Coping saw for Cutting metal

A coping saw is typically used for cutting curves and intricate shapes in wood, plastic, and other soft materials. It is not commonly used for cutting metal, significantly harder metals like steel or aluminum, because a coping saw’s thin, fine-toothed blade is not well-suited for metal cutting.

Use tools designed specifically for cutting metal

Coping Saw For cutting metal, significantly thicker or harder metals, you would typically use tools designed specifically for that purpose, such as:

  • Hacksaw: A hacksaw is a hand tool with a fine-toothed blade for cutting metal. It can be used for straight cuts and may be fitted with a bi-metal or high-speed steel blade for cutting through harder metals.
  • It is versatile and can be used for straight and curved cuts but it requires some skill and safety precautions.
  • Jigsaw: A jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade can make curved or intricate cuts in thinner metal sheets.
  • Plasma Cutter: For precision and high-speed metal cutting, a plasma cutter is a powerful tool that uses an electrically conductive gas to create a high-temperature plasma arc to cut through metal.
  • Oxy-Fuel Torch: An oxy-fuel torch combines oxygen and fuel gas (like acetylene) to create a high-temperature flame for cutting and welding metal.

Types of Coping Saw Blades

 The choice of the coping saw blade largely depends on the material you’re cutting and the precision you require. Here are some common types of coping saw blades:

1.     Standard Blades: These blades typically have fine teeth and are suitable for cutting wood and plastic. They are the most common type of coping saw blades and come in various tooth counts, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your specific cutting needs.

2.     Skip-Tooth Blades: Skip-tooth blades have widely spaced teeth with gaps in between. They are used for faster, rougher cuts in wood and plastic. The gaps help prevent the blade from getting clogged with sawdust.

3.     Metal-Cutting Blades: Blades designed for cutting metal, such as aluminum or brass, have smaller, finer teeth and are often made from high-speed steel (HSS) or bi-metal. They can also be used for cutting other non-ferrous materials like plastic and fiberglass.

4.     Diamond Grit Blades: Diamond grit blades are coated with industrial diamonds and are used for cutting hard materials like glass, tile, ceramics, and some metals. They are not common in coping saws but are available for specialized applications.

5.     Scroll Blades: Scroll blades have reverse teeth, with some pointing upward and others pointing downward. This configuration allows for more intricate and precise scrollwork and fine detail cutting in wood.

6.     Spiral Blades: Spiral blades have teeth that spiral around the blade, which enables them to cut in any direction, making them suitable for intricate and tight curves in wood and plastic.

7.     Fine-Tooth Blades: Fine-tooth blades have closely spaced teeth, providing a smoother and finer cut. They are great for detail work and precision cutting in wood.

8. Coarse-tooth Blades: Coarse-tooth blades have more significant gaps between teeth, allowing for faster cutting but with a rougher finish. They help remove material quickly.

9.     Raker Blades: Raker blades combine regular and deeper-set “raker” teeth. These blades are suitable for faster cutting in wood and can handle straight cuts and curves.

How to Safely Use a Coping Saw

Using a coping saw safely is essential to prevent accidents and injuries. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to safely use a coping saw:

  • Select the Right Blade: Choose the appropriate coping saw blade for your specific material and cutting needs.
  • Mark Your Cutting Line: Use a pencil or a marking tool to draw the cutting line on the material you’ll be cutting. Take your time to make accurate marks, especially if you’re making precise cuts.
  • Secure the Workpiece: Clamp or secure the workpiece firmly using clamps or a workbench vise. This ensures that the material won’t move while you’re cutting, preventing accidents and improving accuracy.
  • Position the Saw: Hold the coping saw with one hand on the handle and the other on the frame, near the blade. Make sure the blade is perpendicular to the material’s surface.
  • Start the Cut: Position the coping saw blade just outside the waste area (the part you’re removing) and begin cutting by applying gentle, controlled pressure. Let the saw blade work, and don’t force it through the material.
  • Use a Steady Pace: Move the saw back and forth with a steady, controlled pace. Keep your strokes smooth and consistent. Avoid rushing or making sudden jerky movements.
  • Follow the Cutting Line: Keep your eye on the cutting line you marked, and guide the saw along it. Make gradual turns for curved or intricate cuts by rotating the saw’s frame while maintaining the same angle with the material.
  • Reduce Blade Friction: To improve cutting efficiency and reduce heat buildup, you can apply a small amount of cutting lubricant (such as beeswax or cutting oil) to the blade.
  • Turn Corners Carefully: When you need to make a sharp turn or navigate corners, use short, controlled strokes. Be patient and take your time to maintain accuracy.
  • Finish the Cut: Continue cutting along the marked line until you remove the waste material. Ensure that the blade has completely exited the material before stopping the saw.
  • Turn Off the Saw: If you need to stop or take a break, turn off the saw and wait for the blade to come to a complete stop before setting it down.
  • Inspect the Cut: After completing the cut, inspect it to ensure it meets your requirements. 
  • Store Safely: When you’re done using the coping saw, release the tension on the blade and store it safely away from children and other potential hazards.

