4 Ways to Cut Circles in Wood // DIY Circle Cutting Jigs

in this video i'll show you 4 different ways 
to cut circles out of wood using various tools   i'll show you what works for cutting really 
big circles and how to cut tiny ones too   so the only method i've actually ever used to 
cut circles is my router but today i'm going   to figure out how to make some really simple 
jigs using different tools around the shop   now be sure to stick around until the 
end where i go through my favorite   and not so favorite methods and go 
through a few of the pros and cons of each   the first method is using a plunge router and 
a circle cutting jig now you can buy a jig but   i'm going to make one out of a scrap piece 
of 1/4 inch plywood i could leave it like   this but i'm going to trace out a shape to 
make my jig look a little more professional   with that done i used my bandsaw to cut 
out the shape after that i ran the edges   on my sander just to smooth out all the 
edges and avoid any potential splinters the good thing about making your own circle jig 
is that you can be sure it'll fit with your router   just remove the base and use 
it to trace out the screw holes   then drill the screw holes and make sure 
to counter sync them so that when you   attach the jig to the router the screw 
heads will sit flush below the surface i plunged my bit through the 
jig then removed it and made   the hole bigger using a 1 inch forstner bit ok so if i want to make say 
an 18 inch diameter circle   i'll make a mark at 9 inches measuring from 
the bit and make a small pilot hole in the jig   here i'm getting set up with my bench 
cookies to start routing out my circle   but first i took a minute to install a 
cord reel that i picked up at Princess Auto   in my small shop i'm constantly tripping over 
extension cords so this should help keep my   cords out of the way so with that i could plug 
in my router and get back to making circles   i found the center of my blank and made a small 
pilot hole just big enough to hold the finish   nail that i hammered into place then checked that 
my jig moved smoothly all the way around i set   my plunge depth to 1/8th of an inch and plunged 
the bit then one around in a clockwise direction   in case you're wondering i'm using an up spiral 
bit from CMT Orange Tools the sponsor of today's   video after the first pass i lowered my 
bit another eighth of an inch and made a   second pass at this depth then repeated 
going progressively deeper on each pass   until i finally made it all the way 
through and was left with a perfect circle now this method as with each of the methods will 
leave a small pinhole in the middle of the circle   but this will usually go on the bottom 
of a table or something and be hidden alright so not bad at all but this piece was 
relatively thin and although large not that   large so what happens when you have a really big 
piece like a table top that's thick and maybe out   of hardwood? well that's where the second method 
comes in that combines both a router and a jigsaw just as before i'll first start by using 
a router circle cutting jig i made another   pilot hole in my jig to make a larger circle 
and found the center of my piece of wood then   secured the jig with a small nail just as before 
i started with a shallow depth of 1/8th of an   inch plunged my router and went around clockwise 
i went a little deeper on the next pass and made   about three revolutions in total then stopped at 
this point i removed the jig and grabbed my jigsaw   for the next step i'm going to 
use a CMT fine cutting blade   you'll find a link for all the tools i used 
in this video in the description down below   the idea is to use a jigsaw to cut away the excess 
material i'm using the groove left by the router   as a guide i want to cut close to the inside 
edge of the circle as close as possible without   actually touching it so that when i'm done i'll 
be left with the lip all the way around that'll   shave off in the next step to do this i'll flip 
over the circle so that the lip is on the bottom   to shave off the excess wood 
i'll use this CMT flush trim bit   i lined up the bearing with the bottom lip 
which will serve as my guide and with that   setting locked in i went around the circle 
this time making sure to go counterclockwise   i realized making this cut in one pass was a bit 
ambitious according to the sound my router was   making so i made progressive shallow passes always 
right to left until the bearing bottomed out   against the wood eventually after several passes 
i was left with a perfect circle and a huge mess all right so those were the 2 circle cutting jig 
options personally i prefer the first option using   just the upspiral bit with the circle jig versus 
using a combination with the jigsaw and then the   router again i just find it takes less time to 
just stick with the jig and yeah it takes a lot   of time to go round and round and make it all 
the way through but still i think it saves time   in the long run plus it made much less of a mess 
than using the flush trim bit at the end there   so i would stick with the first option next up 
let's take a look at the bandsaw and make a circle   cutting jig for that one the next method i'm going 
to try is a bandsaw circle cutting jig for this   you'll want to use a thin quarter inch blade 
which will make it easier to cut small circles   i want the jig to overhang so i'll make it about 
18 inches this way and about 20 inches this way   i cut the base out of 3/4 inch plywood then 
grabbed a scrap piece of hardwood to cut a runner   to fit the miter slot it should be snug with no 
side to side play and sit just below the table   with that i roughly positioned the base 
where i wanted it skewed to the outside   and then roughly marked the runner's position i applied some glue then positioned 
the runner on the markings and used a   square to position the runner while 
