Like most carpenters, I learned to cope trim the traditional way, with a coping saw, a file, and sandpaper. But getting tight fits for intricate oak trim took forever, so I switched to a jigsaw fitted with the Collins Coping Foot (888/838-8988, www.collinstool.com). This was faster, but I still had to use sandpaper and files — especially on corners and tight radii.

Then, two years ago, I saw a stair builder use an angle grinder fitted with a sanding disk to scribe treads. I immediately adopted his scribing technique and applied it to coping trim. With the angle grinder, I could avoid using files except on profiles with very tight radii. And after some experimentation, I found that if I used a pneumatic die...

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