coping saw

Best Coping Saw Reviews and Buying Guide 2019

Best Coping Saw Reviews 2019

Whether you have a coping joint or need to cut around metal or plastic pipes, it helps to have a high-quality coping saw on hand. However, coping saws are a notoriously opaque product to gauge with few specs or manufacturer notes provided. That is why we put together a list of the 5 best coping saw reviews of 2019. We also provide a thorough buyer’s guide and FAQ to help you navigate this market. We think the Robert Larson and Olson offer the best options for most people, but keep reading to see our best value.

Product Image
Best Seller
Coping Saw
Top Pick
Olson Saw SF63510 Coping Saw Frame Delude Coping Frame/End Screw
Best Value
IRWIN Tools ProTouch Coping Saw (2014400)
BAHCO 301 6 1/2 Inch Coping Saw
Stanley 15-104 Fatmax Coping Saw
Model
Coping Saw
Olson Saw SF63510 Coping Saw Frame Delude Coping Frame/End Screw
IRWIN Tools ProTouch Coping Saw (2014400)
BAHCO 301 6 1/2 Inch Coping Saw
Stanley 15-104 Fatmax Coping Saw
Customer Rating
126 Ratings
134 Ratings
48 Ratings
28 Ratings
108 Ratings
Prime
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-
Best Seller
Product Image
Coping Saw
Model
Coping Saw
Customer Rating
126 Ratings
Prime
Top Pick
Product Image
Olson Saw SF63510 Coping Saw Frame Delude Coping Frame/End Screw
Model
Olson Saw SF63510 Coping Saw Frame Delude Coping Frame/End Screw
Customer Rating
134 Ratings
Prime
Best Value
Product Image
IRWIN Tools ProTouch Coping Saw (2014400)
Model
IRWIN Tools ProTouch Coping Saw (2014400)
Customer Rating
48 Ratings
Prime
-
Product Image
BAHCO 301 6 1/2 Inch Coping Saw
Model
BAHCO 301 6 1/2 Inch Coping Saw
Customer Rating
28 Ratings
Prime
Product Image
Stanley 15-104 Fatmax Coping Saw
Model
Stanley 15-104 Fatmax Coping Saw
Customer Rating
108 Ratings
Prime
-

Robert Larson Coping Saw – Best Seller

Coping Saw
126 Ratings
Coping Saw
  • Product is manufactured in Germany

The Robert Larson Company might not be one of the more generally well-known hand tool manufacturers in the world, but it boasts an impressive reputation in woodworking circles. On top of that, Robert Larson hand tools are also rugged enough to earn a lot of prestige among high-end contractors as well. Part of this is likely due to the fact the Robert Larson has been making woodworking hand tools for well over a century– though the company only assumed its current name a little less than 4 decades ago. Regardless, the Robert Larson coping saw clearly does something right as not only is it our best seller coping saw, but it is also one of the more expensive products we reviewed too.

Great Build
Hand tools, in general, are fairly straightforward products that do not have too many, if any, moving parts. While this might make them easier to gauge from a spec perspective, it also means that it can be a bit more difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Thankfully, one of the best ways to do that with coping saws is to look at their overall build quality. More often than not, the best coping saws also often happen to be some of the most durable coping saws too. This is definitely the case with the Robert Larson coping saw which is actually responsible for both one of its best qualities as well as one of its worst. Specifically, the Robert Larson saw is able to generate and hold more tension than most of the other products on our list thanks to high-quality metal. At the same time, this means that you definitely need to apply a little bit more force and elbow grease when changing the blade. Thankfully, this does not seem to translate to broken components like we noticed with lesser coping saws.

Solid Cuts
The cut of a coping saw is largely determined by the blade, but there can be a number of qualities that influence how effectively the blade itself cuts. That said, the Robert Larson coping saw uses a superior build quality to avoid some of the more common pitfalls that lesser coping saws suffer which affect the quality of the cut. On top of that, the Robert Larson saw might be the best large coping saw that we reviewed with a throat of 5”. The blade included is made of high-quality materials and noted for lasting a bit longer than some of the other products we reviewed. It also offers a slightly finer cut with 16 teeth per inch as opposed to the more common 15 tpi coping saw blades commonly included with a base coping saw. Finally, the Robert Larson coping saw can rotate the blade a full 360-degrees to accommodate difficult cutting environments without much issue.

