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Best tool for shaping crown molding copes

geoffhazel's picture

I had occasion to install some crown molding recently.  First I've done in quite a while.   Stained hemlock solid wood, not MDF.  I found that when coping the inside corners, it was difficult to get the coping saw at a sharp enough angle to remove enough wood, so I was resorting to various files and rasps with slow but eventual success.

 

Is there a power tool that efficiently removes excess material from the back of molding with speed and control?  I was wondering if a Dremel with some round rasp drum would be good (and does such a drum exist?) or perhaps someone has a tool or method they are happy with?

Some use........ (post #206857, reply #1 of 21)

The Collins coping foot on their jigsaw.    Freehand.

or a regular jigsaw with the Copemaster.

Others, an angle grinder with a pretty coarse sand disk on it.

 

google on these for more info.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


I( pulled up a couple of (post #206857, reply #3 of 21)

I( pulled up a couple of youtube videos  to watch each one.

 

Copemaster is a nice tool, if I was doing crown every day I'd consider it, but way too much tool for occasional use.  It's one thing to cope a one foot scrap, another one to have enough shop space to be coping the ends of 16 foot pieces.

The collins coping foot is nice, looks pretty efficient.


I can see that having a jig to hold the board at the proper angle when cutting would have really helped me.  I had it flat (horizontal) to support it, but that makes holding the coping saw  and from there I had a hard time getting the right angle on the saw, and wound up leaving a lot of material that had to be ground/sanded/filed off, which is what took the most time.

 

I've coped base with a grinder and sanding disk before, and it worked pretty well, although it was MDF base and left a huge mess of powdery dust all over me.
  It did a decent job, and not too slow, but I'm not sure I'd go for it with the mess it made.

There's another. (post #206857, reply #5 of 21)

EasyCoper-a set up jig you use your jigsaw with regular base to cut copes.  I've used one on a couple jobs and it does work.  Steady hand and good eye and it makes some of those hard to cope patterns easier to cut.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


There was a long thread on (post #206857, reply #2 of 21)

There was a long thread on coping maybe two years back, and a bunch of people raved about using some sort of sander/grinder.  But I don't recall the details.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

I don't install a ton of (post #206857, reply #4 of 21)

I don't install a ton of crown, when I do it's usually just one or two rooms at a time - but I just finished a full house with crown in almost every room and I ended up cutting away most of the waste with a coping saw and cleaning it up with a quick pass of the grinder with a masonry wheel on it. Can't say it's the best way for everyone but I I found the coping saw was quick and clean for roughing the cut and the hard grinder wheel let me get nice and crisp into corners and my copes ended up looking nice and tight - better than I was expecting.

jig saw (post #206857, reply #6 of 21)

I just use a jig saw with the factory base ,freehand seems to work for me 

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Just say no to crown (post #206857, reply #7 of 21)

Just say no to crown molding!  (I've never really cared for the stuff.)

But I recently bought a miniature Dremel-type tool at Harbor Freight ($8.99) that might be good for some cases -- the small size is easier to control than a full-size Dremel, and it's probably powerful enough unless you're working with some really hard wood.  Bits are a hair on the small side, though, for full-sized crown.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Multimaster (post #206857, reply #8 of 21)

I haven't tired it yet, because I just bought a multimaster:  But, I will try the multimaster the next tiem I have to cope something.

Rought it out with the jigsaw, and then use the multimaster instead of the old standby files and rasps. 

I have tried the 4-inch grinder with a carbide disk, but it isn't what the disc is designed for and I had images of the disc blowing apart sending shards all over the job, but Murphy's law causing at least two to hit me. 

Crown molding between the (post #206857, reply #9 of 21)

Crown molding between the wall and ceiling breaks the monotony of flat walls and adds interest. A coped joint is preferable to a mitered joint when two pieces meet at an inside corner. Since walls rarely meet at perfect 90-degree angles and corners are finished with drywall compound, a tight-fitting miter joint is difficult to achieve. On outside corners, the angles for miter cuts are easily measured to fit two pieces tightly together.


