Tube notching, coping, saddling, fitting, and a dozen other terms, are often used to describe a series of cuts to make one tube mate up to another tube without a gap. While there are a dozen terms to describe this process, there are only a few ways to actually create this intersection of metal and doing so with precision can be challenging.
Tool manufacturers claim to offer tools that make notching easier or more efficient, and while there are some fantastically simple (and complicated) tools to do the job, they all lack in one department: setup.
Setting up for a notch is the majority of the time killer. The tube-notching tool might reduce cut time in one way or another during the actual notching process, but how long does it take to line the tube up, set the tooling up, set the correct angle, make the cut, and then clean up? That is the section where most machines fail. Setting up is the biggest killer of notch time.
If you are on a budget, or would like to explore other approaches to tube notching, there is a method of notching that does not require a tube notcher at all. It’s simply known as hand notching, and the beauty of it is the skill itself. Hand notching does require a little bit of finesse, but the more you practice, the better and faster you will become.