Coping Saw

Pros

  • Has a wooden handle
  • Can maintain high tension
  • Has 360-degree blade rotation
  • Is more durable than most
  • Has a 5” throat
  • Has 16 tpi

Cons

  • Is a more expensive coping saw
  • Is difficult to change the blade

Olson Saw SF63510 Coping Saw Frame Delude Coping Frame/End Screw – Top Pick

Sale
Olson Saw SF63510 Coping Saw Frame Delude Coping Frame/End Screw
134 Ratings
Olson Saw SF63510 Coping Saw Frame Delude Coping Frame/End Screw
  • This is a sturdy, professional saw that allows standard pin end coping saw blades to be tensioned at both ends
  • Blades can be turned 360 to saw in any direction- push or pull stroke
  • Hard wood handle

While not the oldest company on our list, the Olson Saw Company still has a long history that stretches back over a century. To be fair, the Olson Saw Co is currently owned by Blackstone Industries, LLC, but they do still specialize exclusively in saw blades. Even better than that, Olson Saw narrow their focus further and specialize in high-precision saw blades. However, just because Olson Saw is known for making quality saw blades that do not necessarily mean they accomplish the same feat for their saws. With the Olson Saw coping saw, you get a product that is significantly cheaper than some of the high-end products without true defects that other cheap coping saws might carry.

Decent Cut
To be clear, the Olson Saw coping saw is definitely more of a rough-cut coping saw than some of the other products on our list. Thankfully, Olson Saw also makes a wide range of different coping saw blades for whatever kind of cut you need to make. The blade included with their coping saw features 15 tpi and is more than capable of cutting through tough hardwoods. On top of that, the Olson coping saw can also rotate the blade 360-degrees to better accommodate less than ideal cutting circumstances. The Olson Saw is also a suitable large coping saw with a 5” throat to provide a little bit more clearance when cutting a hole. Finally, to make sure you do not have to worry about the Olson coping saw coming apart in your hand, they also include a sturdy wooden handle.

Tensioner Troubles
Though the Olson Saw coping saw is a less expensive option it still seeks to offer some high-quality features. One of the less common features that the Olson coping saw sports is a dual tensioning system. Along with the traditional handle tensioner, you can actually also use the coping saw pins– not the blade pins– to tension the blade. Unfortunately, this can lead to some inconsistent results and is a bit difficult to actually do on the fly. This actually brings up another potential issue with the Olson coping saw tension system and its build quality. It is not so much that the Olson Saw coping saw is fragile, but the tensioner has a tendency to affect the handle. Specifically, when you use high tension the handle will move out of alignment. This technically does not impact the blade’s ability to cut straight, but it can make holding the coping saw a bit tricky.

Olson Saw SF63510 Coping Saw Frame Delude Coping Frame/End Screw

Pros

  • Is a less expensive coping saw
  • Has a wooden handle
  • Has 360-degree blade rotation
  • Has a 5” throat
  • Has 15 tpi
  • Has dual blade tensioning

Cons

  • Is not the most stable
  • Is not the easiest to tension

IRWIN Tools ProTouch Coping Saw (2014400) – Best Value

IRWIN Tools ProTouch Coping Saw (2014400)
48 Ratings
IRWIN Tools ProTouch Coping Saw (2014400)
  • High-speed steel coping saw blades cut through most materials with ease
  • A Flat-Bar frame and DuraSteel pins on this coping saw provide durable use
  • This coping saw has an ergonomic ProTouch handle to give added comfort

While just founded a bit too late to be the oldest company that we reviewed, IRWIN Tools is another company that is well over a century old. On the other hand, IRWIN Tools does not specialize exclusively in delicate cutting saws or even woodworking tools more broadly. Instead, IRWIN Tools offers something for virtually every construction and handy profession on the market– including power tools. That said, they definitely keep pushing the boundaries, even with hand tools that have not changed much in multiple centuries and made our best value spot.

Decent Innovation
One thing that the IRWIN Tools coping saw gets right is that they are willing to take risks to provide a potentially superior product. For instance, the IRWIN coping saw comes with the company’s patented DuraSteel pins which are strong enough to allow for fairly high tension on the saw blade. On top of that, this coping saw also comes with IRWIN’s patented Flat-Bar frame which maintains its strength while shedding some weight. Even better, the IRWIN Tools coping saw also comes with the largest throat at 5 ½” and is the largest coping saw that we reviewed. Finally, the IRWIN coping saw makes using it for long periods of time easier with their patented ProTouch handle which features a triangular soft-grip.

