How to Make a Circle Cutting Jig


Cutting perfect circles can be a real challenge for most woodworkers. The first thing that you usually think of when faced with the challenge of cutting a circle is how to guide the tool around the piece to make the perfect cut. Most novice woodworkers will scrap the idea of cutting a perfect circle and go on to some other project. In reality, cutting a circle is one of the simpler projects a woodworker can tackle. All it takes to cut the perfect circle is a bandsaw and homemade jig.

Things You'll Need

  • Tablesaw
  • Dado blade
  • 3/4-inch plywood, 12x20-inch piece
  • 1x4-inch white oak, 30-inch piece
  • Planer
  • 2x4-inch pine, 12-inch scrap
  • 2 spring clamps
  • Cordless drill
  • #2 Phillips head bit
  • 2 drywall screws, 1-3/4 inch
  • Router table
  • Dovetail bit
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • 1/4-inch pivot point
  • Slotted head screwdriver

Making the Base

  • Install a dado blade (1-3/4 inches wide) in the tablesaw. Follow the saw's manufacturer's instructions for all blade installation and removal operations.

  • Set the height of the dado blade to 1/2 inch high. Adjust the fence of the tablesaw to 9-1/8 inches.

  • Turn on the tablesaw. Hold the 12-inch side of a 12x20-inch piece of 3/4-inch plywood against the fence of the tablesaw and cut the dado.

  • Remove the dado blade from the tablesaw and reinstall the standard blade and adjust the fence to 1-5/8 inch. Run a 12-inch piece of scrap 2x4-inch pine through the saw twice to form a clamping block sized at 1-5/8 inches.

  • Rest the 20-inch side of the base gently against the bandsaw blade and butt the clamping block up to the bandsaw table under the base. Clamp the two pieces together using a spring clamp at both ends. Remove the base and clamping block from the bandsaw table while still clamped; attach them with two drywall screws (1-3/4 inch) using a cordless drill and a #2 screwdriver bit.

Making the Insert

  • Adjust the tablesaw fence to 1-3/4 inches. Cut a 1-3/4x30-inch piece of from a 1x4x30-inch white oak stock.

  • Adjust the cutting head height on the planer to 11/16 inch following the manufacturer's instructions. Turn on the planer and run the piece through the planer with the flat side down. Perform this three more times, lowering the cutting head 1/16 inch with each pass. This will result in the piece being planed down to 1/2 inch. Turn the board over with each pass to ensure that any cupping will be eliminated.

  • Adjust the fence on the router table so that it is positioned 7/8 inch from the center of the router. Insert a 3/4-inch router bit into the router per manufacturer's instructions. Position the height of the router bit 3/8 inch above the router table.

  • Hold the 30-inch side against the router's fence with the flat side on the table and run it over the dovetail bit.

  • Measure a 22-inch length of the dovetailed white oak with a tape measure and mark it with a pencil. Cut the excess wood off at the tablesaw using the tablesaw's miter gauge to ensure a square cut. Glue the piece into the plywood base with the dovetail slide up.

Making the Slide

  • Adjust the fence of the router table 3/4 inch from the center of the router. Extend the dovetail blade up so that the end of the cutting surface is even with the router table.

  • Set the 1x4x30-inch piece of white oak on its side and hold it against the router fence. Turn the router on and run the wood through the router blade on both sides to make the

  • Set the tablesaw fence to 3/8 inch. Hold the dovetail pin shaped side of the piece against the tablesaw fence and run it all the way through the saw. The cut will result in a slide that will fit into the dovetail groove in the base.

  • Drill a 3/16-inch hole 1 inch from the end of the slide. Screw in a 1/4-inch pivot point with a slotted head screwdriver. Insert the slide into the base to complete the project.

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