2008-12-20

PVC fittings for furniture

Almost from the day PVC pipe became available, people have used it for stuff other than plumbing.

Lightweight, strong, inexpensive, amenable to home machining with just a small expenditure in tools, generations have made shelving, play structures, chairs, desks, etc. using this material.

For a long time there was one major drawback, the fittings available were only those of use to the plumbing industry, many of use to the non-plumbing trade just didn't exist, so folks would either have to bore out the innards of plumbing fittings, in the case of slip-tees, or use PVC glue to manufacture the fittings they needed for the project at hand.

Then some in the plastics industry realized that there was a large enough market to justify manufacturing fittings for non-plumbing use, fittings which while structurally strong and useful actually violate plumbing codes, such as the 5-way cross with all five openings the same size.

Two different approaches were tried, the first was to create entirely proprietary fittings and pipe, not matching any industry standard sizing, this done by firms begun as new ventures who tooled up from scratch, the second being to retool slightly and produce new fitting styles for industry standard sizing, allowing existing firms to expand into a new market. Those expanding into a new market have focused mainly on 1-1/4", with some fittings also designed for 1" & 1-1/2" pipe.

Recently a third approach has surfaced, of creating PVC fittings of various styles sized for 3/4" copper pipe. This intrigues me.

Searching for 'PVC furniture' with or without 'fittings' will pull up a number of sources for fittings and pipe; the nicest selection of fittings I've come across is provided by my perennial favourite, United States Plastic; indeed, this is how I first became aware of the firm, looking for fittings useful for making pet agility equipment.

Normally I'd try to include pictures of fittings and examples of use, but posting this was a result of enthusiasm and low blood sugar, and the blood sugar has hit rock bottom, so I'm off to get food.

So this is a wimpy post. Oh well.

john, stop editing and revising and go feed yourself, right now! silly human, food is necessary for proper thought and functioning, and stop typing right now

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