Author Topic: Cutting On Foam  (Read 2679 times)

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Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2747
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Cutting On Foam
« on: October 27, 2019, 11:49 AM »
I’m going to be breaking down some 4x8 Baltic birch 3/4” plywood. It’s too heavy to take to my shop so Id like to do the cutting in my garage.

I’ve read about laying the plywood on foam but I am curious if there is a special type of foam to buy.
Birdhunter

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Offline Pompeio

  • Posts: 56
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2019, 12:18 PM »
I use a 4’ x 8’ piece of 2” thick rigid foam Foamular by Owens Corning that I purchased from Home Depot.  I then cut it into two 4’ x4’ pieces to make it easier to store against the wall.

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6132
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2019, 12:39 PM »
You want extruded not expanded foam board. The edge of the extruded looks like a solid piece, expanded looks like little balls.

Foamular is my go to also.

Tom

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1073
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2019, 12:41 PM »
Any kind of the extruded foam works best. Pink or blue whatever your favorite home center carries. Stay away from the white styrofoam boards made with beads pressed together. It works but is messier and less robust.

Ron

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 547
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2019, 12:46 PM »
You want extruded not expanded foam board. The edge of the extruded looks like a solid piece, expanded looks like little balls.

Foamular is my go to also.

Tom

True this.  I found out the hard way  [embarassed]

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 6192
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2019, 01:33 PM »
I don't like to cut on foam at all, too messy, and too big to store. I always use some scrap wood instead. 4 narrow pieces under a full size board.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6627
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2019, 01:48 PM »
A sheet of Foamular cut into 3 each 32" x 48" sections. Easy to store and easy to use on the ground if needed. Rather than setting up a table, I'll throw a section on the ground for small items.



In the summer I'll use a single section of the foam to cut on this teak table.


Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 969
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2019, 01:49 PM »
I was in the same situation last year, I found the price of a foam sheet to be excessive. A 4' x 8' 1"1/2 is ~53$ taxes inc foam

Here some alternative to replace foam

Since I carry the sheet goods with my trailer, I had to get an easy way to safely get it to home. I built those braces from 2"x3"

I setup a single sheet and work from the trailer edge. So far it has been the easiest way to do the job.

When it's too ugly to do it outside I use the L.V. setup
Mario

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2747
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2019, 02:39 PM »
All great info. Thanks.
Birdhunter

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6132
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2019, 02:57 PM »
I don't like to cut on foam at all, too messy, and too big to store. I always use some scrap wood instead. 4 narrow pieces under a full size board.

I've only experiance a decrease in the mess. Dust collection is better when cutting on foam.

Size and storage are relative, I've never had an issue with either. You could store the foam outside if necessary.

Tom

Offline clark_fork

  • Posts: 280
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2019, 06:05 PM »
When the L. V. System came out, I switched away from foam.

I now have superior clamping options. Clamping on foam is awkward requiring a backer board  Glue up clamping is much easier with the L. V. System

I now have a level surface and no longer deal with sagging.

L.V provides a storage bag for the cross pieces so storage is much more convenient.

The L.V. System creates storage space underneath so squares, tapes, etc  no longer clutter the cutting surface.

Spacing is flexible and I have spaced one cross piece making  small panel ripping easier.

Lastly, one time my foam kited across the yard when a cold front wind blew in. The L.V. System will not likely go airborne
End Shot

Ripping Spacing

Long Shot.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2019, 06:09 PM by clark_fork »
Clark Fork

"A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths."  Stephen Wright

"straight, smooth and square" Mr. Russell, first day high school shop class-1954

" What's the good of it?" My Sainted Grandmother

"You can't be too rich, too thin or have too many clamps." After my introduction to pocket joinery and now the MFT work process

"Don't make something unless it is both made necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful,
don't hesitate to make it beautiful." -- Shaker dictum

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 547
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2019, 06:43 PM »
I have moved away from foam partly because I used the expanded foam which was too thin and kept breaking which created a mess.  Secondly, my shop space doesn't allow for storage very well even when cut into sections.

I use the Lee valley system and like it very much.  As others have pointed out, it does reduce dust collection efficiency as seen in the pics below.  Some of the dust was due to ripping a clean edge on the sheet goods, but I do have to vacuum up more residual dust than when I used foam.




Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6132
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2019, 06:54 PM »
As you can see from my attached photos, my cut station was built with foam in mind.

It breaks down and sets up in a few minutes. Rail and tool storage are built into it.

We process a couple hundered sheets a month, this is by far the best system for us.

Tried a sliding table saw, such an epic fail.

Tom

Offline Mike Goetzke

  • Posts: 399
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2019, 10:10 AM »
Just another option - look at post #9 of https://www.festoolownersgroup.com/festool-how-to/track-saw-setup/msg567732/#msg567732 .

The orange pyramids have a threaded insert that a peg screws into. The peg goes into your table top dog holes. Uses 1x lumber.

Offline Scott in Bend

  • Posts: 239
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2019, 11:30 AM »
Mike,  What is a source for the orange pyramids?

Offline GarryMartin

  • Posts: 1816
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2019, 12:10 PM »
Mike,  What is a source for the orange pyramids?

Veritas Panel Platform Kit
http://www.veritastools.com/Products/Page.aspx?p=835

Available from various places; definitely Lee Valley and Axminister Tools.