What Materials Can a Coping Saw Cut?

 A coping saw is a versatile hand tool primarily designed for cutting various materials, especially those that require precision and the ability to make intricate curved cuts. Here are some common materials that a coping saw can cut:

1.     Wood: Coping saws are excellent for cutting various types of wood, including softwoods like pine, hardwoods like oak, and plywood. They are often used for making detailed joinery cuts, coping moldings, and shaping wooden pieces.

2.     Plastic: Coping saws can cut through various types of plastic, including acrylic, PVC, and polycarbonate. They are helpful in crafting, modeling, and DIY plastic materials projects.

3.     Laminates: Coping saws can trim and shape laminates, such as laminate countertops or flooring.

4.     Composite Materials: Coping saws are suitable for cutting composite materials like fiberglass, fiberglass-reinforced plastics, and carbon fiber.

5.     Aluminum: With the appropriate blade, coping saws can cut thin aluminum sheets. However, other tools like a hacksaw or metal-cutting saw are more appropriate for thicker or harder metals.

6.     Brass and Copper: Coping saws can be used for cutting thin sheets of softer metals like brass and copper.

7.     Moldings and Trim: Coping saws are commonly used for coping moldings and trim work in woodworking and carpentry. They can make precise cuts to ensure a seamless fit between two pieces of molding.

8.     Bone: Coping saws have been used in specific crafts and hobbies, such as jewelry making, for cutting bone material.

9.     Styrofoam: Coping saws with fine-toothed blades can cut styrofoam and other similar foam materials.

10. Polystyrene: Coping saws can cut through polystyrene sheets and blocks for crafting and modeling.

Cutting Metal: Coping Saw vs. Hacksaw

 Here’s a comparison of coping saws and hacksaws for cutting metal:

Coping Saw:

1.     Advantages:

  • · Precise Cuts: Coping saws are well-suited for making precise and intricate cuts, especially in thin metal sheets.
  • · Curved Cuts: They excel at cutting curves and irregular shapes, making them ideal for detailed work.
  • · Versatility: Coping saws can handle a variety of materials, including thin metals, wood, plastic, and more.

2.     Disadvantages:

  • · Limited Thickness: Coping saws are unsuitable for cutting thick or hard metals like steel. They are best for thin and softer metals.
  • · Slower Cutting: Coping saws may be slower than hacksaws, especially for longer cuts or thicker materials.
  • · Blade Tension: Blade tension can be a factor in achieving straight cuts and may require some practice to master.


1.     Advantages:

  • · Cutting Power: Hacksaws are explicitly designed for cutting metal, including thicker and more rigid materials like steel and aluminum.
  • · Straight Cuts: They are excellent for quickly making straight, controlled cuts.
  • · Blade Options: Hacksaw blades are available in various tooth counts, allowing you to choose the right blade for the material and cut type.

2.     Disadvantages:

  • · Limited Precision: Hacksaws are unsuitable for intricate or curved cuts as coping saws.
  • · Noise and Vibration: Hacksaws can produce more noise and vibration, which may require hearing protection and more effort to control.
  • · Bulkier: Hacksaws are bulkier and may not be as maneuverable as coping saws in tight spaces.

Which to Choose:

Use a Coping Saw When:

  • You must make intricate or curved cuts in thin and soft metals.
  • Precision and detail are more important than speed.
  • You have limited space for maneuvering the saw.

Use a Hacksaw When:

  • You’re cutting thicker or harder metals like steel or aluminum.
  • Straight cuts are required.
  • You prioritize speed and efficiency.

Be Extra Careful When Cutting Metal

Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind when cutting metal:

1. Wear Appropriate Safety Gear:

  • Hearing Protection: Use earplugs or earmuffs to shield your ears from noise, especially when using power tools.
  • Gloves: Wear appropriate gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges and heat.
  • Respirator: If you’re cutting materials that produce harmful fumes or dust, wear a respirator to avoid inhaling hazardous particles.

2. Choose the Right Tool and Blade:

  • Select the appropriate tool for the type and thickness of metal you’re cutting.
  • Ensure that the blade or cutting disc is suitable for the material.
  • Make sure the blade or disc is sharp and in good condition.

3. Secure the Workpiece:

  • · Use clamps or a workbench vise to secure the metal firmly. This prevents it from moving or vibrating during cutting.

4. Mark Your Cutting Line:

  • · Use a straightedge or a measuring tool to mark the cutting line accurately before starting the cut.

5. Clear the Work Area:

  • · Remove clutter or debris from your work area to prevent tripping hazards.
  • · Ensure there are no flammable materials nearby that could ignite from sparks.

6. Maintain a Safe Distance:

  • · Keep your body and others safe from the cutting area to avoid accidents.

