How to Change Coping Saw Blade

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A coping saw is a handsaw used to make coped joints and other delicate cutouts. It has a thin blade mounted between a U-shaped metal frame. The blade is designed such that it can be easily removed and replaced in case it malfunctions.

In this guide, we will show you how to change a coping saw blade. 

How to Change Coping Saw Blade

In order to understand how to replace a coping saw blade, it is inevitable that you first understand its mechanism. That is, how the different components join together to form the full body of the coping saw. 

Mechanism of the Coping Saw

Although there are different models of coping saws, the designs are closely similar. Generally, a standard coping saw has the following parts: 

  • A U-shaped or C-shaped metal frame
  • Thin steel blade 
  • Handle 
  • Two metal arms at each end of the metal frame
  • Two little pins on either end of the blade
Coping saw on a chair

The blade sits between the ends of the metal frame and is held in place by the two metal arms on both ends of the frame. These arms have small holes through which you pass the ends of the steel blades. 

When you tighten the coping and the frame pulls outwards to stretch it, the pins on either end of the blade pull against the metal arm to keep the blade from coming off. The handle is usually straight and attached to one end of the metal frame. You can use this handle to tighten and loosen the blade in most coping saw models.

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How to Remove a Coping Saw Blade

In order to replace the blade, you will first need to remove the old one. Follow these steps to do so. 

Step 1: Turn the Handle Anticlockwise 

If your coping saw model supports manipulating the blade using the handle (if the handle is attached to one of the arms), turning it anticlockwise will eliminate the tension on the tightened blade. This way it becomes easier to remove than when it is still taut. 

The blade will usually become loose after two or three rotations of the handle. 

Tip: In some coping saw models, you can simply squeeze the frame to release the blade or adjust the tension. 

Step 2: Remove the Old Blade 

After releasing the tension on the blade, it will probably just slip off the arms on its own. If it does not, remove the pins from each end of the blade then carefully remove the blade from one arm then the other.  

We don’t recommend that you remove it from both arms at the same time as this might injure you or twist and break the blade. 

How to Install a New Coping Saw Blade

Now that you have removed the old blade, it is time to install a new one. Here are the exact steps on how to do that.

Coping saw hanging on a wood

Step 1: Turn the Handle Anti-clockwise 

After removing the blade, the handle of the coping saw will usually be loose. However, just to be sure, turn it anti-clockwise again until you feel that there is no tension on the metal frame. 

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Step 2: Insert the New Blade 

Carefully insert the new blade into the holes or slots on the arms of the metal frame. Again, start with one end of the blade, then the other. Not both ends at the same time. 

Insert the blade so that the teeth face outwards and point towards the handle. We recommend this because a coping saw usually cuts on the pull stroke and not on the push stroke. 

Step 3: Turn the Handle Clockwise 

After positioning the blade inside the frame, it is now time to tighten it. To do this, twist the handle in a clockwise direction. When you do this, the frame will pull outwards causing the blade to stretch and become taut. Hold the blade with one hand until it is tight enough. 

Continue twisting until you feel that the blade is tight enough. However, do not overstretch as this might cause some parts of the coping saw to break or snap while cutting. 

Also, ensure that the pins that hold the blade in place are on the outer side of the metal arms before tightening. 

How to Adjust the Angle of the Coping Saw Blade 

There are some models of coping saws that allow you to adjust the angle of the coping saw. This comes in handy when you need to create intricate joints or cut difficult-to-reach areas. 

Here is how to easily adjust the blade’s angle: 

  1. Turn the handle in an anticlockwise direction until the blade is slightly loose. Don’t twist too much as this might cause the blade to come off. This is important because you can’t adjust the angle of the blade while it is still fully taut. 
  2. On both ends of the metal frame, there is some kind of flaps or levers. Turn these to adjust the angle of the blade to your liking. You should turn both levers to the same level to avoid twisting the blade. 
  3. You turn the levers towards the direction you want the blade to face. 
Man explaining how to change coping saw blade

When to Change a Coping Saw Blade

There are several instances that might make it necessary to change the coping saw blade. These include: 

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  • When the blade becomes worn out after a long period of usage 
  • When the blade breaks and becomes unfit for usage 
  • When some of the teeth break making it difficult to make smooth cuts 
  • When you want to use different sizes of teeth. 

Safety Tips When Changing Coping Saw Blade 

According to research published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information, most hand saws account for the vast majority of thumb injuries. The coping saw is no exception. It is, therefore, important that you keep some safety measures while handling it. 

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while changing the blade of a coping saw:

  • Do not touch the blade’s teeth with a bare hand. Wear protective heavy-duty gloves or just avoid touching the teeth. 
  • Do not put too much tension on the blade when tightening. This can cause it to snap while using and inflict an injury. 
  • If you will be testing the new blade, make sure to use some eyewear to protect yourself from the small particles produced while cutting. 

Conclusion

Replacing a coping saw blade is not difficult at all. The process may vary depending on the model of your coping saw. For instance, while you can loosen most using the handle, others use the frame. So figure out which model you have before embarking on the process. 

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.