While cutting out linear geometrical shapes like squares and triangles on wooden planks are fairly easy, doing the same to achieve a circle is a whole other story.
You will need to take extra precautions, require some more refined skills and invest in more proficient tools to do the job.
For those of you who are still in the dark or have just begun their adventures with woods, we have compiled some of the most popular ways on how to cut the perfect circle.
Reasons For Cutting Perfect Circle In Wood
There are many reasons behind cutting the perfect circle in wood. It could be-
- To install a decorative piece.
- To run a pipe through that wooden hole.
- There are many aspiring artists as well who need to do it for achieving perfection in their new project.
Compared to cutting out angular shapes like triangle, rectangle and others, cutting out a circle is a much bigger challenge. That is why most of us struggle to carve out the perfect piece.
The good news is, there are many ways to achieve it. So you can pick any of the options laid out below to cut the perfect circle on your plank.
Resource: Most common tool for wood working
6 Different Ways To Cut Perfect Circle In Woods
1. Router and Trammel
Both aspiring and expert woodworkers know how versatile the router is. It can create the perfect hollow shape in any block of wood. So naturally, this tool came first in our mind for making the perfect circle in wood.
You can incorporate an impressive range of precision points while working with a router. For the trammel, you can purchase one from the market or make one yourself within ten minutes!
Take half of the time to cut an arm of 4-by-24 inches and ¼-inch thickness. Then use the rest of your time to prepare the guide bushing by drilling a long hollow space of 0.5×4 inches.
Now prepare the router by installing half-an-inch guide bushing and your preferred bit of straight or spiral pattern. Read the radius from this bit. Take two finish nails to place on the trammel’s arm and the jig’s arm respectively.
After placing the trammel pivot into your plank, rout it down in counterclockwise motion. If the resulting circle needs to be medium to large in size, you can rest assured that they will be free from saw marks.
The only catch is that following this method or using this tool requires a certain level of expertise. Unless you have used routers before, we don’t recommend going for this method first. There are other options to explore from the methods we have discussed below.
Jigsaw takes a little more time than routers to cut a proper circle in wood. Although these tools are flexible enough to drill into any shape, it is a little tricky to work with.
While you can use them any time to draw up the perfect straight line, cutting out a perfect circle with it is a whole other story. The lines attain smooth edges if you use a fence for support. On the other hand, the circles will require more guidance.
For smaller circles, you can just draw the required shape on the wood with a compass. Then drill a hole equal to your wire nail’s thickness at the center of that circle.
Find a thin plywood plank which is at least 2 inches longer than your circle’s radius. Go to its top-left corner and draw a crosshair mark there. Take a thin drill bit to drill the mark’s center but make sure that the rest of it doesn’t go away.
Measure the spot set at a distance equal to the circle’s radius. Make a similar mark here to drill a hole so that it fits your jigsaw blade. Make a pilot hole on the project board for inserting the circle.
To finish up, put the whole thing together by securing the workpiece, placing the jig over it and then pushing the nail through both smaller holes.
Line up the starter holes and attach the saw to your jig. Set full speed for the blade and cut the perfect circle!
3. Table Saw
Start by measuring your table’s radius and then mark it from the saw blade. Use a carbide bit of quarter-inch size to drill a hole on its top. Keep the area underneath it free of obstructions so that you can put the blade down.
Take the wood plank where you mean to cut the circle and drill a hole in its center. Push a bolt of ¼ inch through it so that the wood rotates around this bolt. Lift up the saw blade a little (up to ⅛ inch). Turn it on and cut the wood by rotating it.
4. Band Saw
This is a much simpler way to cut your circles on wood. Like the other methods, you will need a jig here too.
You need to draw up a line that falls perpendicular to the blade and mark the radius of your circle on it. The workpiece will need to rotate with it so that the saw blade cuts into it and forms the circle.
Take the workpiece and drill a small hole on its bottom. Install a finish nail on the jig and place the hole of your workpiece on it.
Make sure the blade is properly tensioned and sharp enough to make the cut. Blades of ¼-inch or ⅛-inch width are ideal for smaller circles to attain better curves.
5. Hole Saw
A hole saw is an efficient way to cut out circles with diameters of 5 to 6 inches. Remember to purchase a pilot bit, as well as an arbor with the hole saw. The bit can be used for more accurate guidance while the arbor connects the saw and the drill.
Draw up the circle you want on the workpiece with a compass. Use the hole saw to make a small pilot hole at its center by placing the pilot bit’s end into the arbor’s hole.
Make the set screw tight enough so that the arbor is secured in its place. Now proceed to screw the hole saw on your arbor. Secure the workpiece and use the hole saw to cut out the circle.
Consider using clamps to keep the piece in place while working in full force since the generated torque will be pretty high. Keep in mind that hole saws can only be useful for completely hollow circles.
Trace the circle on the workpiece and drive a nail through your jig hole according to the center of your workpiece. Now drill a small hole where the center of your circle is supposed to be.
Don’t make this hole too big in the beginning so that you can work around it and modify it according to newer requirements along the way.
Make sure that you have the right support for Dremel. To do this, put a small piece of wood on the cutter and then line up perpendicular brackets.
Place the Dremel stick into the small circle hole. Mount the brackets on the first flat wood piece at your preferred height.
Caution and Tips For When Cutting Circle In Wood
Optimum Blade Depth
Be careful about not setting up the blade to cut too deep. Too much of an exposed blade can lead to unpleasant results while cutting the circle. This is why precision matters so much when you set up the blade.
Besides, it can lead to unsafe scenarios if the saw kicks back due to the deep blade. Accidents will occur and the process will also render to be inefficient.
Setting Before Cutting
Remember to unplug the saw and place it by the board after retracting the blade guard. Work the lever or knob to adjust the lever so that it becomes a little loose. Rotate the base of your saw as long as the blade is not reaching ¼ to ½ an inch under the board. Before starting to use the saw, tighten up this adjustment knob.
It is wiser to avoid binding while cutting the circles on wood. Let the end part of your board fall away or move during the process. In order to prevent the splinters of woods from harming yourself or others around, remember to keep supporting the board all the way.
Remember the memory when you tried to draw a perfect circle by hand. Even a near resemblance would bring a sense of gratification to your mind. Cutting a perfect circle in wood will bring the same satisfaction for you.
Now that you know how to cut out the perfect circle in wood, you can set out to explore one or more of these to see which one works the best for your project. Get ready to present your flawless finished work in front of friends and colleagues!