Moldings for Fine Homebuilding – Quicker Coped

Photo of author
Written By Jim J Neal

Better jigsaw coping. A well-known secret among trim carpenters, the Collins Universal Coping Foot lets you use nearly any jigsaw to easily cope all kinds of trim and moldings. Photo: Brian McAward

There is no substitute for learning and understanding the basics of coping by hand. I teach each employee how to cope, file, and fit moldings with a hand coping saw and files. You must understand how to cope, the internal stresses of wood, how to safely remove material, and what you are doing before wielding a high-rpm reciprocating blade attached to a power tool. That said, once you grasp the basics, using a coping foot on a jigsaw can make the delicate task easier.

Roughly ten years ago I purchased a Collins Coping Foot, which is a dome-shaped, somewhat conical metal base that replaces the flat base on a jigsaw. The unique shape of the base and blade support (which almost “hugs” the blade) allows you to twist, turn, and angle the saw in any direction without binding or deflecting. It essentially turns your jigsaw into a handheld scroll saw (though less delicate and accurate) that can cut complex shapes and compound angles.

coping foot and shims
A universal fit. Shims provide clearance between the inside dome of the Coping Foot and the guide or roller on your saw. The kit includes a variety of shims plus hardware to fit most jigsaws. Photo: Rodney Diaz

While I typically use the attachment for coping moldings, it can also be used to remove the bulk of material for a tricky scribe or relief cut that would be hard to access with a larger power tool. I prefer to have a dedicated saw setup with the coping foot, but it is relatively easy to install and remove. The Collins Coping Foot makes fast, efficient, effortless work out of coping moldings and is just $35; for that amount of money and time savings, it is tough to beat.

Tyler Grace, owner of TRG Home Concepts in Haddon Heights, N.J.

From Fine Homebuilding #312