7. Use Proper Technique:

  • · Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating your cutting tool.
  • · Use steady, controlled movements and let the tool do the work.
  • · Do not force the tool through the metal.

8. Beware of Heat:

  • · Metal can become very hot during cutting. Be cautious of burns, and avoid touching the cut area immediately after cutting.

9. Handle Sparks Safely:

  • · Be aware that cutting metal generates sparks. Ensure they do not pose a fire hazard and wear appropriate clothing to protect against burns.

10. Proper Disposal:

  • · Dispose of metal scraps and used cutting blades or discs safely and responsibly.

11. Emergency Preparedness:

  • · Have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of fire.
  • · Know the location of emergency exits and first-aid supplies.

12. Keep Children and Pets Away:

  • · Ensure that children and pets are not near your work area to prevent accidents.

13. Inspect Your Tools Regularly:

  •  Check your cutting tools and equipment for wear and damage before use.

While coping saws are primarily designed for cutting wood and other soft materials, you can cut thin and soft metals like aluminum, brass, and copper with the right blade. It would help to use a blade designed for metal cutting to cut metal using a coping saw.

These blades typically have smaller, finer teeth and are made from materials like high-speed steel (HSS) or bi-metal for increased durability and longevity when cutting metal. Here are some considerations for using coping saw blades for cutting metal:

 Select the Right Blade Type:

· Look for coping saw blades explicitly labeled for metal cutting.

2.     Tooth Configuration:

· Metal-cutting coping saw blades have finer teeth compared to standard wood-cutting blades. These fine teeth help create cleaner cuts in metal.

3.     Tension and Blade Position:

· Ensure the blade is correctly tensioned in the coping saw frame and aligned. Proper tension and alignment are crucial for effective and safe cutting.

4.     Cutting Technique:

· When cutting metal with a coping saw, use slow and steady cutting motion. Metal can generate heat during cutting, which can cause the blade to wear out faster if you apply excessive force.

5.     Lubrication:

· To improve cutting efficiency and prolong the blade’s life, consider applying a cutting lubricant or cutting oil to the metal surface. This helps reduce friction and heat buildup during cutting.

6.     Cooling Breaks:

· If you’re making a series of long cuts in metal, take short breaks to cool down the blade and metal. This prevents overheating and premature blade wear.

7.     Safety Precautions:

Metal cutting can generate sparks and debris.

8.     Clean-Up:

· After cutting metal, inspect the blade for signs of wear or damage.

Types Of Saw Blades For Metal

Various saw blades are designed for cutting metal, each with specific features and applications to suit different types of metal and cutting tasks. Here are some common types of saw blades for cutting metal:

1.     Hacksaw Blades:

· Hacksaw blades are specifically designed for use with hacksaw frames. They come in various tooth counts (teeth per inch or TPI) to accommodate different metals and cutting requirements. High TPI blades are suitable for thinner metals, while lower TPI blades are used for thicker or harder metals.

2.     Circular Saw Blades:

· Circular saw blades for metal are designed for use with circular saws. They are available in various diameters and tooth configurations, including abrasive blades for cutting through steel and carbide-tipped blades for cutting through ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

3.     Reciprocating Saw Blades:

· Reciprocating saw blades, also known as “sawzall” blades, are designed for use with reciprocating saws. They come in various lengths and tooth patterns for cutting through metal pipes, tubing, and structural materials.

4.     Band Saw Blades:

 These blades are available in various widths and tooth configurations to suit different metals and cutting applications.

5.     Chop Saw Blades:

· Chop saw or cutoff saw blades are designed for use with chop saws or cutoff machines. They are specialized blades that provide fast and precise cutting of metal rods, pipes, and structural materials.

6.     Cold Saw Blades:

· Cold saw blades are designed for cold saws, which use a slow, precise cutting motion and often utilize coolant to reduce heat during cutting. These blades are known for producing clean, burr-free cuts in metal.

7.     Angle Grinder Blades:

· Angle grinder blades are used with angle grinders and are available in various types, including abrasive discs, cutoff wheels, and diamond blades. They are versatile and can cut through a wide range of metals.

8.     Jigsaw Blades:

· Jigsaw blades designed for metal cutting are used with jigsaws and are suitable for making intricate and curved cuts in thin metal sheets.

9.     Plasma Cutter Consumables:

Plasma cutter consumables include nozzles and electrodes that need to be replaced periodically for efficient cutting.

10.  Oxy-Fuel Torch Cutting Tips:

· Oxy-fuel torches combine oxygen and fuel gas to create a high-temperature flame for cutting metal. Tips or nozzles of different sizes and types are used for various metal thicknesses and cutting applications.


While coping saws are primarily designed for cutting wood and softer materials, they can be used for cutting thin and soft metals like aluminum, brass, and copper by using coping saw blades specifically designed for metal cutting.

These metal-cutting coping saw blades typically have smaller, finer teeth and are made from materials like high-speed steel (HSS) or bi-metal to handle metal’s hardness.