Tough Sledding
When you look for a budget-friendly product, you want to make sure that the expected flaws are not impossible to get around. Inconveniences can be dealt with, but a poor build quality or lower durability does not provide value. Thankfully, and perhaps unfortunately, the issues with the IRWIN coping saw have more to do with the DuraSteel pins. At the least, you do not have to worry about the pins breaking or messing up the saw blade. On the other hand, they can be fairly difficult to use and make tensioning the blade more trouble than we would like. On top of that, they also make it a bit more difficult to change the blade altogether, though the frame influences that too.

IRWIN Tools ProTouch Coping Saw (2014400)

Pros

  • Is a less expensive coping saw
  • Has a ProTouch handle
  • Has DuraSteel pins
  • Has a 5 ½” throat depth
  • Can maintain high tension
  • Has 17 tpi

Cons

  • Is difficult to rotate the blade
  • Is difficult to change the blade

BAHCO 301 6 1/2 Inch Coping Saw – Runner Up

BAHCO 301 6 1/2 Inch Coping Saw
28 Ratings
BAHCO 301 6 1/2 Inch Coping Saw
  • Nickel-plated steel frame
  • Orange-lacquered, wooden beech handle
  • Interchangeable blade fitted on retaining pins, turnable 360Degree

Once again, another maker of hand tools with a history stretching back over a century enters our list. However, BAHCO is definitely unique in that it first started a general steel manufacturer before moving into fishing accessories. That said, it was not long before BAHCO began making high-quality hand saws, and the company did not look back since. While the BAHCO is definitely higher quality than some of the coping saws ranked above it, it also comes with a larger price tag. On top of that, it features a somewhat unique and non-standard design that will not fit everyone’s tastes equally.

Great Build
When you spend more money on a hand tool, and especially a coping saw, you expect to get something out of it. With the BAHCO coping saw, one of the best qualities is its tough and durable build quality. For instance, not only is the BAHCO frame made of steel, but the steel is nickel-plated which will help prevent rust and other types of corrosion. This is especially useful if you plan to use the BAHCO coping saw to cut pipes or anything with chemicals in or around it. That said, you will probably need to change out the blade if you do as the BAHCO coping saw comes with the coarsest blade on our list at 14 tpi.

Odd Cut
To be clear, it is not so much that the BAHCO coping saw cuts poorly as much as it takes some time to get used to its unique design. Specifically, this is the only coping saw on our list that features a slightly uneven mounting line. While this does not prevent the BAHCO coping saw from cutting accurately with precision, it does feel odd to some people who are used to a square mounting system. Still, the BAHCO allows for a complete 360-degree rotation of the blade while the slanted mount serves as sort of a point for your strokes. This also does not seem to impact the BAHCO coping saw’s ability to maintain a high-blade tension without some of the issues of cheaper coping saws.

BAHCO 301 6 1/2 Inch Coping Saw

Pros

  • Has a wooden handle
  • Has a 5” throat
  • Can maintain high tension
  • Has 14 tpi
  • Has a nickel-plated steel frame
  • Has 360-degree blade rotation

Cons

  • Is a more expensive coping saw
  • Has an uneven blade alignment

Stanley 15-104 Fatmax Coping Saw – Also Consider

Stanley 15-104 Fatmax Coping Saw
108 Ratings
Stanley 15-104 Fatmax Coping Saw
  • Hardened, tempered blade provides clean, controlled cutting action
  • Ergonomically designed cushion grip handle for comfort
  • Blade Length: 6 1/2 inch; Overall Length: 13 1/4 inch; Throat Depth: 4 3/4 inch

Though we may have hosted some reputable and venerable companies on our list, none of them come close to Stanley Tools. First, this is easily the oldest company we reviewed with a history that stretches back one a century and a half. On top of that, Stanely is one of the few American companies that were large and reputable enough to not be acquired by BLACK+DECKER but merged with them as equal partners instead. Of course, while Stanley may provide a great product at a great price, they do not always focus on top performance.

Nice Action
Though the Stanley Fatmax coping saw definitely comes with its problems, all cheap coping saws do. On the plus side, this might be the best coping saw for beginners as it does not require you to know how to adjust the blade’s position by eye. Instead, this is the only coping saw on our list that actually provides detents, 8 in total, which let you easily line up the saw blade without too much fuss. It also features a soft-grip ergonomic handle, so you do not have to worry about hand fatigue after prolonged use. The blade that comes with the coping saw is made of tempered high-carbon steel and 15 tpi. This allows you to use it on both wood as well as softer metals– though it is primarily meant for wood.

