Coping Saw Instructions

Updated February 21, 2017

Coping saws are lightweight hand saws designed for making complex cuts in wood. These speciality hand saws allow you to cut along almost any spiral arc or curve, producing more intricate cuts than power saws can. Coping saws are often used for woodworking projects or when installing trim. A coping saw has a hardwood handle and a U-shaped steel frame that holds a thin blade. Coping blades come with a certain number of teeth per inch; more teeth produce a finer cut, but the cut takes longer to complete.

Measure the patterns to be cut, and trace or draw them with a pencil onto the wood surface. If making a jigsaw puzzle or an artistic piece, measuring is less important and graceful curves become a primary concern.

Check the blade on the coping saw to make sure the tension is correct. Proper tension means the blade does not deflect much when pressing the saw into the wood during cutting. If the tension needs to be increased, located the wing nut on the end opposite the handle and turn it clockwise.

Turn the "wings" located on either end of the blade in the direction you wish the blade to face, making sure they stay parallel to each another. This is a useful feature when making angle cuts.

Put on your safety glasses.

Saw into the wood, following one of the lines you made on the wood's surface. Hold the saw comfortably in one hand and use a gentle sawing motion. Allow the saw to do the work with minimal downward pressure.

Continue cutting curves by applying sideways pressure to the saw to "ease" the blade away from a straight cut. Remove the coping saw from the piece of wood gently, by backing the saw out the way it went in to the wood.

Adjust the wings to reset the blade to a new angle if needed. Repeat the above steps until all the cuts on the project are completed.


The coping saw also works for mitre box projects, although straight or diagonal cuts are much harder to perfect using a coping saw.


Applying too much pressure on the saw can break the saw blade.

Things You'll Need

  • Coping saw
  • Wood or moulding
  • Project pattern (optional)
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Safety goggles
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About the Author

Residing near the Central Florida beaches, Steven Douglas has written extensively on resolving small-business issues since 1990 in publications such as ForexFactory, Forex-Tsd, FxStreet and FxFisherman. After earning a master's degree in administration from the University of Maryland, his primary focus has been on international currency trade and how it can be effectively utilized by small businesses across the United States.