How to Cope a Piece of Angle Iron

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When you need to weld two-pieces of angle iron together to form a 90-degree corner, you can either cut a 45-degree miter on the ends of both angles coming into the corner or you can cope the end of one of the pieces of angle iron. A cope is a notch made at the end of an angle, which is sized to accept another angle. The cope should be slightly larger than the size of the angle entering the cope to allow for a weld gap.

Things You'll Need

  • Two pieces of angle iron
  • Worktable
  • Table-mounted vise
  • Tape measure
  • Soapstone
  • Combination square
  • Safety glasses
  • Handheld band saw
  • Place one of the pieces of angle iron on the top of the worktable and secure the other piece of angle iron into the table-mounted vise with a flat face of the angle facing up.

  • Measure the width of the legs of the angle iron by hooking the tape measure to the back of the angle and stretching the tape to the front edge of the angle iron.

  • Hook the tape measure to the end of the angle iron secured in the table-mounted vise, stretch the tape measure along the angle iron and place a mark at the length of the angle iron leg you measured in the last step with the soapstone.

  • Measure the thickness of the angle iron secured in the table-mounted vise.

  • Set the combination square blade to the thickness of the angle iron and place the base of the combination square against the leg of the downward-facing leg of the angle iron secured in the table-mounted vise.

  • Place the end of the soapstone against the end of the combination square blade and drag the combination square along the face of the angle iron to place a long soapstone line on the face of the angle.

  • Extend the blade of the combination square to span the face of the angle iron that is secured in the table-mounted vise. Align one side of the blade with the angle iron leg length mark you placed on the angle in step three. Drag the soapstone along the blade of the combination square to make a cut line with the soapstone.

  • Align the blade of the handheld band saw with the soapstone thickness line you placed on the angle iron secured in the table-mounted vise in step six. Be sure to wear safety glasses.

  • Pull the trigger of the band saw and guide the blade along the cut line to make the first cut of the cope.

  • Move to the length cut line you placed on the face of the angle iron in step seven and repeat the cutting process to cope the angle iron.

  • Release the coped angle iron from the table-mounted vise and lay the angle iron on the worktable with the cope resting flat on the surface of the worktable.

  • Slide the other piece of angle into the cope. The un-coped angle iron should fit tightly into the cope, with the standing leg of the angle iron flush with the end of the coped angle.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have access to a iron worker (hydraulic punch), the cope can be made quickly and without the need to lay out any cut lines.

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