Have you ever needed to trim a section of carpet bonded foam to length? If so, you are probably familiar with some of the challenges involved in achieving a straight and square result. Using a straight edge, such as a T-square, can give you a straight cut but doesn’t help maintain a perpendicular blade angle which can result in an edges that looks sloped, wavy, and unprofessional.
A better option to a simple straight edge is to build a cutting tool. Anyone can achieve perfectly straight, perpendicular cuts every time with this tool that's simple to build and operate. The tool is constructed out of commercially available materials and takes just a few minutes to assemble. Follow the steps below to create your very own for under $40.
- (2) 8’ section of 1” square, aluminum tubing ($16 ea)
- (2) 1/4” x 2-1/4” bolt ($.30 ea)
- (2) 1/4” Nylock nuts ($.30 ea)
- (4) 1/4 washers ($.10 ea)
- (1) Drill & 5/16” bit
- Align square aluminum tubes next to one another.
- Using a 5/16” bit, Drill through both tubes approximately 1” from the end of the tube. Repeat for other end.
- Bolt each end together with one or two washers on each end placed between the two aluminum tubes. The washers create a thin gap between the two tubes. The gap can be adjusted as needed by adding or removing washers.
Once you have your tool assembled you can practice using it on some scrap material. The gap between the tubes will accommodate razor knifes such as the Tajima LC-650 (recommended). Carefully hold down the cutting tool as you draw your knife through the gap. Always cut away from you and others around you.
After you’ve practiced the mechanics of cutting, you’re ready to trim carpet bonded foam to length. Keep in mind that the tool thickness is 1” from the outer edge of the aluminum to the cut point. Make sure you compensate for that inch when measuring (To cut 42’ tool will be aligned at 41’ 11”). Always maintain the golden ratio of 2-1 for measuring vs. cutting.
This simple tool can save you time on your next install and ensure that you have the straightest, cleanest and most professional looking cuts.
PRO TIP: For longer cuts, such as cutting a 6’ x 42’ into (2) 3’ x 42’ pieces, use two knives leaving one in place through the tool and the cut material then slide the tool down to cut the next 8’.