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A coping sled is used mainly for creating cope and stick joints as well as rail & stile doors, lap joints or tenons. The sled helps create these joints both safely and accurately. When routing the narrow end grain it is a dangerous cut to make on a router table because the wood can easily kick out on you and destroy your work piece and possibly a finger tip. Even without a kick out, sliding a narrow end grain piece along the router fence has a tendency to wobble a little when you pass the fence gap creating a joint that gaps and simply doesn’t fit as tightly as these joints need to. One answer to this problem is a coping sled.
Woodpecker has been designing and manufacturing tools since 1983 and in that time has created many well-built tools for the woodworker starting with router tables and router mounting plates, but now their line consists of many different tools and jigs. Woodpecker is also one of the top suppliers of the Incra line of tools. I have used several Woodpecker tools and have yet to be disappointed and the coping sled does not break that tradition. Woodpecker manufactures their tools in the USA, unlike so many tool companies who have moved their manufacturing out of the US and to China or elsewhere.
The Woodpecker coping sled is built on a phenolic base, a material used frequently in woodworking jigs for its durability and stability. The unique hold down assembly uses a dual system of side and top down pressure which keeps the board firmly in place preventing any rotation due to the router speed and pressure. Once I locked down my work piece it was rather difficult to get it to shift. The only direction it would move was forward or backward and even this took an unreasonable amount of impact that would never be repeated in the typical use of the sled unless you dropped it. I dropped mine to see what can happen if it were knocked off a typical workbench and it came through with little more they a scratch, leaving the coping sled ready to continue its work. I loaded the sled with a variety of boards from 1 inch to the maximum width of 5 ½” and up to 1 1/2” thick. When moving the sled across the table it is easy to see what you are doing because the guide plate is made from a tough, clear material so your view is unobstructed. The guide tracks across the router fence rather then a miter slot. When changing boards I found the operation quick with excellent accuracy and repeatability. Also by placing a piece of scrap you can greatly reduce the chance of any tear out. The phenolic base allows the sled to slide smoothly across the surface of the router table.
Woodpecker’s coping sled sells for right around $140.00 a price under many of their competitor’s models that can sell for over $200.00. Yes you can find sleds for a lot less but the features and quality suffer greatly. So if your projects require these kinds of joints I definitely recommend the Woodpecker Coping Sled. Considering Its intelligent design and ease of use on top of the quality parts and manufacturing, it is difficult to find fault with this model.
It is difficult to put a price on safety, exactly how much are your fingers worth, let alone the cost of ruining stock with the price of hardwoods these days. Woodpecker displays a video of the coping sled on their website that contains a list of the features of their sled and I suggest you take a moment to watch it if you are considering buying one of these types of jigs.
Woodpecker is about to release a smaller version of their coping sled that will be available sometime in January 2013. If I am able to get a hold of the smaller model I will link in the test and review of this model as well. Also available is a 15 inch coping sled guide for wider stock. w For around $15.00 it is a reasonably priced add on for you to consider.
Name withheld by request