5 Best Coping Sled for Safe and Clean End Grain Cuts

Using a router table for profiling the end grain of your woodblock with tools other than a coping sled is a difficult task to do. What coping sled does is, works like a jig for the router table to hold the block you are working on. You will get excellent cuts for making tight joints by using the best coping sled. Coping sleds also secure your wood piece from getting unexpected cutting and damaging your wood piece.

Purpose of a Coping Sled

Image Product Details   Price
Woodpeckers Router Table Coping Sled Woodpeckers Router Table Coping Sled 3.49 kg, Up to 5 and ½ inch Width, Safety Aspect Check Price
Fulton Rail Guide Coping Sled PRO Fulton Rail Guide Coping Sled PRO 3.75 Pounds, Adjustable Toggle Clamp, Sacrificial Block Check Price
Rockler 921727 Rail Coping Sled Rockler 921727 Rail Coping Sled Sacrificial Block, One Handed, 5 inches to 1.5 inches Check Price
Woodhaven 526 Medium Coping Sled Woodhaven 526 Medium Coping Sled 6 Different Position, Adjustable Handle, 6 inches Check Price
MLCS 9548 Deluxe Coping Safety Sled MLCS 9548 Deluxe Coping Safety Sled Adjustable Handle, Maximum 500 Pounds, 4.5 inches Check Price

When you want to shape the end grain, you will run into some problems. Some problems can endanger your safety, and some others are related to your woodblock. You can face an alignment issue where the block may start wobbling. The board can also kickback from the router table as you don’t have enough reference area while you are working with end grain. The main issue is the tear-out of the rear side.

You can solve these issues in various ways, but the easiest way is using a coping sled. A coping sled makes end grain cut safe and accurate. Coping sled guides along the fence using a guide and keeps a perfect alignment. Some coping sleds don’t have a guide; instead, they use the router table’s mitre slot for guiding the woodblock.

To hold the block, a coping sled has two fences. One of the fences is moveable so that you can use different sizes of blocks to fit in the coping sled. Coping sleds also have clamps to hold the block and give downward pressure. So, when you feed the block into the router bit, the block will neither rotate nor kick back. This way, you will have a more controlled cut.

You will be glad to know that you can use any coping sled with any router table available. So, you can choose any size and shape of coping sleds for your woodworking. Coping sleds will help you perfectly make rail and style doors, tenon joints, finger joints, and different lap joints. Overall, coping sleds will give you nice and clean cuts to those projects where you need to cut or shape the end grain of a block.

List of 5 Best Coping Sled for Secure Wood Shaping

As I intend to introduce you to some best coping sleds out there, I have researched for you. The result of my research is the below list of coping sleds where I have also mentioned why they are best. Choose the one that matches your needs.

1. Woodpeckers Router Table Coping Sled

Woodpeckers Router Table Coping Sled

Good quality and design with comfort to operate, this is all about the router table coping sled introduced by Woodpeckers. This coping sled has all the features to ease your end grain profiling.

The coping sled has a top plate and a fence for holding the workpiece tightly from both sides. The top plate is movable so that you can fit boards of different sizes. You can fit up to 5 and ½ inch width blocks by moving the top plate. The top plate and the fence will prevent your block from rotating.

There are also two clamps attached with a clamp base for holding the block down. The clamps sit on the face grain of your block and apply downward pressure. This way, the clamps prevent the block from kicking back or lifting. The clamp base is adjustable. So, you can place the clamps to the center end grain of your block by adjusting the base.

The body of the sled is made of aluminum and weighs about 3.49kg. You can easily move the coping sled along the router table surface and get your desired task done.

One of the effective features of the coping sled is the clear guide. You don’t have to place the sled on the T-slot or miter slot of the router table to begin working. Instead, the clear guide helps you run the sled alongside the fence to give you precise work. You can also see through the detailed guide for monitoring your work.

Pros

  • Clear and detailed step by step instructions included
  • Build with top quality material
  • Clear guide available for monitoring your work
  • Assembling the sled doesn’t require much effort
  • The coping sled has a good safety aspect

Cons

  • Clamp for holding the backer scrap isn’t available

2. Fulton Rail Guide Coping Sled PRO

Fulton Rail Guide Coping Sled PRO

If you prefer working with tools made of wood for your woodworking, then the Fulton coping sled is for you. Whether you want to make doors or drawer fronts, cutting end grain is so much easy with this coping sled. The coping sled will give you pure safety from the router bit as well as accuracy in your task.

