5 Best Must-Have Coping Saws for Serious Woodworkers

Best Coping Saw

Are you looking for the best coping saw for you next woodworking project? This article delves deep about this type of saw so let’s get started.

Have you ever had clients complaining about your craftsmanship skills because of some imprecisions in your work? Sadly, I had such disappointments when I was first starting out with woodworking. I haven’t always been the great crafter I am today, and that’s because I didn’t know which tools to use in every situation.

I used to get my regular jigsaw and try to use it for every cutting job, including delicate ones. Boy, I was too stupid back then. Thankfully, a mentor of mine showed me the difference between the various tools and introduced me to something that did change my life: the coping saw.

I know that the concept may be vague for some of you. I’ve been there. After all, why get different saws if they have the same purpose, right? Wrong. Every saw is perfect for its own goal. So, what is a coping saw? When can you use it? And what are the recommended products in this category?

5 Best Coping Saws to Buy in 2018 for Serious Woodworkers

What is a coping saw?

A coping saw is a simple tool that’s not too fancy nor too expensive, and that should be included in every woodworking set of tools.

This tool uses a thin blade that’s attached to a U-shaped frame from both sides through a clip at each end. The blade can be removed at will, as there are different ones based on what material you want to cut.

It’s called a coping saw because it’s used to make coped joints and such beautiful, elegant carpentry cuts. The blade of this saw usually contains 12 to 20 teeth per inch, and the depth of the frame determines the maximum thickness that you can cut with the saw.

Uses of coping saw

A coping saw is used to perform delicate and precise cuts in thin wood thanks to the narrow and sharp blade. The primary purpose of such a tool is creating seamless intersections, joints, and curves, especially in corners.

This particular saw is also used to trim wood, plastic, and even metal thanks to the thin blade, and to cut shapes in the middle of some materials. That can be done by removing the blade then introducing it in the material through a hole that you’ve already dreaded beforehand.

On the other hand, this tool isn’t efficient for regular sawing because the blade is too delicate to cut through thick wood and hard materials.

Coping saw vs. fret saw vs. scroll saw

When you’re trying to sharpen your craftsmanship, you may get confused as there are countless similar tools that you can use. In the case of the coping saw, there are two other tools to consider as well; the fret saw, and the scroll saw. What’s the difference between the three?

Fret Saws

Olson Saw SF63507 Fret Saw
Olson Saw SF63507 Fret Saw

The fret saw has a weird shape compared to other saws, as its frame is deeper, usually measuring 10 to 20 inches in depth. On the other hand, the fret saw’s blade is much thinner than that of a coping saw and can cut more delicate cuts especially that it features up to 32 teeth per inch, making it shallower than a coping saw’s blade.

The problem with fret saws is that the blades are too thin that they tend to bend or break quite easily, so you’ll have to change them frequently. Besides, they require some tuning from time to time, and they are a bit slower compared to other saws.

Scroll Saws

Excalibur Scroll Saw
Excalibur Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is an electronic or mechanical saw used to make delicate cuts through wood, plastic, metal, or other materials. This tool uses a short, thin blade to craft artistic works as it cuts precisely and accurately through the material, thus making it the perfect saw to create jigsaw puzzles and decorative arts.

What’s even better about this saw is that it can easily cut in the middle of the material without having to go through the hassle of removing the blade then reattaching it after dreading a hole.

Scroll saws have some drawbacks to them, the first being that they’re optimal for thin cuts but practically useless for thick ones, and the second being that they tend to swerve when trying to make a straight cut, so they’re not the best for this purpose.

Different types of coping saw blades

There are different types of blades to consider depending on the material you need to cut.

1. Wood

To cut through wood, you need to use a coarse blade, which has 15 TPI (Teeth per Inch) or fewer, as it quickly removes the material to allow you to keep cutting on a straight line. Coarse blades generally fit the bill when it comes to wood cutting. On the other hand, if you need to cut following curved lines, you need to resort to blades with over 18 TPI, but keep in mind that they’re slower.

2. Metal

Metal cutting requires a robust blade that’s made of high-carbon steel, as that will allow you to cut through non-hardened or nonferrous metal in a comfortable manner.

3. Tiles

A tungsten carbide-encrusted wire is the most perfect blade for your coping saw if you intend to use it on ceramic tiles or drain openings.

4. Plastic

To smoothly cut through plastic, we recommend using a helical teeth blade. Nothing too fancy, but they excel for this material.

Coping saw parts

Blade

The blade of a coping saw is thin and sharp, making it perfect for edge-cutting, shaping, and making precise cuts. There are two pins, one at each side of the blade, to allow you to firmly fix it to the frame.

The blade features 12 to 20 teeth per inch, and it’s not suitable for hardcore cutting through thick materials.

