You can use any number of power tools for cutting, but cutting perfect circles, especially larger ones, is not easy using power tools. However, most professionals, woodworkers, DIYers, and enthusiasts can use a jigsaw to cut various circular shapes fairly well.
It may be tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, the process is very satisfying. So, how to cut a circle with a jigsaw?
Let’s find out.
How to Cut a Circle With a Jigsaw
A jigsaw is very versatile and one of the few power tools capable of making straight, curved, and circular cuts, and it is mainly designed for such tasks. Here, we will discuss how to cut a circle with a jigsaw, both with and without a jigsaw guide.
You will learn exactly how to cut both internal and external circular cutouts on any material you may need for your project.
What You’ll Need
To start, you’ll need a jigsaw and a jigsaw blade capable of making circular cuts. Your best option is a scrolling jigsaw blade. However, if you do not have it, you can also use other thinner blades. The problem with thick blades is that they have a stiff body and rougher teeth, which means they are no good for clean circular cutting.
The other thing you need is something that will allow you to make or trace the circle you want to cut – a circular cutting line. For most people, a standard compass or a makeshift circular template is a readily available option. You can also attach a pencil at the end of a trammel head and use that.
Perhaps the simplest method is to pin a string at the center and use it to draw a circle with a pencil on the other end. There are several things you can try. However, if you need a sustainable tool/accessory for cutting many circles or circular shapes with your jigsaw, you will need to invest in a circle-cutting jigsaw guide for the best results.
For the purpose of this article, we explain how to cut circles with and without such a guide.
Circular Internal Cutouts (Without a Jigsaw Guide)
Naturally, you want to start by drawing a circular cutting line. You can use a compass and pencil, the pin-string technique, or any makeshift template you may have to mark/ draw the cutting line. Just make sure that you mark the center of the circle and leave room for the waste side inside the circle you draw.
The circular cutout is wasted since this is an “internal” cutout. So be sure to leave room inside the cutting line for finishing your cut later. Another thing to ensure is that your blade is not bent in any way because this can ruin your cut.
There are two ways to start your cut. Either start on the outside edge of the piece if possible. Alternatively, you can drill a starter or pilot hole, which most experienced woodworkers recommend. Make sure that the drill bit you use can drill a large enough hole to fit your jigsaw blade.
Your pilot hole should be inside the circular cutting line, barely touching it. Once you have made the hole, place your jigsaw blade through and start tracing the cutting line. This step may be difficult at first, but focus on the line, maintain full contact with the shoe, and let the blade make way.
If you have trouble, just make sure not to exceed the cutting line, even if it means leaving some extra waste for finishing later. You can sand out the remaining waste and use sanding for reshaping (if needed) or simply getting a clean, finished look.
Circular Internal Cutouts (With a Jigsaw Guide)
For the best results, you’ll need a circle-cutting Jigsaw guide. Simply fasten the beam of the guide to your jigsaw’s shoe and secure its pivot point to the center of your circle. Then, set the guide’s radius to meet the size of your circle or the cutting line you made earlier.
Once you are set, place your blade in the pilot hole and start cutting, making sure you maintain the jigsaw at a steady speed. Continue cutting, and you should be able to cut out a perfect circle following the guide easily.
After the cut is complete, simply sand out the remaining edges for a clean, finished look.
Circular External Cutouts (With and Without a Jigsaw Guide)
Not all circle cuts are made to create holes in materials. Often, you may want a circular piece of material for your project, for which you will have to make a circular “external” cutout. The process is similar to the circular internal cutouts mentioned previously, except the waste side is outside your cutting line (the circle), and so is your pilot hole.
You will need to drill the pilot hole outside the cutting line, barely touching it. From there, you can follow the same steps mentioned above, with or without a guide, by maintaining the waste side outside the circle at all times.
Our Final Thoughts
It isn’t every day that you’ll need to make circular cuts, both internal or external, but when you do, it is very handy to know how to cut a circle with a jigsaw. If you follow the mentioned guide, you will have no trouble making circular cuts in your materials.
Of course, if you are using thin materials, you can always stack them and drill your pilot hole through them all to drive the jigsaw and make multiple circular cuts at once. This can save you time. However, we recommend you practice on single thin materials first before moving to thicker materials or stacking.
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