How to Cut Foam: Slice® Safety Blades vs. Traditional Blades

This video demonstrates how to cut foam easily with the Slice® Manual Industrial Knife. Slice also makes an Auto-Retractable Industrial Knife. Both tools feature Slice’s patent-pending safety blade, which lasts up to 11 times longer than steel. The blade extends up to 3 inches (76 millimeters) to cut thick foam.

It isn’t too challenging to figure out how to cut foam, but the question is: are you cutting foam safely and with the appropriate foam cutter or foam knife?

Before we look at how to cut foam safely, let’s take a closer look at the material.

The Many Faces of Foam

Foam comes in a variety of forms, and different types of foam have different properties. There’s memory foam, which is slow to bounce back after compression; anti-static foam for electrical equipment; and egg-crate foam, which is a go-to for sound dampening.

Some foam is soft, some is dense and moderately firm, and some is downright rigid, like the foam used for yoga blocks, for foam rollers at gyms and inside bicycle helmets. Rigid foam is molded into its final form. Softer foam comes in sheets whose thickness varies. End users and manufacturers alike cut the foam to fit their purposes.

Uses for Soft, Pliable Foam

Soft foam serves two primary functions: cushioning and protection. As a cushioning material, you’ll find foam used for:

  • bed toppers
  • pillows
  • camping pads
  • pet beds
  • gymnastics or acrobatic crash pits

As a protective material, foam is the go-to for lining hard cases like those made by Pelican. It’s also used for packing delicate or fragile materials, or precious objects like glass, artwork, ceramics, and cameras. Foam is also an excellent insulator—it’s commonly used inside walls and to wrap plumbing.

How to Cut Foam Effectively

Given foam’s many uses, it is popular in industrial and manufacturing settings, and in the home.

Whether you want to know how to cut foam sheet pieces, how to cut foam for pelican case cushioning, or how to cut foam cushion pads, you’ll need a foam cutter or foam knife with a blade in good condition. A foam cutter blade needs to cut cleanly. Soft foam rips easily, so a too-dull blade will tear your foam.

Common Tools for Cutting Foam: They’re Dangerous

Many people turn to traditional box cutters, traditional utility knives, and all-purpose knives with longer blades to cut foam. Some people may use a ceramic-blade kitchen knife as a foam cutting knife because the blade is long and the edge is even sharper than new metal blades. We’re not making this up; we’ve known warehouse and retail workers to use butcher knives as all-purpose cutting tools at work—butcher knives!

All of these options are dangerous because those super sharp blades will cut your skin as easily as they cut your foam. The ceramic knife is a kitchen tool, so keep it in the kitchen. Never use a tool for anything other than its intended purpose.

Steel blades come super sharp because they dull quickly; steel is a relatively soft material. Because you need a blade that will cut cleanly and not tear your foam, some suggest using a new blade each time you cut this supple material. But when you handle a blade, it puts you at high risk for lacerations. The fewer times you have to change a blade, the better.

Metal blades also flex. The longer the blade, the more it will bend. With enough pressure, these blades can snap and fly off in unpredictable directions. This is extremely dangerous, especially if you aren’t wearing proper eye protection.

Cutting Foam: For Tools That Are Safer and More Precise, Choose Slice

The goal at Slice is to create safer tools. We do that with our patent-pending safety grind—our finger-friendly® blades are safe to the touch—and ergonomic handles.

Slice blades are made of 100 percent zirconium oxide, an advanced ceramic. Our proprietary blade design, in addition to delivering a safer edge, takes advantage of this material’s hardness: Slice blades have been tested to last up to 11 times longer than steel blades. This means fewer blade changes, which reduces the chance of injuries.

In other words, Slice blades stand apart from all other blades, and not all ceramic blades are the same.

Slice tool handles are made of a high-quality glass-infused nylon. This material is tough, light, and durable.

Slice Foam Cutting Tools

The Manual Industrial Knife and the Auto-Retractable Industrial Knife are two excellent foam cutting tools. Both tools feature a slider button that the user engages to expose the blade. To keep the blade exposed on the auto-retractable model, the user must hold the slider in place. If the user releases the slider, the blade will automatically retract into the handle.

The slider on the manual model fixes the blade in position. The user must re-engage the slider to retract the blade.

The maximum blade depth for both knives is 76 millimeters, or 3 inches, and the manual knife provides three additional fixed-position cutting depths: 6 millimeters, 28 millimeters, and 53 millimeters. The hardness and design of Slice blades ensures that they’ll last longer than metal blades, and they won’t flex.

A durable blade that remains rigid will deliver precise cuts over the long haul. You’ll also get a tool that handles well.

Are you a lefty thinking, Great, I’d love this safe knife, but I bet I won’t be able to use it? Au contraire—Slice industrial knives are ambidextrous. If the edge is oriented for right-handers, remove the blade and flip it around. Bingo! A left-handed tool. Added bonus: no tools are needed to remove or install the blade.

Two blades fit the Slice industrial knives: the rounded-tip industrial blade and the pointed-tip industrial blade. The former provides added safety and is great if you’ll be cutting from the edge of the material. If you need to initiate a cut in the middle of the foam—say you’re cutting foam for pelican case storage of delicate objects—the pointed-tip blade is a better choice. You’ll need precise custom cutouts in your foam, so that your precious cargo will fit snugly.

Whichever Slice industrial knife you choose, you’ll learn how to cut foam safely, precisely, and effectively.