How To Cut Stable Mats for Horse Stalls
Rubber stable mats are a durable and easy-to-use product which you can use to outfit horse stables, garages, and home gyms. But rubber is a tough material to work with, and can be hard to cut through. What makes rubber so beneficial to use is its shock absorbing qualities, but this also makes it difficult to cut through.
Rubber absorbs and distributes movement, which can be troublesome when cutting a rubber mat with a power tool. The blade can slip and jerk, or alternatively, if you’re using a circular saw, the blade can get gummed up, making the tool unusable.v
Let’s look at some of the best methods to cut horse stall mats, diving into all the tools that you will need. Before we dive in, there will be several types of tools listed, from a simple Stanley utility knife to power tools like a jigsaw.
So if you choose to go the low-tech route, can still effectively cut through your mats. It just may take you a little bit more time.
How to cut stall mats
When you’re installing rubber stall mats, one of the best tips is to work from the doorway out towards the walls, using a staggered pattern to avoid seams meeting up. Sometimes, depending on the thickness of the mat, when you reach the walls, you can fold the mat up against the wall and cut on the mat folds. This allows you to make easy cuts without having to do as much work.
One issue you may run into if you choose to cut at the wall is that your edges may not be straight. Instead, follow the tips below to create a straight cut every time.
One tip: Unlike foam mats, rubber mats do not expand or contract very much in cold or warm weather. This means that you only need a 6mm gap between the rubber mats and the walls.
Using a sharp utility knife to cut a thick rubber stall mat.
That’s right, a simple utility knife can allow you to cut through thick stable mats, like the 20mm Dog Bone Rubber Mat. By applying a bit of pressure, you can easily saw through stable mats and cut them to the size that you need. Many consider this to be the simplest way to cut horse stall mats, as it involves minimal tools—just a chalk line, a straight edge, and a sharp utility knife.
Let’s look at some steps that you’ll need to follow in order to cut rubber horse stall mats by hand:
- Mark the mat where you would like to cut, and you can use either a chalk line or a pencil/marker and a straight edge to mark the line for the cut.
- Place a piece of timber underneath the rubber mat in order to avoid cutting the stable flooring underneath, whilst also allowing for leverage.
- Using the straight edge as a guide, begin scoring the rubber mats with the razor blade. Make multiple passes with shallow scores, as this will reduce friction on the blade of the knife. When cutting stall mats by hand, slow and steady is the way to go.
- Since you’ve elevated the mat with a piece of timber, you’ll notice that the cut will open up. Gravity will begin doing its work, and the mat will slowly droop towards the floor. Put pressure on the mat with each cut, folding back the cut end. As the cut opens up, you may find it much easier to continue to make each successive cut.
- Continue making shallow scores with a utility blade until the mat cuts through the bottom of the mat.
Tip: Stud dot mats may cause you more issues as you try to cut on an uneven surface. You may need to take more shallow scores to cut through the surface.
Benefits of cutting by hand
- Simple: This is one of the most simple ways to cut through mats, as you may have the tools already sitting around your home.
- No power saws needed: If you would prefer not to use power saws, this method allows you to cut by hand.
Drawbacks of cutting by hand
- Slow: Although it may be a simple method, it’s not the easiest method. In fact, it may take you a lot longer to cut every individual mat, which adds a lot more work on your plate if you’re outfitting multiple horse stalls.
- Tiring: Let’s be honest, power tools take a lot of the strain off of our bodies as we let the saws to most of the cutting. If you choose to use a utility knife and make shallow scores, your wrist and arm is going to be exhausted after a day’s work.
Use a straight edge and a jigsaw to cut through horse stall mats
If you’re looking for a way to speed through tonnes of work and get your job done in no time, using a jigsaw to cut through the stable mats is one of the most efficient ways. Unlike a simple carpet knife, you don’t need to make shallow cuts in order to reduce friction.
Because of a jigsaw’s vertical cutting blade, you can cut rubber mats straight through. Jigsaws tear through a stall mat easily, and this can save you time in setting up your horse stalls.
Can you cut rubber with a jigsaw?
Jigsaws provide straight cuts and a clean edge with soft material. You can cut non-absorbent soft material like plastic, cardboard or rubber with a specialised rubber cutting blade. This blade can easily cut through soft materials up to 50mm thick, as it has a sharp knife edge with lots of small teeth.
If you’re interested in cutting rubber horse stall mats with a jigsaw, check out this youtube video by Castlebrook Farm. In the video, you can see the technique to cleanly and safely cut rubber mats with a jigsaw.
What rubber can you cut with a jigsaw?
Not every type of rubber mat has the same hardness level, and some rubber mats may be more difficult to cut with a jigsaw. Vulcanised rubber mats, like the amoebic rubber mats, is much more rigid
You won’t need much more tools than cutting by hand:
- a straight edge
- a chalk like,
- a pencil
- a piece of timber
- a jigsaw
Let’s look at some steps that you’ll need in order to cut horse stall mats with power tools:
- Just like when you cut by hand, use a chalk line or a straight edge and a marker to create a line to follow for the cut.
- Place a piece of timber underneath the mat to provide you with some leverage.
- Since you’ve laid out the mat and have a straight line to follow, use your jigsaw and follow the line. Go slowly, and also play something heavy on top of the mats to avoid vibration.
- Once you’ve made it to the end, if you notice any thin ribbons of rubber on the edges, use a utility knife to cut away any excess.
Tip: If you’re not altogether sure you can cut a straight line by hand with a jigsaw, clamp a piece of timber to the top of the mat as a guide. Gently press the jigsaw tight against the wood guide to get a perfect cut. Make sure that the wood is clamped the correct distance in order to put the jigsaw in the center of the cut line.
Benefits of cutting with power tools
- Quick and easy: By using a jigsaw, you’ll save yourself a lot of time. Instead of making 20 shallow cuts, all you have to do is slowly follow the line.
- Less fatiguing: The simple fact is, using a power tool saves you from backbreaking labour.
Drawbacks of cutting with power tools
- More dangerous: If you choose to use a power tool, consider that it may be slightly more dangerous than using a utility blade to cut rubber mats.
What other tools can you use to cut horse stall mats?
Although the two methods listed above are the most efficient and simplest ways to cut through rubber mats, you can also use other tools. For example, you could use circular saws, table saws, or grinders to make cuts in rubber. However, using a saw with a spinning blade may increase friction and vibration, whilst also making more of a mess with excess rubber. Not only that, you may actually ruin the tools, as rubber can build up on a saw blade.
You could consider using a bandsaw, which is another tool that uses a vertical blade, just like a jigsaw. The only issue that you may run into is that a bandsaw is a handheld tool, so you will have to stop, pull-up your piece, make the cut, and lay the piece back down in its original spot.
Whether you want your mats cut using a utility knife or a jigsaw completely depends on your preferences and abilities. If you are pretty handy with tools and already own a jigsaw, then use what you have. However, if you would feel more comfortable using a utility knife and are ok with making shallower cuts each time, then by all means use the knife.
There are limitations to cutting a rubber horse stall by hand or by using a power tool, and just keep an eye out to make sure that you are safe while cutting the rubber mats. Don’t put yourself in a position where you could hurt yourself. Take your time and cut slowly, and wear gloves or other personal protective equipment. And have someone to help you lift the mats. A little bit of help goes a long way! If you are looking to purchase some mats click here https://stablemats.ie/
Author: David Van Kooten