Toolipedia: Coping Saw

Toolipedia: Everything you wanted to know aboutthe coping saw

What isacoping saw?

Coping sawshave athin andnarrow blade, which makes themhighly maneuverableand able to cuttight turnsin wood and other materials.Coping saws are used by trim carpenters to create copedjoints,and by woodworkers to create curved shapesand to finishthe bottomofdovetail joints.The blades on coping saws areapproximately6-1/2 inches long.

Here are the basic parts of a coping saw:

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  1. Handle
  2. Frame
  3. Blade
  4. Slotted Pin
  5. Round knob or turn pin

The coping sawgetsits namedueto the way it’s used tocut/copetrim.A coped joint, used in inside corners,is created when one piece of trim is runtight into the corner and the other intersection trim board is scribedand cutto fit the profile of the first one.

How isacoping sawused?

Operation basics:

  • Place the blade so that the pinsof the blade are secured by the slotted pin
  • The blade can be installed to cut either on the pull or push stroke(user’spreference)
  • Adjust the tension, by turning the handle (in mostmodels), until the blade is taut
  • Push or pullthe sawin the non-cutting stroke direction acouple of times to start the cutting path
  • Push and pull the sawto start cutting. Twist the blade as you goto follow the desired cut line or trim profile

What are the different typesofcoping saws?

  • Depth of the frame differs
  • Most coping saws tension by turning the handle, however some may have other mechanisms
  • You can purchase tile and metal cutting blades to expand the uses of the coping saw.
  • The number of teeth per square inchis different depending on how thick or delicate the material is being cut
  • Some framesare designed in a truss like configuration
  • Fret saws are similar to coping saws. They can cut even sharper curves but are harder to control

What makes a goodcoping saw?

  • Sturdy frame
  • Easy tensioning mechanismthat stays tight
  • A frame that prevents the blade from twisting or flexing too much
  • Ergonomic handle

Olsonmakesahighqualitycoping saw.

Coping Shoe Trim | Construction Pro Tips

Coping SawTip

When coping shoe molding, the best way to keep it from jumping around too much is to hold it up against another piece of shoe. Lay the two pieces flat on a table with the small profiles facing each other. Make sure that the piece of shoe that wont be cut is sticking out about an inch or so further than the piece to be coped. Then pinch the pieces together, hold them steady and saw away!

Click here for more coping tips.

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LeRoy Demarest
I have worked for over a decade as an environmental scientist working on an advanced bioremdiation clean up project. For the past six years I have also worked as an adjunct instructor for several colleges, both F2F and online, teaching a number of science courses. Finally, I have been freelance writing for a variety of publications on the topics of: gardening, environment, construction, science, science education, academics and technical work.