Can I cut hard neoprene rubber with a table saw?

I have a sheet of 1/2" hard neoprene rubber I need to cut up. Can I do this on a table saw? What kind of blade should I use. Can I use a 1/8" carbide tipped blade?

If not, could I use a jig saw?

I don’t think I would try this with a table saw. It seems like a good case of 'if it goes wrong, it’ll go really wrong." I’d be worried that the table saw will catch the rubber and attempt to pull it under the table which will cause all sorts of problems up to an including pulling your hands towards the blade.

OTOH, if it’s not flexible enough to bend and you use a hacksaw like blade, you might be okay.

I would think so.
I’d use a “zero clearance” throat plate. You can make one by clamping a piece of plywood to the table and raising the saw into it. Cut it slowly and make sure it doesn’t bind.

I’ve cut a big block of HDPE this way, and it worked fine.

One last thought.

I’ve never attempted to cut neoprene, but with some rubbers/plastics, if you cut them with a standard jigsaw, you sometimes need another person to keep it separated behind the blade or it’ll just melt back together. Some jigsaws have an attachment to do keep the two parts separated long enough for them to cool (but I assume it only works when you cut in a straight line).

a table saw cuts and chips away material, rubber may not cut well that way.

a jig saw has a thinner blade. blades can be had with very fine or no serrations (this would cut like a knife).

I’d consider placing it between two piece of wood/cheap plywood while trying to cut it. Heck you might want to use some contact cement and make it a one piece sandwich before you cut it.

Yes. You need a fine tooth blade. I use one made for plexi-glass on all sorts of plastics. Lubricate the blade and the material as it’s cut. Move the piece forward and back to keep from overheating it. It helps if you put the plastic in the freezer overnight it will cut cleaner without much melting.

a slower speed where the blade will throw the chip away works better with plastics.

similar for a rotary tool and cutoff wheel.

slower speed lets the plastic get taken away and lessens the friction which heats the plastic above the melting point.

I have cut Neoprene with a table saw many times. We use pieces of the stuff in road cases as padding and spacers. It takes two people one to push one to pull, trick is to go very slow. I always use a pusher stick when the fingers get close, be careful. The cutoff piece tends to fly


Thanks for the answers. A table saw would be best. I’ve got all sorts of pusher sticks, and I’ll cut very slowly.

Would this sort of blade work or is there a cheaper solution?

It would probably work. I got my blade a long time ago, but it didn’t cost anywhere near that much. But I just looked up typical prices, they are very high. You might want to try a plywood blade first. Those can be very inexpensive.

Saws (bandsaws) are the preferred method for cutting thickm hard rubber vacuum hoses (the ones that pull a vacuum on a chamber or a Bell Jar – the walls of the hose have to be hard and thick to keep it from collapsing under atmospheric pressure). If you try to use a razor you just make a mess. I speak from experience. So I think you’d be able to cut a sheet of hard neoprene the same way. as noted, use teeth with a pitch much finer than the thickness of the rubber.

I have cut a helluva lot of rubber. Use soapy water and a lot of it to cut down the friction. The blade will not “grab” as much, the rubber won’t heat up as much.

30 Shore A is pretty soft and will want to grab.

You will not be able to freeze the rubber enough unless you use something a lot colder than a commercial freezer.

If possible, put tension on the rubber to separate the two pieces as you cut them.

I would try to use as smooth a blade as possible. For cutting wiper blades we used a meat slicer blade.

A bandsaw would be better for this since you can put the two pieces apart as you cut.

If you go slow, no reason why you can’t. Jig saw same thing. Anything which changes properties due to heat you have to go extra slow. This of course applies to tooling around home. If you’re doing it for a living then the answer is pretty much no.