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Thread: Cutting polysio foam insulation with a track saw

  1. #1
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    Cutting polysio foam insulation with a track saw

    Wondering if anyone has tried using a tracksaw to cut polyisocyanurate insulation. Did the chips clog up the dust port. Did the track slip on the foil facing? Seems like such a plan may be easier then using the tablesaw.
    I do not own a tracksaw so I will use a skilsaw and a 2x4. It will be hard to clamp. Probably need wood on both sides so as not to crush the foam and allow the guide board to move around.
    Bill D

  2. #2
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    I do not own a track saw. I suspect that the first cut will probably work okay, but after that the little bits of foam dust may start to cling to the track and make it tend to slide on the surface. I've had good luck cutting foam on my table saw using an older thin kerf ripping blade. You will get plastic melting onto the sides of the blade so don't use your best blades.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 07-26-2021 at 8:23 AM.
    Lee Schierer
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  3. #3
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    I would try a utility knife if it's 1" or 1.5", or a hand saw might work too if it's thicker. When I was a kid we lived in a passive solar house and had inside shutters made of that material that we put in the windows at night in the winter to keep the heat in. I remember my parents using a cheap hand crosscut saw to cut it, and the saw moved through the panel very fast and easily, and without any melting or other issues. I think they would back cut the last inch or two before starting the main cut so as to avoid chipping at the corner when the cut was completed.

  4. #4
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    I've cut quite a bit with a circular saw and Japanese saws. It cuts so easily that there's no melting.

  5. #5
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    If possible, the pink stuff is much nicer to work with. I use the pink ridged foam under whatever Iím cutting with my tracksaw to prevent cutting my workbench. Cuts it cleanly, no clogging issues.

  6. #6
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    I use a serrated blade steak knife that Outback somehow managed to sneak into my car one time when I ate there.
    (I keep it in the drawer right next to the crab fork from Red Lobster that somehow managed to follow me home.)
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  7. #7
    I know where I live, contractors use an abrasive metal cutting blade for vinyl. It may work the same for foam, I don't know for sure but it might be worth a try.

  8. #8
    If that's the foam insulation board, don't rule out an electric carving knife. I've cut some boards before that way and it worked out just fine.

  9. #9
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    I've cut lots of rigid foam of all types with my tracksaw. Clean cuts and since I use a vacuum with it, very little foam dust escapes. Doesn't clog the hose or build up on the blade. I never bother to clamp the track but if for some reason you needed a cut to be perfect, you certainly could. If you're just using a 2x as a guide, then you will want to clamp it. If you use quick clamps, they won't dent the bottom of the foam unless you really overdo it.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  10. #10
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    A track saw works great for polyiso. It's all I use to cut the stuff now.

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    Last edited by Jared Sankovich; 07-26-2021 at 12:45 PM.

  11. #11
    I use my track saw with an old blade to cut drywall. Not sure I've ever tried it on foam board but I'm not surprised others report favorable results. It's a versatile tool.

  12. #12
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    I've always cut it with a sharp knife and straight edge. It cuts really easily.
    Last edited by scott lipscomb; 07-26-2021 at 11:52 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by scott lipscomb View Post
    I've always cut it with a sharp knife and straight edge. It cuts really easily.
    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Well for me it's a fillet knife. A track saw seems like a lot of unnecessary effort, though I have used a table saw when cutting dozens of sheets in the shop.

  14. #14
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    I think there's merit in using a track or guided saw for cutting a quantity of this material and I'd consider it if I was going to be in that situation. Yes, a table saw can also be used, but a lot of times when folks are using a quantity of the foam insulation, it's more of an "on-site'" thing before the table saw moves in I would think. But that's an assumption that isn't necessarily valid. For a small amount...I'd also pull out a knife of some sort...even an old, cheap steak knife. (I actually have one of those in my tool chest)
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
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    People are right this is to insulate the roof of the garage before the saw is in the way. I would like nice clean cuts since it will be seen from below. Just was not sure if polyiso was as easy to cut as styrofoam. I understand a hot knife will not do much unlike styrofoam. I suppose I could use aluminum tape on the edges to hide everything.
    Bill D

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