This part can be made of different materials depending on what you intend to use it saw for. You should note that it’s inserted in the frame with the teeth pointing backward to the handle so that the cut happens in the pull stroke. A coping stroke cannot cut in the push stroke as it’s too flexible for that.

Frame

The frame of a coping saw is U-shaped. It’s made of steel most of the time and can be plated with nickel for extra protection against rust.

Handle

The handle is straight, cylindrical and can be made of plastic or wood. The features of the handle make the coping saw optimized for delicate and precise cuts, not aggressive ones.

Maintenance

You need to learn some tricks if you want to keep your newly purchased coping saw in your tools arsenal for as long as possible.

  • Starting with the daily usage, you need to remove the accumulated dust, sap or pitch promptly as they can reduce the sharpness of the blade since you’ll have to apply more tension, and therefore friction, to cut through different materials.
  • Use Nylon brushes when cleaning your saws as wire ones can damage the blades. Also, keep your saw away from moisture or humidity as they can make the blades rust or pit.
  • As for the storage, make sure to keep every coping saw in its proper container, as putting all of them together can result in chipping their blades.
  • Check the different parts regularly and make sure all of them are functioning as they should be for your own safety. If there’s any problem with any of the components, do not hesitate to repair it immediately before starting any project.

The 5 Must Have Coping Saws for Woodworkers

Olson Saw SF63510 Coping Saw

 Olson Saw SF63510 Coping Saw Frame Delude Coping Frame/End Screw

Features

Olson’s SF63510 Coping Saw easily tops our list thanks to its well-built frame, durable materials, and various functionalities. This sturdy saw features a robust frame in which a 6.5-inch blade can be tensioned at both ends by two thumb screws. The handle is made of hardwood, allowing you to firmly grasp the saw while using it.

This coping saw is perfect for every woodworker as the blade can be turned 360 degrees to use in any direction, thus allowing you to cut in either the pull or push stroke.

In the box, you’ll get the frame, which is made in India, along with Olson’s 15 TPI blade, which is crafted in the US.

What we like about this saw is how easy it is to change the blade thanks to the thumb screws, and the smooth handle that gives comfortable feeling while trimming the wood.

Specifications

  • Build material: The frame and blade are made of steel, while the handle is made of wood
  • Blade length: 6.5 inches
  • Cutting depth: 4-3/4 inches
  • Teeth per Inch: 15
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces (0.6 pounds)
  • Dimensions: 9.5 L x 5 H x 1 W inches

Advantages

  • Changing the blade is fairly easy thanks to the thumb blades
  • The handle is comfortable to hold and use
  • 360-degree blade rotation
  • Good price point
  • Nice looking

Drawbacks

  • The handle can be too small for some people
  • Some inexperienced woodworkers may find difficulties while trying to cut thick wood with this blade

Robert Larson 540-2000 Coping Saw

Robert Larson 540-2000 Coping Saw

Features

Robert Larson Coping Saw is another easy-to-use tool on our list. The perfectly shaped wooden handle is used to adjust the handle, while the frame allows rotation of the blades and accepts ant type of them, even the ones with pins. The saw is made of robust materials and is designed to last for several good years of usage.

The blade thin and delicate, yet sharp and sturdy to allow you to carry on with any precise woodwork around the house. As for the depth, you should be able to cut for up to 5 inches easily.

All in all, this is a top-grade German coping saw that’s well worth its price and that delivers what’s advertised to the letter. It’s perfect for dovetailing and several beautiful woodworking.

Specifications

  • Build material: The frame and blade are made of steel, while the handle is made of wood
  • Blade length: 6-3/4 inches
  • Cutting depth: 5 inches
  • Teeth per Inch: 15
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces (0.6 pounds)
  • Dimensions: 12.6 L x 6.2 H x 1.9 W inches

Advantages

  • Beautiful, ergonomic design
  • Robust materials, with a metal frame and a wooden handle
  • 360-degree rotation
  • Low price
  • The manufacturer focused on the tension aspect of the saw

Drawbacks

  • The provided blade is a bit too delicate and can bend easily
  • Adjusting the tension can take a long time sometimes
  • The handle

GreatNeck 28 Coping Saw Frame

 GreatNeck 28 Coping Saw Frame, 6 Inch

Features

GreatNeck’s 28 coping saw generally fits the bill for those seeking a durable and effective tool at a cheap price point. The frame is made of robust steel and is covered in full polished plating for extra rust resistance, which is a plus over other coping saws.

The blade can be easily adjusted and rotated for multi-purpose usage, and it’s thin for state-of-the-art crafting. The wooden handle is comfortable to hold and use.

This coping saw can create 6-inch deep cuts.