The sled is built with MDF which is made from separated wood fibers. The surface of the sled base is laminated to give you a smooth feel. You can flawlessly handle the sled as the weight is only about 3.75 pounds.

For reference, the sled uses the router fence instead of the miter slot. So, you don’t have to adjust the fence according to the coping sled. The sled has a guide build with a transparent plastic material called acrylic. This guide is placed 2 inches above the base and references the router fence. With the help of the guide, you can run your wood piece attached to the sled without cutting your sled. The crystal-clear guide also gives you protection from flying wood wastes. 

With an adjustable fence and large clamp, your block will not move a bit from the sled while working. The adjustable fence has an abrasive strip attached to the block holding side, making trapping the block more perfect.

Fulton also provides a sacrificial block with the coping sled. So, you don’t have to go through the making or finding a wood scrap. You can use the provided sacrificial block to avoid tear-out, which is a common problem while profiling end grain.

Pros

  • Assembling the parts is easy
  • An adjustable toggle clamp is available
  • The package contains a sacrificial block
  • Provides strong safety
  • An abrasive strip is attached to the fence for holding pieces very firmly

Cons

  • The base of the sled is a bit thick

Know More: 6 Best Router for Flattening Slabs Accurately

3. Rockler 921727 Rail Coping Sled

Rockler 921727 Rail Coping Sled

For safe working and getting quality cuts from your router table, the Rockler coping sled will be an excellent choice for you. This coping sled is not only easy in operating but also easy in getting precise cuts every time. It will make your working environment safer and sounder.

For providing you with a comfortable grip with the coping sled, there are two round handles to run the sled along the router fence. The coping sled has a clear guide that sits on the router fence 2-inch from the table. The clear guide keeps the sled maintaining a suitable distance from the router bit. So, you don’t accidentally damage the sled while working with it. You can also track the progress of your end grain profiling through the clear guide. This gives you more organized work and better output.

To prevent tear-out, the coping sled comes with a sacrificial block attached to the sled base. You can replace this sacrificial block with your preferable block that matches your workpiece. The sacrificial block also works as one of the fences for holding your workpiece. Another fence is attached with an abrasive strip and is moveable. The fences will prevent your woodblock from rotating.

There is a toggle clamp that you can operate in one hand makes your block unmovable. By pressing the red handle down, you can make the clamp hold down the block.

You can place various sizes of blocks in the coping sled. The maximum block dimension the sled can handle is 5-inch width and 1 and 1/4-inch thick.

Pros

  • Two handles provide running the sled from any angle
  • A sacrificial block is available
  • The clamp can be operated in one hand
  • Makes end-grain routing safe and accurate
  • The sacrificial block is replaceable

Cons

  • Only one clamp is available for holding down a workpiece

4. Woodhaven 526 Medium Coping Sled

aven 526 Medium Coping Sled

You can do any project with end grain cutting with the Woodhaven medium coping sled from big to small projects. Whether you are a professional or a DIYer, the coping sled will be your necessity.

You can use this coping sled also for shaper or handheld routers. The coping sled has the flexibility of running along the router bit by referencing the fence or miter bar. For making the sled referencing the router fence, you have to use the edge of the base. On the other hand, referencing the miter bar can be done by using an adjustable miter bar that comes with the coping sled.

The miter bar is 11 and ¾-inch long and made of steel. You can mount the miter bar in 6 different locations positioned on the sled base. So, you can perfectly position the coping sled using the miter bar for a stable run against the router bit.

The handles are made in a way that gives you a comfortable grip at the utmost level. There are two handles, and both are adjustable. You can adjust the handles to your preferred position, providing the best support and smooth operation of the sled.

You don’t have to worry about the size of your workpieces, as the sled can accept the majority of workpiece lengths and widths. You can fit a maximum of 6-inch width of the block.

The coating of the base is a phenolic coating that will give you a bland feel. This coating will protect the sled from distorting the sled base from clamping pressure.

Pros

  • Works in both miter slot or against the router fence
  • The handles are adjustable
  • 6 different locations for mounting miter bar
  • Finishing doesn’t get damaged from clamping pressure
  • Compatible with the majority of workpiece lengths and widths

Cons

  • You have to cut a sacrificial fence

5. MLCS 9548 Deluxe Coping Safety Sled

MLCS 9548 Deluxe Coping Safety Sled

If you want a simple but effective coping sled then the MLCS coping sled will accomplish all your needs. Easy to handle, and to get nice end grain cuts is all about this coping sled. With a simple build mechanism, you can get used to working with the coping sled in a short time.

