How To Cut A Circle In Wood With A Jigsaw

(Last Updated On: May 7, 2021)
Tutorials on how to use jigsaw to cut circle on wood board.

The jigsaw is one of the woodworking tools you would want to have in your workshop. Jigsaw is a nimble cutting tool that specializes in making complex and precise cuts and curves. It has an array of matching blades that come in many styles and sizes. Choosing a jigsaw’s blade will vary on the project and wood you’re going to use and how complex and detailed you would want to cut it. Jigsaws are especially known in its frequent use in cutting sharp curves that can be quite a struggle, or even impossible using other tools. 

In this article, here are some tips and instructions to guide you in using your jigsaw effectively to achieve a perfectly cut circle using a jigsaw. As you master this tool, you will venture off the tracks and, finally, get your style in making furniture with the use of this versatile, indispensable tool. 

Facts and Thing You Should Know About Cutting Circles With Jigsaw

Jigsaws can cut precisely almost any size of a circle, given that you’ll also be precise with your measurements. Since the circle is not exactly a freestyle act, you will make a circle cutting jig to help you along.  

Upon choosing your blade for the project, make sure to check the blade angle and adjust it to an exact 90-degree angle. 

As said before, jigsaws are not only used for making curves and circles. It is a piece of multi-purpose equipment that can be used to cut straight and even beveled cuts. 

For straight cuts, it is always better to use a fence as a guide as it will make the work easier and prevent you from making jagged lines. For bevel cuts, bevel cutting gauge and/or shoe angle is adjusted depending on the angle you want to make the cut, which can vary from 0-degree to 45-degree angle. The aim of adjusting the bevel shoe is to minimize the effort of sanding, making the cut clean with a smooth edge, as well as adding some style to the cut.


Some Tips Before Working On The Cuts: 

1. If you’re working on wood that has a delicate surface, you should cover the shoe with painter’s tape or masking tape to protect surfaces. 

2. Turn the wood show-side down since as you run through it with the jigsaw, the tear outs come up on top. 

To give you a rough idea of how you’re going to do it, it is similar to using a compass, but instead of simply drawing the perfect circle, you’re going to cut it. And using a jig helps you cut a perfect circle with the jigsaw, rather than simply draw it out with a pencil on the wood. Simply to say, you will attach the jigsaw to the jig and, then, place the starting point by marking and scaling the radius from the blade along the jig’s arm. Next, place it into position, then start the jigsaw by slowly guiding the blade in a circle on the wood. Make sure to keep the same distance radius by keeping the base flat throughout the process. 

Although purchasing a jig is quite cheap (around $8), it is quite easy enough to make one that will suit your needs. Here is a simple guide in creating a simple circle jig. The materials you’ll need are 1/2″ thick by 6″ wide plywood and another 1/4″ thick board for the baseboard. 


Making A Baseboard or Circle Cutting Jig

Step 1: Choose a base piece larger than the shoe of the jigsaw. 3 inches wide and 6 inches in length will suffice. This serves as the mounting plate for the jigsaw. 

Step 2: Attach smaller barrier pieces on two edges shaped like the letter ‘L‘. This will keep the jigsaw in place as you guide it to make a circle, so it doesn’t go out of place and cut through the jig itself.

Step 3: Drill regular holes in a longer beam piece. This is the ‘arm’ of the jig and helps you maintain the same measurement of the radius. this should be rectangular with its size around 3-4 inches wide and 2-3 feet long.

Step 4: Attach beam to base with pocket holes. Since you’re attaching it end grain to edge grain and don’t have much time to wait for the glue to dry, this is a faster and convenient route. 

Step 5: Mark your blade position and drill a hole in the base. This hole is where the jigsaw’s blade will go through. 

Step 6: Attach the jig to the work surface loosely with a screw. The screw that is attached to the work surface will be the center point and as the primary guide for cutting a circle, much like a compass. 

Step 7: Drill a starting hole in your workpiece. This pretty much concludes most of the work in making a circle jig.  

Step 8: Finally, cut a circle by applying a steady, firm pressure forward on the jigsaw and jig base.

Following this procedure in making a jig, of course, is the step-by-step guide in making a perfect circle with the jigsaw. Although this procedure overlaps with how to make the jig, this procedure adds minute details, if you want to be more defined. 

Top-rated Circle Cutting Jigs for Wood Board


Steps On Cutting A Circle With a jigsaw

Step #1: Mark The Circle 

Arrange the tools you will need in this project. These are:

  • Pencil 
  • Compass
  • Ruler 
  • Drilling machine (for cutting out shapes) 
  • Woodcutter blade
  • Jigsaw blade 
  • Jigsaw tool 

Marking a perfect circle with a pencil and compass ensures that you will have sufficient dimensions and space for the required circle. 

Before cutting a circle with a jigsaw, here are some aspects you should consider:

  • The dimension of the circle which are the measurements and space it will occupy in the wood;
  • How the circle will match what you needed in the project;
  • Once these considerations are a-okay with you, layout the circle on a piece of paper and make reference marks on the wood.

Step 2: Make A Starting Hole

Following step 7 from making a circle jig, drilling a hole as the starting hole ensures that you’ll stay on the line when cutting and prevent mistakes, like cutting through the jig itself.

The hole for the starting point should be sufficient for the jigsaw blade to go through, so match the thickness of the base of the jig for drilling at about 1/2 inch. 

Make sure that the starting point lines up to the circle’s arc and the edge of the circle’s circumference or edge. Make it quite close so that adjustments with the drill bit can be made.

Step 3: Setup The Baseboard

Going back to Making a circle jig Step 1. The baseboard uses a thin 1/4″ thick plywood that should permit mobility as the jig and jigsaw move with plenty of room for the blade. Check the placement of the blade with the jigsaw, mark it, and drill the hole. Along with the edges, another technique to stabilize the jigsaw is to fix it with screws and double-sided tape.  

Step 4: Start Cutting The Circle

The jigsaw and jig have been set up, the radius from the arm of the jig has been measured, it’s now time to start cutting.

Secure that the blade is placed inside the starting hole. Rev the motor for a few moments to make sure.

When cutting, the jigsaw’s blade and motor should be at full speed while maintaining the jig’s movement at a slow and steady pace, while pulling it in an outwards direction and keeping pressure on the baseboard to maintain the tension. You may repeat the movement in sections to assure that you’ve made a circle through the wood. 

Once you’re done, sand the object to get rid of the tear-outs. Use mineral spirits to get rid of the stickiness from the tape on the jig’s base. 


Tips to remember to master cutting a circle with a jigsaw:

Use Workbench & Clamp

A workbench is a fundamental tool for laying out the materials while the clamps are used to fix the hand tool, and the cutting is guided along the marked line. 

Proper Speed & Pressure 

Before choosing a special blade for the jigsaw, try to use a narrow blade first. This narrow blade has a small improvement, the circular knife. There is no need for you to put pressure while using the jigsaw in a circular motion since it is a piece of delicate equipment. The pressure applied deals a lot about the endproduct. If you go too fast with too much pressure on the movement, you will damage the wood that you’re cutting and, also, bend or break the blade and lose the jigsaw’s fastening itself. Much better if you let the jigsaw cut its way with multiple back-and-forth motions guided by the jigs. 

Blade Selection

Jigsaw blades have limitations. It can cut wood up to one and a half-inch of thickness, and this will also vary with the hardness of the wood. Make sure to know the type of wood you’re working with since you should also keep in mind the capacity of your equipment. 

Before going into a big project, you must go through several experiments to see how your jigsaw works and to match different types of blades when matched with different types of wood. 

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