Polyurethane Cutting Tools

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Polyurethane is a material created by chemically combining a diisocyanate, two monomers and a diol. This material produces very hard substances like fiberglass or very soft substances like upholstery foam. The tools you need to use depend on the type of substance you need to cut, but you can purchase all of these tools from your local home improvement, hardware or upholstery store.

Pipe/Sheets

  • For polyurethane pipe and sheets, you need to use a band saw. A band saw is a type of table saw which has a blade that continuously moves up and down. Teeth are located on one side of the blade, and you operate this tool similar to a sewing machine. Raise the blade as high as possible, and place your material on the table section of the saw. Start the machine, and feed the material either vertically or horizontally. For sheets, employ a helper to move the sheets across the machine. Always wear goggles and safety gloves when operating a band saw.

Foam Knife

  • To cut upholstery or other types of polyurethane foam, you can use a simple electric knife, commonly known as a turkey carver. These are hand tools that have a fast-moving blade that travels in a backwards and forwards movement. Hold the foam down; tie it in place if you won’t stay still. Measure out how much you need to cut off, and create a cutting line using a marker. Keep the blade as close to the cutting line as possible and make your cut. This method often makes a jagged cut. For a cleaner, but more labor intensive, method use a utility knife with a sharp, retractable blade. Use the same procedures as the electric knife for making cuts with a utility knife.

Hot Wire Cutter

  • You can also use a hot wire foam cutter for making cuts to polyurethane foam. This tool features a taut, usually stainless steel wire, and the wire is heated using electrical resistance. The wire is often as hot as 392 degrees Fahrenheit. As you move the wire through the foam, the heat disintegrates the material, creating a clean cut. For thicker foam, use thicker wire.

Crown Molding

  • Crown molding is a type of molding that usually coves the seam between the ceiling and the wall. Crown molding is often made of wood or polyurethane, but you use the same tools for both. To cut crown molding, use a compound miter saw, which is a type of table saw that features two blades that can move in different directions, including side to side, up and down and angled. This allows you to make straight or angled cuts on the molding. Anchor your molding in place using a C-clamp, and mark your cuts. Lower the saw over the cutting line to cut off excess molding.

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