Iffy Cuts
High-precision hand tools may not be Stanley’s specialty as the Fatmax coping saw definitely comes with some flaws. One of the biggest issues with this coping saw is that the handle does not feel stable while making the cut and wiggles around. This issue is made all the more troublesome with the fact that the Stanley coping saw uses the traditional handle tensioning method. Unfortunately, this is one of the coping saws that actually changes tension as you make a cut without properly bracing it. Still, it does allow for cuts in more cramped quarters as it has a smaller profile and a 4 ¾” throat.

Stanley 15-104 Fatmax Coping Saw

Pros

  • Is a less expensive coping saw
  • Has an ergonomic handle
  • Has a tempered, high-carbon steel blade
  • Has 15 tpi
  • Has a 4 ¾” throat
  • Has 8 rotation detents

Cons

  • Has a fiddly tension system
  • Is not the most stable

Best Coping Saw Buying Guide 2019

Materials

This is likely one of the most important things to consider when choosing a coping saw as this will largely determine the overall build quality of the tool. While other aspects impact the minor mechanisms involved, the build quality generally helps determine how high of tension the coping saw can maintain. In this instance, you are going to want to look for a coping saw that uses high-grade metal for the frame as well as the components outside of the handle. Some of the top-tier coping saws even treat their metal with water-resistant materials to prevent rust or corrosion.

Throat

The throat of a coping saw is the opening between the saw blade and the frame and plays an important role in determining what type of projects the saw will work with and in what spaces. This is not strictly a “bigger is better” situation however as a smaller throat allows you to cut more effectively in cramped quarters. Considering how often coping saws are used for cutting pipes, this can be a real timesaver in the right circumstance. That said, the larger the throat of the coping saw, the larger the workpiece you can cut a hole into. Of course, for extremely large workpieces, you are still going to want to go ahead and get a fret saw.

Connection

There are actually a couple of different types of connections for coping saws, though one is far more common than the other. The most common type of coping saw connection is the pin-style where the coping saw blades have two pins at the end of the blade which slip into the coping saw pin system. Some coping saws will actually include a blade tensioning system as part of the pin connections, though this is not necessarily the norm. The other connection method allows for either the pin system but also includes the ability to attach the open coping blades used in power coping saws.

Tension

Because coping saw blades are so thin, you will need your coping saw to maintain a fairly high amount of tension. There are a couple of different qualities that factor into this with the “spring” of the frame being one of the more important. This is basically how easy it is for the frame to flex and how well it returns to its original shape once the blade is installed. Outside of the frame, most coping saws use a tension system where you twist the handle to adjust the frame’s position. Some coping saws also include the ability to adjust the blade’s tension from the holding pins, but this can be a bit more difficult.

Ergonomics

While it may not seem like that big of a deal, the ergonomics of a coping saw can be important if you expect to use the coping saw for copious amounts of time all at once. In this instance, you will want to look for a coping saw that generates less hand fatigue despite using it for hours on end. One of the easiest ways to reduce hand fatigue is to reduce the weight of the coping saw, but this can be a double-edged sword as you will still want to make sure that the coping saw is sturdy enough to handle cutting tough hardwoods. The other way to make using a coping saw easier for extended periods of time is to include an ergonomic handle. An ergonomic handle usually includes a soft-grip coating and some even feature specially tapered designs.

FAQ’s

Why a Coping Saw?

Coping saws are interesting in that, despite their somewhat simple design, they are exceptionally versatile hand tools. That said, there are definitely a couple of situations where you are far more likely to use a coping saw. Probably the most common reason to use a coping saw comes down to cutting trim, though even here, there are numerous applications. Still, when cutting trim, coping saws serve best for cutting coping joints, though they can also be used to cut miters and bevels. While there are a number of power saws that can accomplish all of these tasks, the coping saw is able to make coping joints more accurately and efficiently.

Again, there are a number of different power saws that can accomplish similar, simpler cuts, but the sheer force of their cutting action often threatens to make the cut less precise or even ruin the workpiece. As such, while the coping saw might require a bit more time and effort, the ability to control the cutting force as well as make any micro-adjustment to cut line offers too much benefit to ignore.

This part of the reason that the coping saw, which has been around for over 2 centuries, has seen little advancement in design. There are few improvements you make to the build of a coping saw which will actually allow you to cut coping joints better. Of course, the cutting precision of a coping saw translates just as well with other types of unusual cuts.

