Best way to clamp on board templates for hotwiring

Hey again

Sorry if I failed to find other posts that explained this, I wasnt able to find what I was looking for.


So my question for you who have been hotwiring your boards following a template.

How do you fasten your template to the foam?

I was thinking of gluing it on, but this might ruin the board when I have to remove it again.

And I guess it has to be placed very well secured so that it doesnt move around when the foam is cut.

So, please if you have advice on how to do this, help me out =)


when I say template I mean a template like this one made of plywood or similar

Home depot has a double sided tape used for carpet instalation,I stick it to the template and trim the excess with a razor knife.I would use masonite for your hotwire templates.

Thanks for your reply.

Sounds like a good idea with the tape.

And yep… im going to use masonite (Diddnt know the english word for itI)



I prefer to screw/nail them in. Drill holes in your template and fasten it with a screw or nail (I use nails).

If you take a good look at the picture, you see that the guy screwed it on the foam.

Tape doesn’t work for me and glueing is a bad idea!

You are doing it right. Holes in the template with nails pushed in. One thing that might make the hot wiring go a tad bit smoother is to put parifin wax on the bottom edge of the masonite template.  That way the wire will run smooth and not burn in the little groves.....I hate the little know what I'm talking about.

No need to use tape or glue or anything other than nails or screws.


I also like to hold the hotwire tool with my hand the other way, that way you can apply more presure on the palm of your hand and cause less fatigue....and get a better wire cut.

(its not me on the picture, just a picture I found on this forum to illustrate what I was talking about)


Anyway, what I was planing was to hotwire the outline AND the rails, so I guess its a bad idea to drill holes into the “Final” board template.

Also, how can screws or nails hold it enough to withstand the preassure the wire might cause?

I’m worried about those things falling out or perhaps moving slightly on the preasure.


Shaping the rails with the planer is the most exciting thing about shaping (for me). I wouldn’t do it with a hot wire cutter.






yup really… or how should that be understood?


Guess I’m not making myself clear.

By cutting I don’t mean shaping… 

Just want to cut a rough outline… the shaping is going to be with a planer of course

I have done my first board with tape to hold the templates, then I found out about the nail method and I’m not going back!

To cut the outline, a handsaw is the best method I tried (I tried hot wire and a saw like this: but nothing beats the good old handsaw. After sawing I fine tune with the planer.

so far my advice

I've alwasy used screws, one about every foot or so. Works great.

Good luck.

This is me in the picture, and I use 8-penny nails about every 18 to 24 inches apart.  I hold the hot wire in this manner to cut the bottom rocker, which allows me to apply upward pressure on the wire.  Resinhead is correct with the use of parifan wax to help make the wire slide easier.  Cutting the upper rocker is easiest, just keep a low angle on the hotwire frame, and push evenly and slowly...


have fun!!!



this  is how i did it

double sided (carpet) tape, easy, no holes in the blank.

for rocker line cutting I think two persons are needed to watch both sides of the blank.

for cutting rail bands I use the template on top moved inward, and tape on the rails as a guide.

good luck, erwin

Airframe has spoken.........end of story.

Ken has cut more EPS blanks from a block of foam than you have used sheets of toilet paper, paper towels, and 81/2 x 11 20lb paper combined.


Thanks a lot for all your answers and help.

Think i’m going to experiment with both solutions, I really want to make the rail cutting with a wire, work.

Can’t be that hard, or can it? :stuck_out_tongue:


Anyway, I will probably start a progress thread soon, or post it on my blog.

i’ll be back… this is such a nice forum, soooooo much extremly usefull information :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

resinhead is hitting the nail on the head. When you have to do multiple blanks its better to use nails, because you don't have to change the tape all the time (you can only re attach it 1 or 2 times).

when cutting the template you throw away the pieces with all the holes, but when doing railbands you dont want the holes in your blank.

mmmm putting the template on top. That is a good tip. I used tape both on the deck and on the rails as a guideline but using the template is a much better option. I prefer hotwiring the rails as well cause it gives me a lot less dust flying around (actually my wife prefers it, and since her mood improves when I produce less dust, i guess I prefer it as well. Though shaping rails with a planer is more fun)

I'm going to cut my blank out of a EPS block that is 1200mm x 2400mm so that is going to be a lot of work with the planer if I should shape it from there.. so no, i'm going to rughly cut the rails, and THEN use the planer..

But will have to try both solutions (tape and nails) to find out which one is the best.

I remember Surfding mentioning that a push stroke while cutting makes the wire bow less and is easier to control. Makes sense.