Our Guide to the Best Coping Saws
A coping saw is a type of bow saw commonly used to cut intricate shapes. They are frequently used to ‘cope’ skirting boards to create seamless corners, hence the name. A coping saw usually has a thin blade and a large U-shaped frame. They are best used in making curved cuts as the blade can be moved and manipulated as you cut. If you have found this article then you are obviously keen on buying a new coping saw, below we have tried and tested the best options available online and what we believe to be the best coping saw.
- Ideal for cutting curves and intricate shapes
- Suitable for many materials
- Can be turned through 360°
- Easily tensioned
- Wooden handle
The best coping saw
The Bacho 301 coping saw has a large wooden handle which feels great in hand. This frame is a bestseller for a reason! It also comes with easy to use screw handle system for increasing and decreasing the tension on the blade. This makes changing the blade really simple and quick. These are just a few of the top features that make this saw one of the best.
Why Bacho coping saw?
Bahco is a Swedish brand within the hand tool industry known for its quality products. For those in the know, Bacho is a name which is synonymous with quality. They make some of the best tools, particularly cutting tools on the market.
These blades from Bacho are purpose-made to fit the 301 and I would highly recommend picking up a blade pack as spares when you buy a coping saw. Due to the nature of coping saws and the thin blade they all have, the blade can snap with strenuous use, so spare blades are always useful to have on hand. These blades have 14 teeth per inch and are made from hardened and tempered carbon steel, a great blade leads to accurate, clean cuts every time. There is a reason this blade is a bestseller and has a high rating on Amazon!
Here you can see the teeth on the Bacho coping saw facing towards the handle. This is the preferred orientation in the frame for a coping saw. in this configuration, the saw will cut on the pull stroke, not the push. This allows for more accurate cuts.
Why use a coping saw?
These tools are mainly used for creating great matched corners on architrave and patterned skirting boards and are often used in positions where the use of another style of saw would be pretty much impossible. They are one of those tools you should have in your toolbox. They are cheap but essential.
They are also frequently used for the freehand cutting of shapes. With a coping saw, it is easy to follow a line if used correctly. This allows the user to draw out a shape on their chosen piece of wood and then follow it accurately with a coping saw. Hold the handle firmly and pull the blade to get a great sawing action going.
Another common use for these tools is hole cutting. You can drill a hole in the centre of your intended circle, detach one part of the coping saw blade, feed it through the drilled hole, and reattach it. This is one of this tool’s standout features, the blade detaches and reattaches from the frame so easily. Then you have your saw blade inside the circle and are ready to start cutting. Voila, you can now cut any sized hole you want!
Cutting delicate wood is another everyday use for this flexible saw. Due to the intricate nature of this tool and the small thin blade, it can make a perfect partner for when you need to cut a particularly small or delicate piece of wood. You can make purposeful but soft strokes with a coping saw, ensuring you don’t break any fragile wood.
As we have shown above they are a very versatile tool; this is why you need one in your toolbag. When you find yourself stuck, this saw can often come to your rescue and save you the need for much more expensive tools with more features.
Coping Saw Blades
- Teeth Per Inch: 14
- Teeth milled and set
- Material: Carbon steel
There are lots of different styles of blades available for coping saws. For most woodworking projects, I recommend a high carbon steel blade. However, there are many other options that make this tool even more useful. Did you know, for example, that you can find specialist tile cutting blades to use on your coping saw? Attach one of these puppies, and you will be cutting intricate tile shapes in no time at all. The blade fixed to your coping saw can make a big difference to the level of cuts you are able to achieve. A blade for one of these saws is relatively cheap too.
Maintaining a coping saw.
There really isn’t much maintenance to do on a coping saw. Just replace the blade whenever it’s getting worn. That’s all really, just look after it like you would any other tool. Remember the blades are thin so don’t go chucking it about and you will be fine!
Coping Saw Safety Tips
As with all saws, always cut away from yourself if possible. Another great tip for coping saws is to use eye protection if you plan on getting your face near to the blade. The blades are thin and will snap, the last thing you want is metal snapping right next to your unprotected eye.
Coping Saw Buyers Guide
The weight of your saw is important. This saw cuts intricate, small shapes and patterns. You don’t want a saw with massive weight, it needs to be light and nimble. Weight is one of the most important features when rating any top saw. A light-weight saw is also great when it’s sitting in your toolbox all day. you don’t have a big heavy saw which you have to cart around with you all day.
You want a decent blade to go with your coping saw and while the included blade will be good enough for most applications it never hurts to get some spares. Coping saw blades do snap, frequently. Anything above 14tpi will stand you in good stead when looking for a new blade. In simple terms, a harsher gullet (bigger teeth) blade is used for faster rougher cutting and tends to tear through the material. A blade with shallower, smaller teeth removes less material but also makes cleaner cuts.
The depth of the frame obviously dictates the size of the object you can cut or your cutting depth. When you have cut to the depth of the frame it will then be resting against the item you are trying to cut. For this reason, there are some variations which have a really deep frame, allowing you to cut deeper and deeper.
The cutting depth and frame depth obviously mean the same thing when it comes to these tools and can really set the best apart from the rest.
The handle just needs to be comfortable in hand. We like the wooden handle which can be found on the Bacho as it is often a little warmer than a plastic handle. Apart from this there really isn’t much to choose between a handle. Most will have a fairly ergonomic design as standard.
The dimensions of your tool will affect what you can cut and also what blade you will require. For these reasons, it is important to bear the dimensions of your new tool in mind both when buying the saw itself and also replacement blades.
You want a high-quality tool, the best of the best. Well manufactured, quality tools last and last. This is one of the many reasons the Bacho is our top choice. Bacho has a well-earned reputation for making quality tools. So get a good frame and get good blades!
What is the difference between a fret saw and a coping saw?
A fret saw has a shorter blade and a much larger frame and therefore a much deeper cutting depth
Why is it called a coping saw?
Coping is defined as the top, typically curved or sloping, course of a brick or stone wall. So this has also become the term used for curved finishing on wooden objects including skirting. You then cope the wood to match the curve with a coping saw!
How thick can a coping saw cut?
This is dependent on the size of the frame. Once you have cut to the depth of the frame you won’t be able to go any deeper as it will be blocked by the object you are cutting.
What is the proper use of a coping saw?
They should be used to cut intricate shapes and to match corners for great mitres. They are often used on skirting board. They should be set so that the blade cuts on the pull stroke rather than the push stroke.
What materials can they cut?
Lots! We have a full article on this you can find here.
We have also listed a few of the more popular materials to cut below.
- OSB Board
Who invented the coping saw?
How do I change a blade?
Luckily for you, we have another full article and video on how to change a coping saw blade.