View Full Version : I can't cope anymore...

John Weber
02-18-2005, 12:05 PM
Well, make that cope cut. I spent the last couple weekends working on our bedroom. 105 textured plaster walls have many challenges, but coping the chair rail was driving me crazy. I don't know if my old Stanley coping saw was bad, or what. I've coped before I thought I did a decent job, but this chair rail was killing me. Finally I set up the router table (first time I've used it since I bought my shaper) with a straight bit and after I cut the miter, I just hogged off the waste. Worked great. I finished up with a file, and everything fit well. I did caulk the joints (painted finish), but they looked good without. So I guess there is more then one way to cope a joint. My Dad, a perfectionist and very skill craftsman can cope with his eyes closed. My Uncle, also a very skill craftsman uses a scroll saw jig. I've seen guys use jig saws, and I guess my router trick works as well.


Jim Becker
02-18-2005, 1:03 PM
John, I'm having trouble visualizing how you are using the bit to "hog" off, etc. Pics??? TYIA!

Don Carkhuff
02-18-2005, 1:16 PM
At the Woodworking Shows, I saw a guy demo a product he was selling. It was a curved foot/base that replaced the flat base of a saber saw. With this device he coped crown molding as we watched. I don't remember the name of the product. Maybe someone he will know.

Chris Padilla
02-18-2005, 1:16 PM
I'm thinking you needed a ramp to maintain the angle correctly as you fed the modling into the straight bit...or the straight bit was angled...or something!! ??? :)

John Weber
02-18-2005, 1:47 PM

When you cut the inside mitre you get a straight line, just like normal. I think the reason you back cut is because it is difficult to maintain a "square" edge. By back cutting your face surfaces meet in a tight line and the back is not seen. A straight router bit maintains a square edge and then you simply rasp off a little material for a nice tight (well mostly tight) joint. As for the router setup, is was just a straight carbide spiral bit in a table, no fence - you must take extreme caution, but for the couple I did I was very careful.


I think a slightly tapered router bit could work, but I still needed a square edge on the top of my molding.


Jim Becker
02-18-2005, 2:16 PM
John, I understand the backcutting in coping...and actually have manage to do it a few times succesfully, despite my ineptitude...but I'm still not visualizing what you are doing with the router bit. No biggie...

John Weber
02-18-2005, 2:44 PM

I'm sure it's not a proper technique, but hey it worked for me. The biggest problem is you are doing fine work near a spinning router bit, not the safest activity. Anyway I couldn't find any of my coped practice pieces, but here is one I never finished. The inside miter (45) is cut as usual. Then the router bit removes the waste up to the paint/wood line. I then fine tune the fit with a couple files and add a little back cut. Maybe a minute or two of filing/fitting. I did find the more filing I did the worse the fit got. I was better off to route the piece as close as possible and just kiss it with a file to fine tune the fit. If it had a natural finish, it would have easily passed with no caulk, but since I painted I added just enough to make the joint disappear.



Jim Becker
02-18-2005, 2:48 PM
Ok, I know I was being slightly daft, but this was what I began to "think" you meant. Thanks for the confirmation. Your point about working close to the spinning cutter is important, too...

Dave Sharbaugh
02-18-2005, 3:44 PM
They advertise this coping foot quite often in Fine Homebuilding. I should try one: I've been using my jig saw to cope "freehand."


Brian Buckley
02-18-2005, 3:54 PM
I have used the copeing foot for about 6 months now. I have it fitted on a Bosch Jig saw that I use fore copeing only. It took some practice to get used to. Once you get the hang of it, it works like a champ.


Richard Wolf
02-18-2005, 4:01 PM
Its called the Collins Coping foot and it work very well. He also makes bunny planes (miniture planes) for touching up molding that are just great.