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Foam Cutting - What Tools and Methods Work Best?

By Edited Nov 28, 2015 0 0

Have you ever tried to cut foam?  In our world today, there are many, many different types of foam of varying thicknesses, and sometimes you've got a home improvement project where you just gotta cut some foam.

I want to share with you what I've found to be the best methods for cutting foam.  I also will share with you the cheapest methods to cutting this substrate, as that's important too!  Obviously, we'd all love to have machine-shop grade tools in our garages, but that just isn't practical!

The Best Ways to Cut Foam Yourself

Soft Foams

Memory foam mattresses, packaging and insulation all qualify as soft foam materials, and are the hardest to saw.  These materials require the most patience and though in order to get a nice. clean edge.

The best way to slice this stuff is with a carpet knife and 2 pieces of plywood, minium 1/2".  The wood should be the at minimum the length of the cut you're going to make, and then at least 18" wide.  You'll also want some bricks or sandbags to keep the material from moving while you cut it.

You want to sit the material down on top of one piece of the wood, and use the other piece to set a straight edge that will guide your knife blade.  Then, weigh down the top piece of wood with the bricks or sandbags to keep the foam from moving.  Use your carpet knife in a nice, easy but quick sawing motion to get through the material completely.  This method will give you a nice edge with just a little practice!

If you have the facilities, or the weather, you can freeze soft foam in order to make it harder, and therefore easier to cut!

Medium and High Density Foam Materials

The good news about medium and high density foams is that they are way easier to cut than soft pieces.  These are materials such as road case foam, flexible foam board, upholstery foam and still foam boards.

Cut Foam
You'll still want your plywood to cut this stuff, but you'll now you have your choice of cutting implements.  While you can use your carpet knife, a hacksaw with fine-toothed bi-metal blade, sawzall, or a band saw works much better.  Of course, most of use don't have a band saw in our garage, though it works best!

For medium-density media, you want to sandwhich your material between your plywood boards again, but this time you don't want any plywood underneath the cutting blade.  Still, use the wood as a straight edged guide.  You don't even need a guide or wood support for high density foam.

The great news about medium/high density materials is that you can also use a saw or knife to cut intricate details and shapes, which is not easily possible with a softer materials.

Remember, every piece of foam is a little different, so don't be afraid to try new ideas.  If something works out well for you, let us know in the comments!

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