The Coping saws are used for making curved, delicate and interior cutouts in thin materials. It comes with a U-shaped frame, a handle, and a very thin metal blade installed in the frame. You can cut various types of materials with this saw. For example- metals, plastics, woods, etc. depending on the type of blade you use. Because there are different types of blades made for cutting different types of materials and only specific kinds of materials. You cannot use a wood cutting blade to cut metals and vice versa.
It is very tricky to make curved, delicate cuts for designs and moldings especially coping joints. This is where a coping saw is most useful. Its lightweight body and thin blade give the worker the opportunity to make cuts in curves or intricate designs or lines or shapes.
As I have said above, there are different types of blades made for using to cut different types of materials. Like, high carbon steel blades are used for cutting non-metals like wood or plastic. Again, tungsten carbide blades are used for cutting ceramics.
There is also another important factor of TPI in saw blades. TPI is short for Teeth per inch. This unit is used to get the optimum result from a saw blade. A blade with more TPI will produce finer and smoother cuts and a saw with less TPI will produce rough cuts. But, more TPI blade takes a longer time to make cuts and less TPI blades take a shorter time to cut through the material. In case of coping saws, blades may have 10-20 TPI. But most woodworkers prefer to use a 15 TPI blade for a coping saw.
You need to choose the best blade for you to get the best result on your project. Before choosing the blade, you have to decide what type of cut you need to make on your workpiece. Fine and coarse teethed blades are available for making different types of cuts. For making intricate cuts, most of the time it is better to use a fine teethed blade as smooth cuts are required for making delicately designed cuts.
There is one thing about a coping saw that every DIY worker, woodworker should know that, a coping saw is designed to cut thin wooden materials which are not more than 1 inch.
How to make cuts
Before you start to make cuts with a coping saw, there are some other small but important works you need to perform.
The first thing to do is to make marks or lines on the cutting materials. To get the best result from your hard work, be sure to make marks of cutting line or design you want to make on the workpiece. For this task, use a pencil to draw lines. And while cutting, cut on the scrap side of the workpiece a little bit away from the mark. Because the blade will turn some amount of wood into dust while cutting through it. If there remains any extra wood more than desired, it can always be filed later and made perfect. But if the blade cuts even a tiny bit more than the marked line, it can never be fixed.
Secondly, you have to make sure that the workpiece of yours is in a steady position when you will be cutting it. If it keeps moving around while you are sawing it, there is a possibility of making mistakes in cuts which may ruin your entire project. So, the solution for this problem is to clamp the workpiece or use a vise to keep it steady.
There is another work you can do before you start cutting. This is to light the workplace. You will be cutting intricate lines and tight curves. So you may have to move your head, eyes, hand, saw or even your whole position from time to time. So it is very necessary for you to make sure the place where you are working is properly illuminated.
After you have done all of the following works, you are ready to start cutting with a coping saw. Now that you have clamped the workpiece and made it steady as a wall, hold the saw firmly on the material. Place the central teeth of the saw on the cutting mark which you have drawn earlier. Then, begin to push the saw in short gentle stroke. Do not force the blade through the cut excessively. Because too much force will create too much pressure on the blade. And too much pressure on the blade may cause it to snap as it is very thin.
At the beginning of the cut, it will be better for you if you create a light groove with a few pull strokes. Oh! I totally forgot to tell you that a coping saw makes cuts in pull strokes. So make sure the teeth of the blade are facing the handle. Some people do it otherwise. They make the saw to cut in push strokes. It is entirely their wish and not at all how to use a coping saw.
Now, let’s talk about how to cut curves. For general straight cutting, you do not have to make any movements or turns. But when you will be cutting curves, you have to turn the handle and frame as necessary to follow the cutting mark which could be of different designs. Rotate the frame to the left or to the right. The rotating frame will also make the blade to rotate automatically forming a curve.
What will you do when you have to make a cut at the center of the workpiece where there is no open end? The easiest answer to this question is- make a hole to cut a hole. At first, you have to drill a small hole in the scrap area from where you want to cut your circle. There you go! Now you have an open end. Make your marks from the hole. Then, detach the blade from the saw. Put it inside through the hole and then reattach the blade to the saw and simply, start cutting. Follow the mark and make the hole/circle/curve or whatever it is.
A coping saw is not a power tool. This is why it is very easy to use and it is also a safe tool. All you have to avoid is to saw your own body parts. So, the risk is less. When you see that you are not getting expected cuts, replace the blade. It must have gotten worn out. And there are many tight curves in different shapes of the workpiece where you will not be able to cut through your coping saw. you have to sand or file those troublesome places which could not be coped.