The typical hand threader consists of a large rotating tool with a hole in the head for the die. To use it, the user clamps the pipe in place, measures it to select the right die, and fits the die into the threader. The operator also needs to cut away any burrs and impurities in the pipe to make sure it will fit cleanly. Once this is done, the hand threader can be fitted to the end of the pipe and rotated to cut the threads. Considerable force may be required with heavy materials.
Threaders cut a series of fine lines into the end of a pipe. These allow users to connect pipes by screwing the threaded end into a component with matching internal threads. One occasion to use a hand threader is in a project where pipes must be cut to custom lengths. The operator can cut pipe to the right length and thread each end as needed. Hand threaders are also used in the custom fabrication of piping products, where a mechanical threader may not be cost effective or available.
Some hand threader designs are relatively lightweight and useful for home improvement projects or applications where they are not routinely used. Various interchangeable dies allow operators to choose between different diameters and threading designs.