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 969
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2019, 01:12 PM »
Paltform Kit: Veritas Platform Kit
Saddles only: Veritas Saddles

There is three different options;
1) Saddles only for 1"x 3" or 2" x 4"
2) Saddles & bag (lumber dimension is not provided but my guess is on the 1" x 3")
3) Saddles +bag + lumber (again no details on dimension)
Mario

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1073
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2019, 02:31 PM »
The pyramid supports that the folks were asking Mike about are Eurasia Zone EZsmart pyramids. Here’s a link:

https://www.eurekazone.com/product-p/ezspk4pk.htm

Ron
« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 06:04 PM by rvieceli »

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2747
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2019, 05:01 PM »
My Home Depot had 2’ x 2’ pieces of 1” Foamular so I bought 6. The attraction is that I can slide the 4’ x 8’ plywood sheets onto the foam and not have to lift them onto a cutting platform.

I plan to use a TS55 on joined tracks to do the cutting.
Birdhunter

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1073
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2019, 06:07 PM »
@Birdhunter check and recheck your depth of cut when you cutting on foam on the floor. Don’t ask why I’m so concerned about this part of the process.  [sad]

Ron

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2747
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2019, 06:37 PM »
Got it. I’ve made my share of “oops” errors.

Just replaced the blade on my Kapex. Darn blade wouldn’t cut balsa. Guess why.
Birdhunter

Offline JMcFly

  • Posts: 24
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2019, 09:17 PM »

Offline jeffinsgf

  • Retailer
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  • Posts: 152
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2019, 09:53 AM »
The thing I like about cutting on foam is that the cut piece has zero chance of tipping or falling when the cut finishes. I always make a "foam sandwich". Full sheet of ply or MDF on the bottom, 1-inch foam in the middle and the sheet to be cut on top. It clamps firm and lays flat. I sympathize with those with tight storage. I've been there in the past.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6627
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2019, 10:16 AM »
I like the use of dominos here......

Thanks...If you decide to go that route, make sure you use caulk made for foam board to retain them. I think it's PL 300.

Offline 08G8V8

  • Posts: 38
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2019, 10:30 AM »
I am new to woodworking and recently bought a Makita saw and tracks and a sheet of 2" foam from HomeDepot and cut it in half for breaking down sheets.  They are harder to store.

I like the idea of the Lee Valley Veritas system, but the question I have is I thought the benefit of the foam or sacrificial sheet was to prevent breakout on the bottom side of the cut.  Is this not an issue when using the Veritas system?

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 969
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2019, 10:46 AM »
 [welcome] to the FOG

I like the idea of the Lee Valley Veritas system, but the question I have is I thought the benefit of the foam or sacrificial sheet was to prevent breakout on the bottom side of the cut.  Is this not an issue when using the Veritas system?

Yes, the foam will prevent some tearout. The foam also provide a better capture of the sawdust. The advantage of the L.V. system is that it takes virtually no room to store, easy to setup in any environment.

The combination of a track saw and a well sharpened & clean blade will reduce considerably tearout. for example ripping a sheet goods in piece with a gummy crosscut blade, will result in a maximum (Keep in mind everything is relative) tearout  [crying].
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 11:04 AM by Mario Turcot »
Mario

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4318
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2019, 10:50 AM »
Tearout on the bottom seldom occurs because the teeth are pushing against the wood, the opposite of how the teeth interact with the top of the wood.

The main benefit of cutting on foam or any other full contact sacrificial surface is that the vacuum “circuit” remains closed so dust collection is greatly improved compared to cutting on intermittent risers supporting the work.

Offline 08G8V8

  • Posts: 38
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2019, 11:01 AM »
Thanks for the replys....I am going to order a Veritas support set.

Offline RussellS

  • Posts: 278
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2019, 03:50 PM »
I have moved away from foam ...  Secondly, my shop space doesn't allow for storage very well even when cut into sections.

I use the Lee valley system and like it very much.

Where do you store those folding tables the Lee Valley grid system sits on?  You wrote you don't have enough shop space to store a sheet of foam, yet you have enough shop/garage space to store two folding tables?  Seems to me you cold just put the foam sheet alongside the tables.

Offline jarbroen

  • Posts: 169
Re: Cutting On Foam
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2019, 10:58 AM »
Another pink panther foam user here. :)
First time I started using foam I didn't have any Festool(s).  I used the 2" 48"x96" on the floor of my garage and my terdy old $40 Skillsaw.  Worked fairly well as a surface for chopping up a sheet of plywood.

I've upgraded since then(tool by tool) and use a 1" pink panther foam cut into sections to fit MFT's. 
I have 1 MFT with CMS-VL and I use 2 foam pieces at 16"x64".  Then I have two shorties at 16"x32" if I want to make an 8' long surface with two tables running lengthwise.
With the smaller pieces I can make my cutting surface fit the work.  Sometimes I just have small pieces to whittle down, other times I'm cutting a full sheet.
With the 32" wide (total) foam surface I can also use rail clamps on the MFT profiles.  If I did a full 48" I'd just be clamping to foam.
Also, the smaller pieces make it easier to stick them in a corner somewhere.
I know, you guys all fell asleep 3 or 4 sentences ago... lol

I think the versatility and flexibility of the MFT is awesome.