Coping Sled for the Router Table

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Project by WillliamMSP posted 01-21-2021 02:21 AM 2239 views 16 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve got some projects coming up that’ll require quite a bit of coping, and I’ve had poor results in the past, so I decided that I wanted a coping sled. I’m a cheap-as——uh, I’m selective with what I spend my money on and I decided that I wasn’t interested in buying a sled at the asking prices at Woodcraft or Rockler, let alone Woodpeckers or Infinity.

There’s not a lot, material-wise, that goes in to the sled and I had much of it on hand.

I started with a 14” x 8” piece of 3/4” ply for the base. The size was primarily determined by what felt secure and comfortable on my router table. A 2” wide piece of 3/4” was used for the fixed fence and another small piece was used for the sliding stop block. A dado was cut in to the base to accept the T-track. The T-track, t-nut and threaded knobs were left over from previous projects.

For the guide, I had some .220” thick, clear acrylic sitting around, too. It’s 18” wide, which gives me a 2” overhang on each side of the base. I cut it to 3.5” deep and set it overhang the business end of the base by 1.5”- I can’t imagine that I’ll need more coping depth than that, not in the foreseeable future, at least. I cut the corners of the near side of the sheet at 60° to make it less pokey.

I picked up some 1-3/4” long 3/8”-16 coupling nuts to use as stand-offs for the acrylic runner/guide. 1” long hex head bolts are countersunk through the bottom of the base and another pair of bolts thread in to the top of the coupling nuts to hold the guide. I added an extra set of washers between the coupling nuts and acrylic sheet to shim the sheet up slightly so that it would run on the aluminum extrusion of my fence, rather than on the movable faces.

The handles are comprised of countersunk 3” long 3/8-16 bolts, another set of 3/8” coupling nuts, some washers and rubbery threaded knobs.

The workpiece clamp is a self-adjusting Armor clamp, medium-sized so that it can reach over the sacrificial piece. There is no clamp for the sacrificial block – I don’t really have room for one and, with the side pressure from the sliding stop block, it hasn’t moved in testing. I might add a strip of sandpaper to the face of the permanent fence as a little extra insurance to keep the sacrificial pieces in place, though.

The only critical part of set-up was squaring the acrylic guide/runner to the fence on the base. To do this, I drilled one of the holes in the acrylic slightly over-sized to allow enough play to adjust by a few degrees. To set it square, I held my 12” combination square against the sled’s base fence with the blade against the router fence face and then snugged the runner up to the router fence.

In use, I’m really happy – setting up the pieces is easy, it holds them securely, it keeps my hands further away from the spinning blades of death and the acrylic guide lets me see the workpiece clearly while also providing some protection from flying stuff.

For those interested in some of the parts and where to acquire them:

- The .220” acrylic sheet was originally purchased at Menards for 20 bucks – took me forever to find this stuff up in the doors and windows department
- The 1-3/4” long coupling nuts were also purchased from Menards at about a buck each – they have them in various threadings, so get whatever matches the fasteners that you have on hand
- The Armor clamp was originally purchased at Woodcraft for $25, though less fancy ones (that don’t auto adjust for workpiece height) can be purchased inexpensively on Amazon.

-- Practice makes less sucky. (Bill, Minneapolis, MN)

6 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27710 posts in 4567 days

#1 posted 01-21-2021 03:22 AM

Great job on that sled. That insures a good steady cut!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View therealSteveN's profile


10006 posts in 2036 days

#2 posted 01-21-2021 04:08 AM

So much more dependable than finger pressure alone. Not to mention safety factors abound.

Nice build.

-- Think safe, be safe

View BurlyBob's profile


10518 posts in 3727 days

#3 posted 01-21-2021 04:09 AM

I really like that. It’s a well thought out jig and very practical. I might copy that down the road.

View WillliamMSP's profile


1162 posts in 3066 days

#4 posted 01-21-2021 06:33 PM

Thanks, folks!

There are more than a few of these easy builds out there, but when I was looking for them myself, most linked to places like McMaster for stuff like the stand-offs in particular. I just wanted to put this out there so that people could find the pieces closer to home and get it knocked out in a day, even if they don’t have everything on hand (I’m impatient and hate waiting for shipments, never mind the notion of paying shipping on a couple nuts and bolts).

-- Practice makes less sucky. (Bill, Minneapolis, MN)

View doubleDD's profile


11295 posts in 3505 days

#5 posted 01-21-2021 07:45 PM

Congrats on a great sled. About time I redo mine.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View murrayintokyo's profile


54 posts in 2148 days

#6 posted 01-22-2021 10:45 PM

wonderful sled. I need one of these myself and this is great inspiration.

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