For example, making cuts with organic lines that swoop and curve without ruining the workpiece is fairly easy with a coping saw. However, the second most common type of cut made with a coping saw is cutting a hole inside of a workpiece. Jigsaws and a few other power saws can accomplish this too, but none of them offer you the kind of precision or control that a coping saw does.

That said, making coped joints is not the only application of a coping saw as different blades allow you to cut a wide variety of materials. While this is still true for similar power saws, the ability to make these cuts with precision and without much risk to the workpiece becomes all the more prominent. While metal is arguably the most common material outside of wood that a coping saw is used to cut, masonry might be the most necessary. This is because stone of any type, whether natural or fabricated, has a tendency to be significantly more brittle than other materials. Aside from the fact that stone is also often fairly hard, this brittleness makes it especially easy to ruin the workpiece with the application of too much force.

What About Blades?

A quick glance is all it takes to see that a coping saw is not like most other saws– regardless of whether they are hand saws or power saws. Rather than using a large blade with long teeth and deep gullets for an aggressive cutting action, the coping saw blade features small teeth with extremely short gullets. To be fair, this is not to suggest that coping saw blades do not come with teeth and gullet configurations that allow for more or less aggressive cuts. However, even a coarse cut coping saw blade will still feature shorter teeth and shallower gullets than most other types of saw.

On top of that, coping saws do not use the solid body design with their frames using an open design instead. In this way, a coping saw more closely resembles a hacksaw than most of the other types of saws in a workshop. However, hacksaws were originally designed to cut metal whereas coping saws specialize in other types of cuts. At the same time, coping saws can also be used to cut far more materials than just wood, though you will need specialized blades to do so.

That said, coping saws might be some of the more versatile hand saws on the market, if for no other reason than because of their extreme versatility. Of course, as mentioned prior, you should likely still use them for their designated purpose unless you are willing to expend significant amounts of time and energy for that unparalleled precision.

Regardless, coping saws can be fitted with blades made to cut metal, plastic, and even tile masonry. Keep in mind that different manufacturers will often use different standards when marketing a blade for cutting one type of material compared to another. In this instance, it is a better idea to gauge the blade for the material by its tpi as mentioned earlier.

What to Look for?

Most coping saws perform admirably, especially when cutting softer woods like pine, but there are some points of distinction which can seriously affect how convenient the saw is to use. In this case, the different mechanisms that adjust and tension the blade are often some of the most important. Unfortunately, there is no set standard or easy to read scale, so you must rely on reviews like ours which analyze the different saws.

On the other hand, just because a coping saw tensions the blade with the handle does not mean that you have to worry about the sawing action affecting the tension. This really comes down to how the manufacturer makes the handle tension mechanism and whether it turns easily or not. While this creates a bit of a catch-22, we prefer coping saws that are a bit tougher to tension as it means you do not have to worry about the blade losing tension while you make your cutting stroke.

While durability is a major factor for anything you purchase and use, it might be a bit more important for a coping saw. The reason for this is that coping saws are often delicate hand tools that can be thrown out of alignment with modest force. At the same time, coping saws are also used for incredibly precise work, so even minor misalignments can spell major headaches. Since coping saws do not differ that much in terms of their engineering, the main thing to look for is high-quality materials.

The ergonomics of a coping saw can actually be one of the more important factors in your decision, but this really depends on how often you use a coping saw in the first place. If you find yourself regularly using a coping saw, then you would do well getting one that features an ergonomic design. While the weight can matter when using a coping saw for hours at a time, easily the most important ergonomic feature in this context is a soft-grip handle.

One thing that you do not necessarily need to worry about quite so much is the quality of the starting blade. Granted, if you choose a coping saw that only takes specific types of blades this might be a bit more important, but most coping saws accept a wide variety of blades from different manufacturers.

The main reason this should not be a primary concern is that coping saw blades have a tendency to break– even the good ones. It is likely part of the reason that many manufacturers sell their coping saw blades in packs of 12. With this being the case, you should expect to replace and potentially replace blades at a fairly high rate compared to many other types of saw blades.

Conclusion

Considering how precise the work coping saws do is, it is incredibly important that you choose the right one for your project. If you want a workhorse coping saw that can maintain its precision without issue, the Robert Larson is a great option. If you do not mind fiddling around with your coping saw a bit to save a little money, the Olson Saws is solid. The Irwin Tools coping saw brings a lot of new ideas to the table but may need a bit more refining. The BAHCO coping saw is also well-made, but it does have a somewhat uncommon design that may not be comfortable for everyone. Finally, the Stanley also comes with some fiddly issues, but the price is right and the quality acceptable.