How to Use a Coping Saw to Cut and Cope Chair Rail Molding

This is the easy way to get tight-fitting joints on inside corners.

This is the easy way to get tight-fitting joints on inside corners. Discover how to create perfect, tight-fitting inside joints on chair rail molding. The same techniques work for crown and base molding.

Learn how to use a coping saw and you can make difficult-looking trim joints with ease. Tackle any trim project with the skills you’ll learn in this video.

What is a Coping Saw?

A coping saw is a type of bow saw that can create intricate cuts in woodworking. Go with a coping saw to make coped rather than mitered corners.

Coping is the precise shaping of the end of a piece of wood to fit against another one. A thin blade locks into a ridged steel frame. For this project, it’s best for the teeth to face down, toward the handle.

How to Use Coping Saw

A coping saw operates like any other saw. Place the blade against the section of wood you’re cutting  and work it in a back-and-forth motion until you complete the cut.

How to Cut Moldings to Fit

Cut each piece of molding at a 45-degree angle with a miter saw. The edge created by the miter cut is the line you will follow with the coping saw.

Set the molding down on the work bench. Make your cut vertically and perpendicular to the piece of wood. Cut along the miter cut edge. As you cut, tip the saw at an angle to ensure a nice, tight fit.

You may find it’s easier to cut away a section, then restart the cut to get a better approach on the cut. Sometimes you may need to tune the cut a bit with a file. Depending on the configuration of the trim, you may need to hone your skills by coping both ends of the last piece.

The next time you’re installing trim, get out your coping saw and make tight fitting joints you’ll be proud to show off.