Fitting Nursery Pots

Mike423

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Hey everyone, got a question concerning plastic nursery pots. How do you cut them down to the desired depth? I tried one but wasn't sure what type of cutting utensil was best for the job. Since it was a bigger size plastic nursery pot (thicker walls), every time I made a cut it just made a random cracking in the direction of the cut. Any advice or tips on how this is done?

Funny how something you would figure to be strait forward can turn out to have a little science to it.

-Mike
 

mcpesq817

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You can buy "squat pots", which are nursery pots with a lower height. Also, if you have bigger trees, you can buy Anderson flats, which are approximately 15"x15"x5" if I remember correctly.
 

jk_lewis

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This'll take care of any nursery pot -- even one of those 30 gallon jobs. It's your hands that may get tired.
 

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Jason

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I like Anderson flats but in a pinch tin shears (tin snips) work great....and your hand shouldn't get that tired.
 

kevin

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As an instructor in a wood studio, I cringe when ever someone recommends anything as dangerous as using a table saw to cut a round plastic pot- you won't be able to pinch buds without your fingers!
Hand tools are always the safer option for something as awkward as this, try a metal hacksaw.
 

woodguy

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As an instructor in a wood studio, I cringe when ever someone recommends anything as dangerous as using a table saw to cut a round plastic pot- you won't be able to pinch buds without your fingers!
Hand tools are always the safer option for something as awkward as this, try a metal hacksaw.


I'm with you. Avoid the table saw. I've used a jig saw when the walls where really thick. Like those faux terracotta patio pots.
 
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As an instructor in a wood studio, I cringe when ever someone recommends anything as dangerous as using a table saw to cut a round plastic pot- you won't be able to pinch buds without your fingers!
Hand tools are always the safer option for something as awkward as this, try a metal hacksaw.

With proper precautions, it isn't as dangerous as you make it sound.
 

milehigh_7

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Only one way to do it properly. This is the single greatest tool known to man.


 

GerhardG

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Hi Mike

I've done this many times for the lack of anything better, used a combination of a small hacksaw and a utility knife - yes I've nicked myself a few times.

I bought two last week, dropped them on my way to the car and one cracked - good way to know they spent too much time in the sun at the nursery - I know already they'll be difficult to chop.

BTW, the best pot I've made this way was during an emergency and all I had was a discarded top part of a plastic pot.
I marked the depth I wanted and made vertical cuts (about 7cm, 2" or 3" apart)from that point down to the previously cut rim.
Softened the edge by heating them with a lighter and folded the flaps inwards overlapping eachother.
The big hole in the middle I covered with mesh, and there's a very happy Elm living in it.

Cheers
Gerhard
 

woodguy

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With proper precautions, it isn't as dangerous as you make it sound.

Sure with the proper precautions you could make it less dangerous to do this on a table saw. By the time you get that set up though, you would already be done if you had gone with a hand saw or jigsaw. Most people wouldn't know how to take the proper precautions though some of them might have a table saw in the garage. So to suggest that someone cut a round, potentially tapered, object that may also have a lip to complicate things on a table saw is actually pretty dangerous.
 
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If you are arguing time, I think I would disagree. If you only have to cut one of them, I wouldn't break out the table saw. Not really worth it. If you have to cut 10-1000 of them, WELL worth your time to use the table saw. If you think it's more time efficient using a hack saw on 100 pots, I'll gladly go an old fashioned "Paul Bunyan" showdown with you, lol.

If you don't know how to take the proper precautions, you probably don't own a table saw. And if you do, you shouldn't be going near it.

A table saw in the wrong hands can be very dangerous, regardless of what you are cutting. Just like a gun. But when used properly, you can cut almost anything, and it can be quite safe.

To assume that you shouldn't ever use it is absurd. If you PERSONALLY don't feel comfortable, or don't know how to use it properly, stay away or ask for some help. But placing a GLOBAL ban on the issue is a bit of overkill.
 

woodguy

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If you don't know how to take the proper precautions, you probably don't own a table saw. And if you do, you shouldn't be going near it.

A table saw in the wrong hands can be very dangerous, regardless of what you are cutting. Just like a gun. But when used properly, you can cut almost anything, and it can be quite safe.

To assume that you shouldn't ever use it is absurd. If you PERSONALLY don't feel comfortable, or don't know how to use it properly, stay away or ask for some help. But placing a GLOBAL ban on the issue is a bit of overkill.

You might think that, but many a homeowner has a contractors table saw in their garage, and no most don't know how to properly use it. Not to mention that cutting round plastic pots is far from using it properly. No one is putting a "global ban" on using a table saw, but to just say "use a table saw" without any further instruction on proper precautions IS dangerous. I am a professional woodworker and have been for the past twenty years. I use table saws everyday and would not use one to cut down pots even if I had to cut down a 100. That's just a hundred chances for the pot to flex and bind in the blade. Not worth it. I know quite a few other pros who have less than ten digits because they under estimated the table saw and did things they shouldn't have.

I still maintain that jig saw is a much better and safer way to handle this.
 

Jason

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Just to be argumentative.....tin snips. I've never seen anyone cut their fingers off with a tin snips.:D
 
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This is a very large side note, I'm sorry for even taking it this far, lol, but are you a fan of mythbusters Woodguy? I havn't seen their episodes in about two years (too busy) but loved watching their show.

One episode they were making a "duct tape cannon." They made thick strips of duct tape, a few inches thick, and then ran that through a table saw. I don't know how that saw survived :) Even that made me uncomfortable.
 

Bill S

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''You might think that, but many a homeowner has a contractors table saw in their garage, and no most don't know how to properly use it. Not to mention that cutting round plastic pots is far from using it properly. No one is putting a "global ban" on using a table saw, but to just say "use a table saw" without any further instruction on proper precautions IS dangerous. I am a professional woodworker and have been for the past twenty years. I use table saws everyday and would not use one to cut down pots even if I had to cut down a 100. That's just a hundred chances for the pot to flex and bind in the blade. Not worth it. I know quite a few other pros who have less than ten digits because they under estimated the table saw and did things they shouldn't have."

I have to agree with this whole heartedly, to do this properly you would need a jig inside the pot, and have it held well, this is just asking for trouble. I agree as well, 100 is 100 chances to loose flesh.

I think they call them aircraft snips would work well. Why not get the size needed, or fill the bottom with large drainage materials to make the pot less deep ( not necessarrily the best I know), if you need these by the hundreds better to buy them by the hundreds of the correct size.

Seeing it on television doesn't make it ok. Don't try these tricks at home, professional stunt guys at work.
 
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rock

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If the plastic is too thick for a utility knife, I'd run it through a table saw.
Im with SpecK, here I think utility knife is way more dangerous than Tablesaw.
I've cut many hundreds of pots this way.

So. Set your blade only high enough to get thru the wall, hang on tight, use a sharp blade, make sure pots are clean, don't force feed, easy and repeatable.

You get a nice clean and straight edge no sharp jags like most other ways.

Ive also had good luck with using the top half by cutting disks of ply and stapling them in the bottom, then using a bead of high adhesive caulk to give a little extra. They last three seasons, and most bonsai people covet them like sugar. go for it
-R
ps. 30 year woodworker, all fingers...worst injury--utility knife
:rolleyes:
 

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