Wood Routers used in conjunction with Router Tables open up a whole new world of uses and one of those uses is cabinet door making. There are many different kinds of bits available from numerous manufacturers for making all sorts of different styles of doors ... and it is super easy to make them. Like all tools, setup is important in order to get good consistent results and one of the ways to help achieve this is using jigs. You can make doors several different ways, but using jigs can help give you repeatable, quality results, and one of the jigs to do this is Coping Sled. Basically, all a coping does is help to hold the wood for you as it passes past the router bit on the router table. This may sound easy, but when you car crosscutting wood on a router table and looking for very fine results to get nice tight joint connections, a copying jig is one way of helping to achieve this.

Watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/embed/I4pH2o40CNE

To make my more basic Coping Sled I rummaged around my pile of used plywood and came up with a couple of ideal pieces ...
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 The first piece was some 1/4" Baltic Birch plywood (excellent quality plywood and ideal for jig making). The piece was 6 inches wide and a 10 inches long. I would have liked a slightly wider piece, but 6 inches is working fine. The plywood I used for the top was what was called a "cabinet grade" plywood which is between construction (the lowest quality plywood) and Baltic Birch ( the best quality plywood). The chunk I had was basically the same size as the base 3/4" x 6" x 9" and would work fine.

Router table coping jig

I made sure the 1/4" base plywood had one good perfectly straight side and that's all I needed for that piece. The 3/4" piece I also made sure it had one very straight edge, then I made a cut on it that left me with a 3" wide piece and a 6" wide piece. The 3" would act as an abutment piece for when I glue the main piece to the base. I did this because I knew the glue would be very slippery and I wanted the top piece to be absolutely square to the straight edge of the base.

As you can see in the video I used lots of clamps to make sure the base was glued firmly and accurately to the top 3/4" piece ... then I let it harden overnight to make sure it wouldn't move.

The next day after removing the clamps, I checked again with my steel square and the top was perfect at 90 degrees from the edge.

The only real final step was to attach the toggle clamps to the top using suitable screws to hold the clamps firmly. 

wood router coping

Next was to try out the jig to see how well it would work. After cutting a couple of text pieces of wood, I set one into the Coping Sled and clamped it down. As I was running the first piece through the router bit, for some reason sled stopped near the end. I re-ran the piece of wood through the router and it went through the second time fine. I discovered after that the split fence on the router table, the left side had come slightly loose enough that it could prevent the wood from passing, which is likely what happened the first time. All it took was a quick tighten on the knob and fence was locked in place again. A good reminder for me to check that fence more often.

I checked the first "coped" edge and even though I ran it through twice, it was still perfectly at 90 degrees, but I decided to cut the end off and re-do the cut because, after this was a text piece.

The second cut went smoothly and when then I cut the groves in the frames and fitted the coped end to see how it fit. No surprise, the coping sled did its job and made a perfect fitting joint ... exactly what I was looking for, and next time I make cabinet doors, the coping sled will ensure all the door frames will fit tightly and align the way they should ...

Copyright Colin Knecht

coping jig



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