MLCS has introduced three coping sleds - the Safety Super Sled, the Professional Coping Safety Sled, and the Professional Deluxe Coping Safety Sled - that graduate in price and features.
"The Safety Super Sled is our small, economical version," says Mitch Levy, company spokesman. "It has a 500-lb. hold-down toggle clamp. Over a smaller surface area, it provides the virtual benefits that the larger ones would."
The Safety Super Sled is designed for tricky cross-grain rail cuts, eliminating the need to make the router table fence and miter slot parallel. The 4-3/4" x 11-1/2", 3/8" thick PVC sled can also hold smaller work pieces. The user simply needs to glide the sled along the router fence using the sturdy plastic handle.
One step above is the Professional Coping Sled, which has a larger surface area and dual adjustable fences.
"You can square the fence to the coping sled or not. You can actually set it at an angle, but you can adjust both sides of your fence and lock your stock in place in between," Levy says. "It also provides a pivoting extra handle so you'll have a good handle for your left- and right-hand boards when you are working across your fence opening."
The fences are made out of a phenolic plastic block that are replaceable and the company sells a single block for the single fence as well as two blocks for the larger professional coping sleds.
"The Pro Deluxe is the same in size as the regular Pro, but this allows you to put on a dual hold-down to your toggle clamp with much more surface area. They also have spring-type shocks so you actually have a little more pressure on the hold-down and the dual hold-down really prevents you from getting any movement out of your stock."
The Pro Deluxe is suitable for shapers and routers, but primarily for routers.
"Generally, we provided these for routers and router tables, but when we designed the professional models, we added countersunk holes for the handle to be switched to the other side, so for reverse-speed operations you can use them just fine. A shaper tends to be a little bit bigger ... but it will be fine for both.
"The best thing about [all three coping sleds] is they keep the stock square to the fence and they stop tear-out from the end grain. That is really the ultimate key to the perfect rail and stile joint. Without that it becomes a much more difficult operation, so it is a simple setup that certainly works well."
The Safety Super Sled sells for $34.95; the Professional Coping Safety Sled is priced at $64.95; and the Professional Deluxe Coping Safety Sled costs $74.95.
Contact: MLCS. Tel: 215-938-5067. www.mlcswoodworking.com
This article originally appeared in the August 2009 issue.