Wise Buys: Coping Sleds
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Wood Magazine

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.

MLCS #9497

MLCS #9497

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

To learn more:
800-533-9298; mlcswoodworking.com


 

Rockler #28595

Rockler #28595

For $25 more than the MLCS sled, Rockler offers a larger phenolic base with nearly double the width capacity, and a front guide block to sandwich the workpiece against the wood backer block. You also get a larger clamp pad and a front-mounted knob for two-handed control. One knock: During assembly, I had to deepen the countersunk holes for the handle to fully seat the screws and prevent scratching my router table.

--Tested by Randy Zimmerman

To learn more:
800-279-4441; rockler.com


 

Eagle America #2100

Eagle America #2100

Eagle America makes three coping sleds that work similarly, but this rigid plastic model is the one to buy. Its dual-pad adjustable clamp provides better workpiece holding power, and there's a front guide block for extra support and two easy-to-grip handles. What I like best about this nearly 16"-long sled: It glides smoothly over the insert plate--which always seems to vibrate slightly out of level--in my router table, producing perfect coped ends.

--Tested by Craig Ruegsegger, Multimedia Editor

To learn more:
800-872-2511; eagleamerica.com


 

Infinity #COP-100

Infinity #COP-100

This sleek aluminum sled is the Lexus of coping sleds. Its three clamps can adjust to hold the workpiece and wood backer block, which makes changing backer blocks quick and easy. The large, comfortable foam-covered rear handle dampens vibration better than the others. A clear plastic chip shield mounted on posts rides against the fence, providing a 3/4" offset to keep the aluminum base clear of the bit. However, your fence must be at least 3-1/4" tall to engage this shield; if not, you'll need to add a taller auxiliary fence.

--Tested by Bob Hunter, Tool & Techniques Editor

To learn more:
877-872-2487; infinitytools.com


 

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Wood Magazine