Specifications

  • Build material: The frame and blade are made of rust-resistant steel, while the handle is made of wood
  • Blade length: 6 inches
  • Cutting depth: 5-7/8 inches
  • Teeth Per Inch: 14
  • Weight: 9 ounces (0.56 pounds)
  • Dimensions: 12.2 L x  7.5 H x  0.2 inches W

Advantages

  • 360-degree rotation
  • Durable rust-resistant materials
  • Low price
  • The handle can be adjusted easily

Drawbacks

  • Some users found it to be cheap looking

IRWIN Tools ProTouch Coping Saw

 IRWIN Tools ProTouch Coping Saw (2014400)

Features

IRWIN is a well-known brand in the craftsmanship world, so you should be safe going with one of their tools. The ProTouch Coping Saw features a flat frame with two DuraSteel pins to fix the blade in place.

The saw also comes with a high-speed steel thin blade that can be rotated in any direction, thus giving you the ability to use the ProTouch for any delicate crafting purpose.

What we mostly like about IRWIN’s coping saw is the handle. It’s made of wood and covered in rubber, which makes it ergonomic and comfortable to hold for long periods of time. That’s something we all dig as woodworkers.

This coping saw can be shipped to anywhere in the US, but you need to check the Proposition 65 warning if you’re from California.

Specifications

  • Build material: The frame and blade are made of steel, while the handle is made of wood wrapped with rubber
  • Blade length: 6-1/2 inches
  • Teeth per Inch: 17
  • Frame depth: 5.5 inches
  • Weight: 8 ounces (0.5 pounds)
  • Dimensions: 13.5 L x 3 H x 1.7 W inches

Advantages

  • Durable thanks to its steel-based build
  • The blade is easy to adjust and change
  • Comfortable handle
  • Efficient, ergonomic design

Drawbacks

  • Some users reported that they found problems with adjusting the tension and rotation

BAHCO 301 Coping Saw

 Bahco 301 Coping Saw

Features

To end our list with a positive vibe, we decided to include BAHCO’s 6-1/2-inch coping saw. This tool’s frame is plated with nickel for long-term usage with two retaining pins. You can easily grasp this saw thanks to its wooden beech orange-lacquered handle, which is extremely comfortable to hold.

The blade is made of hardened and tempered carbon steel with milled and set teeth, which is something we admire about this coping saw. BAHCO’s blades are so effective that you need to stop cutting immediately if you go out of line as they can cut through virtually any material (wood, plastic, or metal).

Specifications

  • Build material: The frame is made of Nickel Plated Steel, the blade is made of durable steel, while the handle is made of wood
  • Blade length: 6-1/2 inches
  • Teeth per Inch: 14
  • Weight: 9.8 ounces (0.6125 pounds)
  • Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 7.1 inches

Advantages

  • The blades are made of hardened and tempered carbon steel, which makes them durable and robust
  • The steel frame has a nickel plating for durability
  • Easy to use and great for deep cuts
  • Low price point

Drawbacks

  • Somehow the saw has a cheap look
  • Adjusting the tension can be a bit hard for some inexperienced wood crafters

How did we choose the products on our list?

Although there are countless coping saws and blades in the market, we had to choose the top five to include in our list.

The filtering process was a bit hard as we had a lot of quality options to consider, and we had to go through every bit of detail including the main features such as the blade with all of its characteristics, the build material, durability, and ease-of-use, along with the other information like the warranty and shipping.

We’ve done the heavy lifting for you, and chose the best coping saw money can get you. You can’t go wrong with any of the above suggestions, so it’s up to you to decide.

What to look for when buying a coping saw

When you’re about to purchase a coping saw, there is a couple of things that you need to consider.

Frame

First, the frame. Besides the build material, the critical feature here is the depth. Depending on your project, you need to choose the appropriate frame that’s deep enough to cover your needs.

Blade Material

Second, the blade. Coping saw blades can have anywhere from 12 to 20 teeth per inch. The more teeth it has, the coarser is your cut. Choose a blade with a TPI that fits your needs and the material you’re going to cut. Also, make sure the blade’s length is compatible with the frame you have and the project you intend to start.

Tension

Another thing to check about the blade and frame is the tension. You don’t want a coping saw that would break in the middle of cutting, nor one that would be too lousy up to work with. Choose a coping saw with just the right pressure to work comfortably.

Handle

Third, the handle. People usually don’t give much attention nor importance to this part. After all, what’s the big deal about the handle? Believe me, it is a big deal. The handle is an essential part as it’s the one we use to make turns or curved cuts, which is the purpose of the coping saw. For that, you need to check the handle and to make sure it’s durable and comfortable to use.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to woodworking, it’s all about the crafter and the tools. We trust that you’re a great craftsman, so what remains is getting the best coping saw to sharpen your skills even farther and up your woodworking game.

You can’t go wrong with any of the coping saws mentioned above, but we’d personally choose Olson’s tools on any given day as they’re known for providing quality materials at low prices.

Grab your saw and head to your workshop, artist, it’s time to show the world what you’re made of!

If you have any questions regarding the above products or coping saws in general, the comments are all yours, so do not hesitate to ask.


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