A jigsaw is a versatile tool that DIYers and handy people can use to cut various materials. It is usually used to make straight or curved cuts, but you can also use it to cut a perfect circle in wood.
Before you begin cutting a circle in wood with a jigsaw, make sure that you use the right blade and that your blade is sharp enough. It is also critical to follow the manufacturer’s safety and use instructions while operating the tool. You must wear safety goggles, a safety mask, and noise blockers when working with a jigsaw. Moreover, always plug out the tool or remove the battery before adjusting or changing the blade.
How to cut a Perfect Circle in Wood with a Jigsaw
There are a couple of ways to cut a circle in wood using a jigsaw. One way is to simply measure the circle and cut it with a jigsaw, just like you would make any regular cut.
The other one uses a jig and delivers a perfect circle (with rough edges that you can smoothen later) using a jigsaw.
We will discuss both methods here. Let’s begin our discussion with the simple method first.
Method 1: Cutting without a Jig
You will need a beam compass and a pencil for this method.
Here’s how you can cut a circle in wood using a jigsaw.
- Adjust the compass to your required radius and draw the circle at your required point. It is better to draw a larger circle than the actual size; 1-2mm will be good. You can later sand out the edges to get a smooth finish.
- You can simply start from outside and move towards the circled portion when cutting out a circle. Make sure that you have cut the wood sheet enough to put the jigsaw comfortably and reduce wastage.
- If you want to make a circular hole in a sheet, you need to draw a smaller hole in the sheet. This hole is for placing the jigsaw blade.
- You can use a drill bit to make a hole in the wood. Make sure that this hole is close to the inner edge of the circle.
- Adjust the jigsaw’s blade in this hole and cut the circle on the inside of the circle.
- Once the cuts have been made, use sandpaper to smoothen out the edges until the circle gets smooth.
- The only drawback while using a jigsaw is wood wastage. Moreover, you have to spend considerable time sanding and buffing out the edges after the cut.
How can I avoid making a hole inside the circle while cutting a circle in wood with a jigsaw?
Though it is difficult, but not impossible, you will need to take care of a couple of things, and then you can have circles without holes. The best way is not to cut out all the way for the jigsaw support. Complete the cut and flip over the piece to use the undamaged side for your projects.
Method 2: Using a Jig to Make a Perfect Circle with a Jigsaw
You will need a jig to cut perfect circles in wood with a jigsaw. You can use a commercial jig for this, but you can also make one using some pieces of wood and basic tools like a table saw.
Follow the steps below to make a DIY jig for your jigsaw to cut perfect circles in wood.
Step 1: The Base Plate
The first step is to make a base plate. It is best to use a thin sheet to make the base plate as your saw’s blade will cut through this sheet. It must be larger than the shoe of your saw because you will set your jigsaw on this plate. Once the plate is cut, use some wood screws to attach a couple of thin barrier pieces leveled with front and right edges.
Step 2: The Beam Piece
The second step is to prepare the beam piece for the jig. The thickness of the beam piece must be equal to the base plate. It must be longer than the base plate so that it can let you cut circles of different sizes as it will act as the radius of the circle.
Measure and mark points in the beam at regular intervals and drill a hole at each point. The holes must be drilled at the center of the beam, so it doesn’t get damaged.
Step 3: Attaching Base Plate and Beam Piece
Flush the base plate and the beam piece and clamp them together. Make sure that both the pieces are in line with each other. Drill pocket holes and use screws to attach the pieces firmly.
Step 4: The Blade Cutout
Once the base plate and the beam piece are attached, you will need to create a blade cutout in the jig. Place your jigsaw on the base plate so that the shoe of the saw is against the barrier pieces. Mark the position where the blade touches the base plate and draw a hole here as a cutout for the blade.
Step 5: Cutting the Circle using the Jig
It is now time to try out the jig that you recently built. Measure the circle’s radius and drive a screw to the corresponding point on the jig. Drill a starter hole at the blade cutout on the base plate. Place your jigsaw against the barriers with the blade through the cutout and complete the cut. Make sure you apply steady pressure on the jig and don’t hurry into the process.
Which is better: a DIY jig or a commercial circle cutting jig?
It depends on usage. If you repeatedly cut circles of the same size, making a DIY jig can let you save some money as you can make it out of scrap wooden sheets.
On the contrary, if you cut circles of different sizes, a commercial jig would do great for you. You can easily measure different sizes using it.
You can also add a scale to your DIY jig, but it would be slightly technical.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between cutting a circular hole and cutting a wooden circle?
A circular hole means cutting out a small hole in a piece of wood, and cutting a wooden circle means cutting a circle and separating it from the sheet. Both of them can be of different sizes and have different applications.
Can I cut a perfect circle in wood with a hole saw?
Yes. It is the easiest way to cut circles in wood, and we suggest most beginner woodworkers use a hole saw to cut holes in wood. You can circle from ¾ inches up to 7 inches in diameter using a hole saw. However, you must take care of blowout and overheating while using this method.
Can I cut a perfect circle in wood with a band saw?
A band saw is a pretty similar tool to a jigsaw. You can cut the circle freehand or use a jig to get precise results.
How to use a router to cut a perfect circle in wood?
You can use a readymade jig or make one to cut perfect circles in wood using a router. The video below shows how to make a jig for the router to cut accurate circles.
How can I cut a perfect circle in wood using a table saw?
We recommend using a table saw as a last resort for cutting circles in wood as it is time-consuming, and you will need a special jig to cut. Check out the video below to see how it works.
So you see that cutting a perfect circle using a jigsaw isn’t a difficult task. All you need is time, some effort, and patience while making the cuts with a jig or freehand cutting. You may waste some stock, but once you get the hold of things, you will be making perfect circles with your jigsaw conveniently.