Vertical Foam Panels - Breaking Down Sheet Goods

Elroy Skimms

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I've seen it around how some people like to use thick foam on the shop/garage floor as a backer for breaking down sheet goods. I'll be picking up a track saw this week and resurrected an old SketchUp file I made a couple of years ago. It's a cart for storing sheet goods and the back side of the cart has a surface made with foam and framed in wood. The wood frame would allow me to clamp the track in place, and to prevent the top section of the sheet from sliding down into the blade on a horizontal cut. I would also be able to quickly drill holes as needed in the middle area if I need to throw on a Quick-Clamp when breaking down something that doesn't quite reach the edge.

Sheet Cart v2.5.jpg

For me, vertical space is plentiful, horizontal space is not. I don't always have a 4x8 section of floor space that I can use but I already have a sheet cart. I've never used foam padding, so I thought I'd throw this out there and see if anyone saw any problems with it.

Am I missing something?


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10 minutes ago, C Shaffer said:

Track saws are anti skid, but you will need to hold the track at that angle. 

The track would be clamped down as well, I forgot to mention that in the post. I went back and edited the post to reflect it.


7 minutes ago, pkinneb said:

I cut mine on my driveway using a 4x8 2" thick piece of foam. I would think using a TS55 in the horizontal or vertical position would be really uncomfortable/unnatural. 

I had not thought of the saw being designed to be operated horizontally. When I go to Woodcraft and demo it, I'll see how it feels and how it operates in a vertical and horizontal track.


5 minutes ago, Woodenskye said:

I would see if there was a way to hinge that so when you need to cut it will be horizontal, but stored vertically. 

Funny you mention that. I designed a panel loader for this very purpose a couple of years ago. I even laser cut a scale model out of 1/8" Baltic Birch to test the design. The model worked well, but in the end, I never did anything with the panel and this was shelved.

Horizontal Vertical Panel Surface.jpg

My concern is still space though. Operating horizontally would still require 4x8 of clear space. But the pulley system raises above the ground so I could set it to float above my table saw and assembly stations. If I find vertical orientation of the TS 55 to be a problem, this pulley setup might make a comeback.


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The only "track" saws I have seen in a vertical situation have been mounted on linear bearings. The saw can rotate 90 degrees on the guide allowing vertical and horizontal cuts. These saws are a permanent fixture to the guides. I would be very concerned as to the safety of using a conventional track saw in the manner you mention.

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7 minutes ago, Southwood said:

Odd, I just ordered a Centipede sawhorse for this very purpose. Figure I can set it up, make the break down cuts and put it away. Like TIODS, I don't keep anymore than I need. 

I don't keep extra stock in the garage either, but if I have 10 sheets for a job, they gotta go somewhere while I am working. I have plenty of sawhorses and stands available to me. The problem is finding a 4x8 space to set them up.

If the weather cooperates this weekend, I'm going to give this a whirl and see how it goes. If things go badly, that's why I have disability insurance!


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Without a method to capture the saw for the length of the cut I would use one vertically only when absolutely necessary.  The effort to setup and control the saw would seem to outweigh the temporary location of the material and the benefits of gravity for the task at hand.  None of us have seen your particular environment so you would have to decide if the rack and vertical dance were better for you than a couple-a-three  temporary folding stands.

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