter. I've heard some say if you have a good pipecutter and know how to use it then you don't get much curl, but eh, hacksaw works for me.

I'm sure proper pressure application might help alleviate that and it may be better on cromo or maybe better on aluminum, I don't know.

Additionally, I'd have to imagine pipecutter is a no-go on carbon steerers.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 11-10-11 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 11-10-11, 02:23 AM   #8
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I've never had any outward flare to speak of when using a pipe cutter, but yeah there's definitely an inward lip. Otherwise the cut is usually really clean and dead-on perpendicular. I'm specially fond of the pipecutter for shortening a steerer with the crown nut already installed. I just tap it down below the intended cut first, then go for it. Neat, and no clean-up required.

Come to think of it, the rollers on my big pipe cutter are flat, so they'll push any outward flare back down. But the rollers on my mid-size cutter have a groove that just clears the cut line, so they'll leave any outward flare intact.

I've never cut a CF steerer, but I have cut a couple of CF ski poles. You decide how much of that experience that's applicable. Seems to work OK as long as you have a sharp cutting disc, go easy and use more turns than for a metal pipe of similar size.
Sometimes I've used a pipe cutter just to give me a reference line for a hacksaw cut. That's probably the best perpendicular accuracy I can get w/o using the lathe.
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Old 11-10-11, 02:32 AM   #9
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Yeah, I've never seen any outbound flare, just inward, on a pipecutter cut. You get minor outward and inward crap on hacksaw cuts.

There's no way I'd leave a raw cut edge. I guess that might come from cutting a lot of threaded steerers, however. If you don't clean those up then stem insertion gets a little ugly (and of course you had to have an old locknut below the cut to unscrew and clean the threads afterwards). I'm gonna keep cleaning up my cuts even on threadless ones and I'm gonna keep hacksawing them.

Wow, I'm editing this one like crazy! One thing I thought of is that if you need to insert a new starfangled nut then you'll definitely wanna clean up that inward curl beforehand.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 11-10-11 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 11-10-11, 07:57 AM   #10
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If your steerer is steel or aluminum, a pipe cutter will work but most hardware store and home center cutters are intended for copper tubing an won't work well or last long on steel.

If your steerer is carbon you must use a hacksaw, preferably with a cutting guide.
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Old 11-10-11, 08:43 AM   #11
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In our shop, we use a hacksaw fitted with a 24 tpi blade for cutting aluminum and steel steerers, and a 32 tpi blade for cutting carbon steerers. We have the handy Park jig that holds the fork firmly and has a guide slot for the hacksaw blade to insure a straight cut.
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Old 11-10-11, 09:00 AM   #12
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In our shop, we use a hacksaw fitted with a 24 tpi blade for cutting aluminum and steel steerers, and a 32 tpi blade for cutting carbon steerers. We have the handy Park jig that holds the fork firmly and has a guide slot for the hacksaw blade to insure a straight cut.
That's how I cut fork steerers too except I use a 32 tpi blade for everything. If you don't have a purpose built cutting jig, a stainless steel radiator clamp tightened around the steerer with the upper edge right on the cut line is a very effective cutting guide too.
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Old 11-10-11, 09:02 AM   #13
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1 1/8 pipecutter at Ace Hardware, $10. A new one leaves a very slight bulge that cleans up nicely with a rasp - as does a hacksaw. Don't get the little one meant for copper.

Using a pipecutter is as simple as it gets. 5 second job.

Hacksaws are a little difficult for a new user, those cuts get to looking a little wild.
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Old 11-10-11, 11:14 AM   #14
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Pipe cutters are OK, but not for use on carbon steerers. You must use a very fine tooth or abbrasive bladed hacksaw on carbon. Also, no star nut in carbon steerers. Use only appropriate expansion plugs for carbon steerers.
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Old 11-10-11, 01:53 PM   #15
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I usually use a hacksaw myself, with a piece of tape around the steerer acting as a guide. Miter box if I'm near one.
If it's a threaded steer tube and you have a couple old threaded cups you can use them as a saw guide as well. Added bonus is unscrewing the cup after cutting will de-burr the threads (you'll still have to clean out the inside of the steer tube with a half-round file, though).
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Old 11-10-11, 06:24 PM   #16
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Ok Ill pick up a pipe cutter today or tomorrow. I've used a saw before, and the results weren't pretty... So i"ll just stick to the cutter. And I have an aluminum threadless fork. (Alpha Q CS-10)
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Old 11-11-11, 03:19 PM   #17
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Ok. So i got the pipe cutter and tried to cut the steerer, but the blade wasn't long enough to actually get through the steerer. Should i finish it up with a hacksaw? There is already a good groove in the steerer
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Old 11-11-11, 04:32 PM   #18
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Ok. So i got the pipe cutter and tried to cut the steerer, but the blade wasn't long enough to actually get through the steerer. Should i finish it up with a hacksaw? There is already a good groove in the steerer


Never used a pipe cutter myself but after watching instructional videos, seems you need to tighten up the clamp/gripping device after each rotation.

