Coping Saw Blades

Is there a difference in cuts of copying saw blades with higher TPI? You bet. But the best reasons to make the switch may not be for the reason you’re thinking.

I’m beginning a new project that involves using my coping saw. Whenever I use this tool I immediately think back to my days building houses and installing the trim, especially baseboards. Each corner was coped for a better fit. (You cannot get away with simply butting to 45° cuts.)

Back then we worked primarily in pine. Coping saw blades for work in pine had 10 TPI. Mark it. Cut it. Fit it. That’s what was important.

Today, I’m using this saw differently. I’m cutting mahogany, and I’m not in a race to get the job done.

It’s Better to Switch Than Fight

While the cutting results differ little (as seen in the photo below) and it’s not the final edge anyway, there are reasons to change to a higher TPI. (I moved to a 28 TPI blade.) One reason is that starting your cut is easier.  Plus, making the cut is way more fluid, so you eliminate the herky-jerky movement, which makes it easier to follow your line. Turning corners and sawing arcs are a snap.

With the results of a 28 TPI cut at the top and a 10 TPI cut at the bottom, you can see a difference between the cuts of the two copying saw blades, but the results are not so different given that the edge receives additional refinement. But the finished cut is not the only reason to think about changing coping saw blades.

— Glen D. Huey

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