Copper Pipe Stub Removal

Just had the house re-plumbed with PEX because of acidic water erosion. The plumbers cut off and left the old copper pipe stubs protruding about an inch from the drywall behind toilets and sinks. A much larger hole would have to be made in the drywall in order to amputate these with a mini tube cutter behind the drywall prior to patching the drywall. Internal pipe cutters that I've seen are too large for 1/2 inch copper. Google search didn't turn up anything readily.
Is there a better way ? Surely I'm not the first to encounter this problem.
David Merrill
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David Merrill wrote:

You've got a couple holes to patch, anyway...I'd just cut a even section out, cut the pipe off and then replace the patch. If you don't get the pipes out of the hole it would be hard to keep the patch from cracking around them anyway.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Too bad you can't just torch the ends of the stubs and get them hot enough to melt the solder where they go into in elbows which are probably located just behind the drywall. Then you could twist them out with Vise-Grips while the solder was molten.
The risk of starting fire to something flammable inside the wall is too great for me to suggest doing that, so don't try it.
But, maybe a BMF electric soldering iron with an extra long tip in it just fitting the id of 1/2" copper??? Nah, also too risky.
Sorry I couldn't help,
Jeff
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Nooooooooo, don't even think about it.
Recently had to replace a section of tubing with a hole. Unsweating the exposed end caused enough heat blasting through the 1/8" hole on the other end to start the stud on fire. It ran right up the wall to the firestop. Caught it quick but the potential was there for a serious house fire.
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David Merrill wrote:

1. Dremel MotoTool and saw blade bit small enough to fit inside pipe. or 2. Grab pipe with needle nose Vise Grips and point torch down center of pipe, keep pulling on pliers till heat softens solder. If your house catches fire doing this I'm not the person giving you this advice :-) Dave
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the yard, and cut out a few 16" (or whatever your stud spacing is) by 12" patches. Cut out the old drywall the same size, cut off or hammer over the abandoned pipes, and nail/tape/mud/paint your patches. You have already spent more time researching this than the repair would have taken. The square nailed patch will blend in much better than mudded-over holes ever would.
Please don't take this as a flame, it really isn't. I know how easy it is to get caught up in trying to find the 'easy' way to do something, when doing it the traditional way is really easier.
aem sends...
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On Fri, 13 May 2005 23:32:23 GMT, "ameijers"

I disagree. The dreml tool suggestion is the answer.
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What goes through my mind. You say there is a stub of copper. But, what's the vertical pipe in the wall? Is the rest of the pipe galv, or what? Seems as though that needs to be answered.
I presume you think the short section of copper might corrode and leak?
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if i understand this thread correctly there should be no water being fed to this stub
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No water concerns; just want to get rid of the protruding stubs before patching the drywall holes. Could care less about the tubing remnant left inside the wall.
I tried the Dremel tool approach using one of Harbor Freight's diamond cutting discs, http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber1501. I wasn't optimistic, given copper's galling characteristics, but it worked like a charm, no copper plating on the disc at all, worked beest at the highest rpm. Just gripped the stub with a needle nose pliers to steady it and pull it as far out as the remnant of vertical riser tube would permit. Two cautions: 1) wear a dust mask and goggles, as the cutter throws a surprising amount of gypsum dust when, not if, you slip and contact the surrounding drywall and 2) be very careful not to slip badly enough to damage the new water line or fitting with the cutting disc. Finally, push the tubing remnant back into the hole far enough to be below the surface of the drywall compound patch.
Plan B was to use a 3-inch hole saw on an 18-inch extension from a half-inch electric drill to cut an eccentric hole in the drywall for hand access (I have fairly small hands). Then reach inside the wall with a mini tubing cutter to cut the pipe. Didn't try it since I prefer patching small drywall holes to patching large ones (less obvious and you can put off the repainting).
Thanks to all who responded. Though I was really hoping to unearth some, possible obscure, specialized plumbing tool designed for the purpose. Might be a niche market for some enterprising inventor/manufacturer; even if it doesn't incorporate a slip-joint :-)
Thanks, David Merrill
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David-
The Dremel is a good way to go
OR
get a countersink that is large enough to consume the copper tube, chew it back into the wall until you're satisfied
OR
a large rotary burr in a die grinder
OR
slit the tube in a couple places with a hack saw blade & then using a hammer & small chisel, fold the tube wall back into itself.
Cheers Bob
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How about this-
With a Sawzall, cut through the drywall and into the old copper pipe above and below the stub and it will fall into the wall cavity (or you can pull it out). You'll only have the stub's hole and two sawcut lines to patch.
--
charles

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