How could the blade not be long enough unless you bought the wrong size?

1/8 to 1 1/8 size


Last edited by Mr. Beanz; 11-11-11 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 11-11-11, 04:38 PM   #19
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You must have bought a really lame or overly small pipe cutter then.

Finish it with the hacksaw and file off anything that looks ugly.

If you're not able to get straight cuts with a simple hacksaw then some of it is technique and some trickery. For technique remember that any saw ONLY cuts in one direction. LIFT the pressure off for the return stroke. Also when pressing down for the cut stroke don't go nutz. If you do the blade will arch and buckle and try to run off to the side. Which brings us to the simple fact that any hacksaw blade should be used with a frame that allows you to generate a good amount of blade tension. Cheap hacksaw frames won't allow that in a lot of cases. Now you can still use such saws but it means you need to further reduce the pressure you use. Finally hacksaw blades do NOT last forever. Invest in a new blade and see how you manage. Old blades often dull more on one side than the other and that leads directly to the blade cutting strongly to one side which results in those scarey wonky cuts which make us all doubt our ability to chew gum and walk at the same time. Yet in such cases it's not our fault... other than trying to penny pinch and avoid replacing the cheap blade. Finally one last tip. Buy "bi metal" blades. They cost twice as much as the cheapie imports. But they cut nicer, straighter and last easily three times as long as the cheapies.

Now the trickery part. Wrap a strip of "cereal box" cardboard around the tube such that the overlap lines up with the start. Then mark the tube with a pencil or fine tip marker around the edge of the cardboard. You now have a nice mark to cut and file to and when you finish it'll be nice and square across the tube.
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Old 11-11-11, 11:13 PM   #20
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Pipe cutters do fine on steel golf club shafts which are chromed. Depends upon how fresh the cutting wheels on the pipe cutter are and the amount of pressure. A longer and slower incremental process and I'd think the pipe cutter would produce a more even and level cut than a hacksaw on a steerer tube ? You could use the pipe cutter to start and define a level cut/groove and then go to the hacksaw to ensure that the cutting stays on that line ?

Just suggestions, I don't have experience cutting steerer tubes on bike forks, but for the golf club shafts I've cut both carbon graphite & steel tips and butt ends. Without a vice it's hard to keep the cut even and level. The hacksaw blade inevitably grabs the material being cut and that becomes more difficult to do. With Carbon Graphite, you can always file it more level, but steel (even aluminum), that's a lot of work and actually the pipe cutter is the only tool of choice for steel golf club shafts. I'd be more inclined to take my time, at least start with a pipe cutter and then if necessary move to a hacksaw. A steerer tube, man that can be a hard piece of steel. And mucking it up could be quite expensive. A steel golf club shaft, that's $ 5-15 depending upon the model of shaft, so push come to shove it's not any big deal to replace if it doesn't come out right and you can always recut it for another length golf club, wood, iron or putter.
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Old 11-22-11, 06:24 PM   #21
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I remember seeing a youtube video with a pipe cutting thing that went in circles around the fork and cut it after a couple of times. I have about 30mm of spacers stacked on top of my fork, and i dont see selling or changing my position on the bike anytime soon, so I wanna get rid of that.
Does anyone know what im talking about and be able to provide pics or a link to what im talking about?
I hope the spacers are above the stem. Otherwise you will be changing your position.
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Old 11-22-11, 08:47 PM   #22
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The tool is called a pipecutter. You'll probably also want a flat file and rattail file to clean up the cut.

I usually use a hacksaw myself, with a piece of tape around the steerer acting as a guide. Miter box if I'm near one.

A-ha, here's a vid:
As the guy in the video states, you won't have a lot of life left in the cutter after doing a few forks. Last week I cut through two steel frames using mine. By the end of it, there wasn't much left on the cutter.

My cutter has removal blades, though I suspect they would be hard to find.

However, it did cut the tubing much better than a hacksaw.
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Old 11-23-11, 08:51 AM   #23
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Pipe cutter for steerer tubes? Not that economical since this http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/RID...506?Pid=search would be the minimum duty tool required for a satisfactory job. They work good- I have one, but I bought it back when it sold for under $50. BTW I don't use it for cutting steerers.
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Old 11-23-11, 09:49 AM   #24
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As a guide you can use a pipe clamp.

Use a NEW blade in the hacksaw and go slowly.

Then a flat file to fix up the cut edge.
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