Working with Black Iron Pipe: Tips and Basics

Working with black iron pipe is different than working with other piping because it isn't galvanized like other steel pipes, once you know the tips and basics of working with it though, it can be a breeze. 

Common Uses

Black iron pipes were mostly used in homes built before the 1980's to run water and natural and propane gasses, but in newer homes, you will most likely find copper pipe or PVC instead. 

Cutting and Threading Pipe

Unless you are lucky enough to find a piece of pipe exactly the length that you needed, you will need to cut your pipe to the proper length. A rotary bladed pipe cutter works best with cutting oil (the higher quality, the better). File off the rough edges of the cut pipe with a rotary tool and an aluminum oxide grinding stone bit.  

Once the pipe is cut, you will need to thread the end of the pipe so you can connect it. Find a pipe threader with a die of the proper size for the pipe, fit it over the end, and turn to cut the threads in the die.


  • Once your pipes are all connected, test the pipe for leaks before you hang it. Using Teflon tape on the threads before inserting into the fitting helps minimize leaks. 
  • While cutting the threads, occasionally turn back the die to let metal shavings and chips out.
  • The edges of cut pipes and threads can be extremely sharp. Handling them with a thick pair of gloves can prevent cuts.