The handles are grooved and shaped to give you a sturdy grip in any position or any project. Both handles are adjustable. The bigger handle is attached to the base. The base has pre-drilled holes so that you can adjust and reposition the bigger handle. The smaller handle is attached to the moveable fence. So, when you adjust the fence, the smaller handle also gets adjusted automatically.

There are two clamps for holding down your workpiece. You can control both clamps using a single handle. If you press the handle down, both clamps will apply downward pressure upon your woodblock. Together, these clamps can hold down a maximum of 500 pounds weight.

The adjustable dual fence will help you to hold your woodblock more firmly. So, you will not get any damaged cuts from a wobbly workpiece if holding the piece is not strong or correct.

The coping sled can hold up to 4 and ¾-inch woodblock. This holding capacity will meet your maximum wood stock width.

The clear base of the coping sled will also give you a glossy feel with the best performance.

Pros

  • Both handles can be repositioned
  • The clamp has the capacity of holding down 500lb
  • The sled has a clear base
  • You can control dual pad clamp with a single hand
  • Can help to do small and narrow cuts

Cons

  • Clamping pressure will make the base flex slightly 

Know More: 5 Best Router Plane for Fine-Tuning Woodworking in 2022

Uses of Coping Sled

  1. To make perfectly flush cuts on the ends of molding or trim
  2. To cut rabbets or dadoes in the middle of a workpiece
  3. To cut coves or other curved profiles
  4. To cut precise, clean-edged slots for holding shelf brackets, door hinges, or other hardware
  5. To inlay wood, metal, or other materials into a workpiece
  6. To make template cuts for duplicating shapes or patterns
  7. To cut dovetails or other joinery

Things to Remember While Using a Coping Sled

You need to do a couple of things before you place the coping sled with a woodblock on your router table.

Align the Router Fence

First, set the alignment of the router fence according to the router bit so that you can set the depth of the cut. You can use a scale or a straight edge to do the aligning. Even though a coping sled barely cares about the alignment issue, keeping the fence aligned is a good practice. This way, you can produce better cope and stick joints.

Use a Wood Scrap

Make sure your end grain cut is at the right height and the correct depth; otherwise, you cannot join two pieces together. A router bit tends to tear out the lower side of the cut. To stop the tearing, you will need a scrap of wood that is either identical or has the same thickness as your actual block. Place the wood scrap behind your woodblock and make them both flush to the fence. Use the clamps of the coping sled to hold both your block and scrap. Having the scrap behind your block will not let the router bit tearing out the fibers of the block. Thus, you will get a tearless cut.

Wear Glasses

Most of the coping sleds have a guide strip that is placed a bit above the base of the coping sled. This strip runs along the fence for a controlled cut. The strip is also beneficial in preventing chips and dust from flying up and hitting your face. But you are recommended to wear protective glasses as the strip doesn’t give full protection.

Don’t Flip the Block

If you are profiling both end grains of your block, then you should remember one extra thing. After cutting one end grain and before cutting the other end grain, don’t flip the block. Flipping will leave the block having two different shapes of cuts on the two ends. This will mess with your door-making process as one end will have such cut that will face inside of your door. And another will have a cut to face outside of your door. To prevent this, just rotate the block, and you will get the same cuts on two ends.

Know More: A Router Sled vs Planer Showdown: Which is Better?

Tips and Tricks

  • When using a router coping sled, be sure to use a sharp bit and take light passes to avoid tear-out.
  • You can use a router coping sled to cut both inside and outside corners.
  • To cut an inside corner, simply position the molding in the sled so that the router bit will cut into the corner.
  • To cut an outside corner, position the molding so that the router bit will cut into the outside edge of the corner.
  • When cutting curves with a router coping sled, take your time and make small, gradual cuts to avoid breaking the molding.

Know More: Router Sled vs Hand Plane

Some Frequently Asked Question Answered

1. What Does a Coping Sled Do?

While cutting the end grain of a block, holding and feeding the block perpendicular to the router bit is difficult. This is where a coping sled comes in handy by holding the block strong and steady so that you can get clean cuts.

2. Where Does a Coping Sled is Used?

A coping sled is a common tool for router tables. There are also coping sleds available that you can use for the shaper and handheld router.

3. Does a Coping Sled Needs a Specific Router Table?

No, a coping sled can work with any router table you have.

Final Thoughts

I have reviewed the best coping sleds with the best performance to ease your working with the router table. If you have any sayings, then feel free to write them down below.

Wishing you the best of luck in your woodworking!

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