After about 18 years in this industry I know of very few indisputable facts. The one that jumped to my mind when I first saw the Copemaster machine was this: No one likes coping. Not a single soul.
It is laborious, skill-intensive, boring and tiring. It is easy to mess up, requires a solid workbench, steady hands and eyes and way too much time. The Copemaster, a relative newcomer on the market, is a specialized tool designed to take the pain out of the coping process by accomplishing a clean, reliable, easily reproducible coping cut on mouldings of all kinds.
How it works
The concept is this: Make a first miter-and-cope cut template with the saw on the Copemaster. Next, install it in the coping mechanism, and let a stylus follow its curves and forms. That drives the saw, which in turn cuts the next moulding mounted in the jaws of the machine. New cuts are perfect copies of the template, speeding the process and not requiring the skills or even the slightest understanding of the usual coping process.
The tool arrived in two large cardboard boxes and took just a couple of minutes to set up, thanks to an ingenious little clip on the stand. Both stand and machine could easily be handled by one man.
Being a guy, I first ignored the video and instructions that came with the tool. I had no trouble setting up the machine and making the first flat moulding template. I did mess up the first two I tried (as it's shown on the video), because it takes a few minutes to get used to the ease with which the saw moves on the two axes. But the third was perfect, and so were all others that used my third cut as a template.
For cutting the crown I had to go back to the video, but after reviewing it once, it became clear how to adjust the angle of the saw to achieve the perfect cut. In addition, when I called the telephone number on the machine, the company owner and designer of the machine answered the phone and walked me through subsequent steps. Try that with anyone else.
Who should buy it?
If you do extensive house trim, this is a machine you'll have to have. Not only does it accelerate the process, but every cut will be identical, taking skill out of the equation. If you use a handful of standard mouldings like me, it makes sense to keep the templates for future projects, reducing production time even further.
I normally write about my business experiences. In my opinion this is the machine on which I would dare to base a new business. Combine it with a miter saw, a good compressor and set of nail guns, and you'll be set to do trim work at speeds and precision not seen before. And remember my business mantra: the further you can specialize, the better your bottom line is going to look.
For more on the Copemaster, visit www.copemaster.com.
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