i secured it with a few brad nails with the runner secured i installed the jig   on the bandsaw and cut the kerf 
stopping roughly halfway through at this point i used a couple of clamps to lock 
the jig in place temporarily you'll notice the   jig overhangs the table at the front and this 
is important so that you can secure a stop   make sure the stop you're using is thin 
enough so that it won't hit any obstacles   i used a few dabs of super glue to secure 
it under the sled up against the bandsaw   i had to use two short pieces due to some 
obstacles so i added a second stop on the   other side before taking it back to my 
workbench and securing the stops with a   few brad nails at this point i could trim the 
runner to size then grab a square that i'll use   to trace a line perpendicular to my kerf line 
starting right from the tip of the kerf line i'll use this line as a reference to measure 
and make holes for a pin that will secure my   work piece and act as a pivot point for my pin i'm 
using a simple finish nail with the head cut off i found the center of my blank and made a small 
pilot hole for the pin then mounted it to the jig alright we're ready to cut some circles after 
mounting the jig i fired up the bandsaw and cut   straight into the work piece until i hit the 
stops and the sled couldn't move any further   i could then rotate the work piece 
clockwise and i was surprised by how   easy it was to cut a circle this way i think 
i found a new favorite method to cut circles   in a few seconds i had a perfect circle cut cutout the one drawback i did notice is that 
the blade leaves marks around the edges   so a little more sanding would 
be required using this method   i was curious to see if i could cut a really small 
circle using this jig and i wasn't disappointed all right so that's a wrap on the bandsaw method 
and if you have a bandsaw i highly recommend using   this method not only is the jig super fast and 
easy to set up but cutting out circles takes no   time at all and it's especially effective when 
cutting out really small circles like this one   next up i'm not too sure about this method but 
i'm going to try to cut circles using my table saw   let's go the next and final method 
is a table saw circle cutting jig   for this you'll need a piece of 3/4 inch 
ply and a strip of hardwood for the runner   after cutting the runner to size i used 
a few pennies to raise it up slightly   i want to position the base so that 
it overhangs the blade just slightly   i applied a few dabs of super glue then 
held it down 30 seconds while it bonded   i could then remove the sled and drill 
a few holes using a countersink bit   and secure the runners using some number 6 screws 
making sure to sink the heads below the surface i trimmed the runner to size and then tested out 
the sled to make sure it was sliding smoothly   before going any further i'm going to swap 
out my old blade that's getting pretty dull   and replace it with a 50 tooth combination 
blade with that done i could trim off the   edge of the sled and create that zero 
clearance edge getting a nice clean cut about halfway front to back i made a 
line through the sled that will again   be my guide for making pilot holes and 
putting a pivot pin into the sled after   finding the center of my board i made 
a pilot hole and mounted it to the sled   okay the idea from what i've seen is to start 
by cutting off the four corners of the square next i'm going to cut off the eight tips 
progressively making this shape more circular okay now i'm going to keep 
shaving off the remaining   tips in order to make this as 
close to a circle as possible with that done i grabbed my mag switch and 
positioned it so that the line on the sled   is right at the front tip of the blade's 
teeth with the sled pushed up against the   stop the idea is to rotate the circle clockwise 
into the blade that being said i found getting   the placement of the sled just right took a 
lot of trial and error in order to find the   sweet spot that would create a perfect circle i 
repositioned the stop and tried again a few times   but as you can see here i'm actually 
getting burn marks which is not what i want   ultimately i found that this position 
worked best for me but it's definitely worth   experimenting with different positions once 
you find the sweet spot you can actually   get a really decent clean cut circle 
using a table saw who would have thought so my least favorite method had to be the 
table saw maybe there's just something about   using a table saw to cut circles that makes 
me uncomfortable but besides that i found   it really hard to find that perfect sweet spot 
where the blade will make that perfect circle   so not my favorite method overall now my favorite 
method had to be the bandsaw not only is it quick   to set up this jig but cutting out circles is 
super fast and on the plus side you can make   these really tiny circles no problem at all on 
the downside there are some limitations to cutting   circles on the bandsaw one being the size of the 
circle that you can actually cut out other than   that it does leave some marks on the outside 
of the circle that you'll have to sand away   but besides that this is a pretty great method 
now the router option is a really great option   sure it makes a mess but there's really no limit 
to the size that you can make this jig and you can   cut out really huge table tops using the router i 
do recommend sticking with just the upspiral bit   rather than using the jigsaw and the flush cut 
bit it just seems faster overall and less steps   to actually cutting out the circle so just stick 
with that bit and you'll have a perfect circle in   no time alright well that's a wrap on this video 
until next time thanks for watching see you soon!

As found on YouTube

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