OT: coping saws

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Ryan Mazzocco
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Location: Joplin, MO
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OT: coping saws

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

I thought about putting this in the tools and jigs section, but was afraid it would be too off topic since I'm not talking specifically about building instruments...

with the level of craftsmanship I have seen from the members of this forum I figure there must be some of you that still use the old coping saw.
I bring this up because my father, my brother and myself are about the only people I know that still use one. We have a small family owned and operated trim and staircase business and we still cope our base with the old trusty coping saw. But we catch all kinds of grief from everyone that sees us using it.
I've seen a lot of ways that people cope nowadays: rough cut with a jigsaw then file it clean; grinders; dremels; :shock: on a tablesaw :shock: ; I've even seen a power saw specifically designed for coping. This monster was probably a 2x4' table with a circular saw mounted on sliding rails on one side and a duplicating guide on the other. you then clamped your base into the device and ran the saw to chew away the unwanted material.... and then you had to sand/file it clean.... and I think it cost the guy like $2000!!!

Now this may just be me... but it sure seems like the antiquated coping saw is much more efficient, cheaper, safer, and doesn't make near the mess as any of these newfangled methods.

I'm very interested to hear what you guys have to say on the matter.

Bill Snyder
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Re: OT: coping saws

Post by Bill Snyder »

I use a coping saw on baseboard, crown, chair rail and anything else it is the best tool for. But I still keep a block plane in my tool belt too and use several other sizes as needed. I know trim carpenters that don't own a plane of any kind. Well that is probably not true, they have a Makita power plane, but that is not quite the same.

Darrel Friesen
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:48 pm

Re: OT: coping saws

Post by Darrel Friesen »

I still use coping and fret saws for various tasks including base. I've been eyeing up the new lattice framed ones from Leevalley, but the price (>$100) has helped me resist <g>.

Louie Atienza
Posts: 275
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:35 pm

Re: OT: coping saws

Post by Louie Atienza »

I don't do much trim carpentry anymore, but coping saws were a staple in my toolbox as well as my workers'. It definitely makes a difference in the finished product; and seasonal movement and drying doesn't expose an ugly gap the way mitering does. You could 'roll' a coped joint to get it tight, not so with a mitered one.

In fact, I eliminated bringing chopsaws to most jobs by making a few jigs for the SkilSaw. I had one for base, and one for crown. We avoided right-hand and double copes. With a little practice, we did trim work faster than if we had set up a chop saw and stand. With cordless SkilSaws we didn't even need extension cords!

When I worked for a contractor a couple years ago , I led one team and the other project manager led another. He used a jigsaw to rough out copes; I think they ended up caulking a lot of joints heavily. Guess which team went to all the high end trim jobs?! :D

Brad Heinzen
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:19 am

Re: OT: coping saws

Post by Brad Heinzen »

I still use mine for coping crown, base, etc. Seems just as fast to me, and I don't have to deal with all the noise and dust. Most of the guys I work with use grinding wheels or those baby belt sanders. Personally, I think the coping saw does a much cleaner job all around.

Steven Smith
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:01 pm
Location: East Tennessee

Re: OT: coping saws

Post by Steven Smith »

I was a trim carpenter many years ago in Colorado and always carried a bench plane in my bags. I also carried a sharp 1/2" chisel. My partner had been an industrial arts teacher in Oklahoma and he taught me to cope base, 1/4 rd, and crown. I tried using a jigsaw a few months ago on some crown in the house but it wasn't as clean and controllable. I agree the coping saw does a better job.

Louie Atienza
Posts: 275
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:35 pm

Re: OT: coping saws

Post by Louie Atienza »

I did once make a jig for the jigsaw that kept the jigsaw at the correct plane for coping crown. The results were really good, I have to say, but the crown had to be clamped and unclamped from the jig (I used shims) and my POS jigsaw loves to blow dust right into my eyes. And someone invented it already! It did save a little bit of time, but the cleanup afterwards was way longer.

Randy Cordle
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:38 pm
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Re: OT: coping saws

Post by Randy Cordle »

With a bit of modification the coping saw becomes and excellent inlay saw, much preferred over that other brand...
Attachments
InlaySaw1.jpg
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