Yeah, and I think one of (post #206857, reply #10 of 21)

Yeah, and I think one of those new 3D printers from China would be the ideal way to get that tight fit.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

If not a really hardwood I (post #206857, reply #11 of 21)

If not a really hardwood I remove most of the material with a coping saw and then clean it up and make sure that back cut is well beyond necessary with a grinder with sanding disk on backing wheel. This allows for a tight fit on the 1st or 2nd try rather than continuing to tweak the cope and seat of the piece already up. 

I rarely found the need for (post #206857, reply #12 of 21)

I rarely found the need for anything more than a coping saw. A couple of tricks to it, though. First, I use an old Trojan saw like this: http://www.etsy.com/listing/92149707/vintage-trojan-coping-saw. It's stiffer than most of what's available off the shelf today. That's important because I install the blade with the teeth facing forward. A saw with too much flex can compress on the forward cutting stroke and the blade bends or falls out. (Most coping saws are meant to be used with the teeth facing the handle, so the blade is in tension during the cut. I don't like that because it splinters the face of the molding, and because I'm just used to cutting on the push stroke.) I also use a fine blade - 18 tpi, I think. Bigger teeth are grabby and detract from control. I don't push hard, but use a fairly rapid back and forth. This results in me making more strokes per inch of cut, but it also opens up the kerf a bit, making it easier to turn the blade. And yeah, I've coped miles of crown.

Andy Engel

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Andy (post #206857, reply #13 of 21)

I must think myself an Aussie.

While the blade tooth faces the handle-I cut with my hand below the work-pulling down-no splintering.

 

I find it easier to pull the blade through than to push.  

Showed the SIL how to install crown this weekend-and damned if it didn't turn out nice looking.  Ever try to explain coping?

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


"Ever try to explain (post #206857, reply #14 of 21)

"Ever try to explain coping?"

Yeah, it's kinda how I make my living.

Andy Engel

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Living? (post #206857, reply #15 of 21)

Further explains why you're not a rich man..................

 

are you?

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Only in my family and (post #206857, reply #17 of 21)

Only in my family and friends.

Smarmy enough for ya?

Andy Engel

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Andy (post #206857, reply #18 of 21)

I think I know what you mean........

but will look it up and get back to you.

 

 

 

That east coast dialect, is something else.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Andy- maybe its an NJ thing. (post #206857, reply #19 of 21)

Andy- maybe its an NJ thing. I was also taught to cope with the teeth facing away from the handle. I'm currently using an Olsen coping saw. It has a good, stiff frame. I've watched a lot of vids on coping, and have seen Gary Katz in person a couple of times. I'm pretty sure I'm just about as fast with a coping saw as any of the alternatives, at least on pine or MDF crown.

NJ Coping (post #206857, reply #20 of 21)

I learned to cope working in a pre-hung door shop. We coped all the door stops by hand. When anyone ran out of work, the routine was to grab a couple of bundles of stop legs, 45 them on the radial arm saw, and cope. I don't know how many thousands of stop legs I coped, but that translated into some wicked coping skills when I went on my own as a trim carpenter.

Andy Engel

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

First, I use an old Trojan (post #206857, reply #16 of 21)

First, I use an old Trojan saw like this: http://www.etsy.com/listing/92149707/vintage-trojan-coping-saw. It's stiffer than most of what's available off the shelf today.

 

TROJAN MANNNNNNNNNNNNN! :)

I have yet to see a (post #206857, reply #21 of 21)

I have yet to see a finish/trim carpenter cope faster/better than with a collins coping foot and a barrel grip jigsaw.   You don't need anything else and the Bosch 244 blade can take out large amounts of wood quickly or drawn backwards the wide set teeth can take off the smallest amount of material.  Most of the success of the coping foot is not in the tool, but in technique and everyone I've ever known that uses it agrees that there is a definite best way to use it and it takes a little practice to get over the learning curve.

 

Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.