The coping saw is one of the most versatile finishing saws you will find, and the best coping saw needs to be lightweight and well balanced for that very reason. This basic saw has little room for innovation and improvement, so making sure you are getting quality materials and a sturdy frame are probably the most important tips for purchasing a coping saw. Spending a couple of extra dollars on a high quality saw is always going to work out in your favor though, as cheaply made saws may bend, break, or frustrate you to no end. Keep in mind that the blades you use will have an effect on the quality of the cuts, and look for blades with high tooth counts when you need to do precision work.
The Robert Larson 540-2000 is a superior coping saw, made with tried and true German manufacturing excellence. Even though the frame is lightweight, it’s still tough enough to take jobsite abuse without being damaged. Designed as a precision wood cutting tool, it works well for woodcrafting, trim, or any number of home or job projects. When kept properly tensioned, the blade teeth will provide you with a straight, smooth cut and can even be used to clean the tear-out left behind by larger, more powerful saws. The blade can be turned up to 90 degrees to allow even more complex cuts, including dovetails and other joins. And since this model uses blades with or without pins, you’ll have more options for replacement blades.
Where negative comments are concerned, there are not many issues that come to light. An occasional piece may make it through the inspection process with a faulty chrome application, but the tool is simple and well designed, leaving little room for problems. It might be nice to have the option of tightening the blade from either end since the handle adjustment can be tricky, but the handle adjuster is more common than any other method. Similarly, it may take a little practice to get the hang of properly tensioning the blade, but it will be easy after a few changes.
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The Olson SF63510 takes the adjustable blade to another level, giving you a full 360 degree turning radius. It’s also even lighter than the Robert Larson model, however also more likely to bend under extreme treatment. This model will also allow you tighten the blade from either end, making it easier to tension the blade correctly and reducing “drift” in straight cuts. The biggest problem you may encounter is that this little gem is designed for light applications such as coping joints for pine trim, and may not work as well for hardwood or complex operations. Some people have reported that the dual tensioners are hard to get used to, affecting the quality of initial cuts, but this is not actually a fault in the tool.