Wise Buys: Coping Sleds
Why buy? A fundamental element of furniture and cabinet doors, cope-and-stick joints must fit precisely to ensure square, gap-free doors. To make the job easier and safer, a coping sled holds the frame rails securely and squarely as you rout the profile across the end grain using your router table or shaper. The models in this review slide along the table's fence, which is set flush with the cutter's bearing. These prove easier to use than sleds that run in a miter slot.
For probably 95 percent of the work you'll do with a coping sled, this bare-bones phenolic model is all you'll ever need. Its abrasive-coated base and single, adjustable clamp securely holds stock from 1/2" to 1-3/8" thick. If you need to make coped cuts on stock wider than 3-1/2" or longer than 18", you should opt for the larger MLCS sled (#9546, $65). You can buy replacement backer blocks for each model, but it's easy to make your own from scrap wood.
--Tested by Bob Hunter, Tools & Techniques Editor
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