With a bit of patience, it's possible to make circles using a table saw.
In order to make perfect circles out of wood, you will need a simple jig that you can put together in minutes.
I'll show you first how to make the jig and then how to use the jig to cut perfect circles every time.
Things You'll Need
- Table Saw
- Finishing Nail
- Scrap Wood or MDF
Cutting Circles on a Table Saw [Step-by-Step]
The first part is to make a simple jig for doing this.
Making a Simple Jig for Cutting Circles on Table Saw
First, we need a long thin piece of wood or plastic to make the runner for the miter track of the table saw.
The runner will help in moving the jig along the line of the miter track.
This piece should be as thick as the miter track of your table saw and should be flush with the table saw top.
Take a scrap piece of wood and cut it into the required dimensions.
Although wood is a great option to use, plastic is a better choice as it doesn't swell, shrink or break easily.
Thus, making it the perfect fit for these kinds of needs.
In this case, I'll be using a wooden runner.
The next part is making the board which will be fixed to the runner.
Take a plywood board (around 11" x 22" dimensions) and draw parallel lines on it using a pencil.
These lines are for positioning the runner correctly when fixing it to the board.
The width of the lines drawn must be equal to the width of the runner.
Pre-drill a few holes along the length of the runner before screwing it onto the board.
Next, screw the runner onto the board.
Slide this jig onto the miter track, and if the board extends beyond the blade, trim down the excess wood.
You need the board to be wide enough to just stop short of your table saw blade.
With that step, your jig for cutting the circle is ready.
Cutting the Circle using the Jig
Take the wood that is to be made into a circle. Make sure the wood taken is square to reduce wastage.
To find the center of the square wood, draw two diagonals.
The exact point they meet will be the center of the square.
Now, you need to fix this board onto the jig through the exact center of the board.
Before fixing it you need to determine the final radius of the circle you need after cutting.
The distance from the screw to the line of cut of the blade will be the radius of the circle you get.
You need to measure this and set the center of the board such that you get the correct radius you need.
If you need to decrease the radius, move the board to the right of the line of cut.
Once you have fixed the location of the center of the board, it's time to screw it onto the jig.
I'll be using a screw to do this. You can also use nails if you want to avoid screw marks.
First, drill a hole in the center of the square piece.
Drive a screw through the center of the pilot hole to fix the wooden board to the plywood board underneath.
Make sure the nail holds the wooden board in place while also allowing it to rotate freely.
Also the wooden board should at least touch or extend past the blade for getting a full circle.
Now rotate the square piece around 45 degrees in the clockwise direction to get the maximum wood to extend past the blade.
Turn on the saw and push the jig with the board onto the saw blade, cutting off a corner.
Rotate the wood by 90° and cut the next corner.
Repeat this process until all four corners are cut.
What you initially started as a square would now have turned into an octagon. (eight corners and eight sides).
Continue this process of rotating and cutting corners off the wood.
Each time you cut all the corners on the wood, the number of corners doubles, and the board turns more into a circle.
Repeat this process until you think all corners have been adequately shaped.
Remove the screw from the wood.
The burn marks left by the blade and any minor defects still left on the wood can be sanded away easily.
Once the sanding is done, the process is complete and you have successfully cut a circle on a table saw.
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Tips for Accuracy while Cutting a Circle on a Table Saw
- Check the saw blade for missing teeth and splits on a regular basis.
- If you are using wet wood or treated lumber, use a blade that's appropriate for that purpose.
- Use a sharp blade with an appropriate number of teeth. More teeth on the saw blade means better cut but takes longer to cut and large teeth means quick but rough cuts.
- Always make sure to cut away most of the corner and not just the edge.
Tips for Safety while Cutting a Circle on a Table Saw
- When using a table saw, You should not use gloves. In addition, remove any rings, bracelets, or other clothing that might become entangled in the table saw or material.
- When cutting, stand to one side of the saw blade; do not allow anyone to stand directly in front of the saw blade while it is running.
- Don't remove or hold down a piece of wood by reaching across the saw blade.
- Never stay right behind or too close to the running blade to avoid injury in case of kickback. Kickback is extremely dangerous and must be prevented at all costs.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
What is the best tool to cut circles in wood?
The best technique to cut circles in wood for your project is with a hole saw. First, start cutting with your hole saw in the chuck of your drill or drill press. Hole saws can cut circles with diameters ranging from 3/4 inches to 7 inches.
Can a Dremel make a hole in wood?
Owing to their tiny chuck size, the Dremel can drill small holes. You may use a rotary tool (also known as a Dremel tool) for various tasks, including grinding and cutting, as well as crafts and home renovation.
Can you cut circles with a table saw?
Table saws are typically used to cut straight lines in wood, but circles can also be cut. A jigsaw is typically used to cut a circle out of wood, requiring a steady hand. A router is a more accurate method of cutting a circle.