Jigsaws come in handy when you have to cut any metal or wood, and if they are fitted with the correct blade, they can cut fiberglass, steel, and drywall as well. This makes a jigsaw a versatile tool that adds value to your workshop. For people who are obsessed with DIY, a jigsaw can be a helpful buy. While a jigsaw can be used to cut various materials, it can be both difficult and easy when it comes to cutting a circle with it. It’s the same as drawing a circle on the paper, if you try to wing it, it’s probably not going to be good, but if you use the right techniques, it can be quite easy cutting a circle with a jigsaw.
Cutting a circle with a jigsaw isn’t exactly something that you can freestyle, which is why one way to do it is by making a circle-cutting jig. There are also some other techniques and tips that you can follow in order to create a perfect circle through a jigsaw.
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Tips for Cutting a Circle with a Jigsaw
Before you begin the process, here are some tips on how to make it easier.
- If you need accurate round cuts, a circle-cutting cut jig is something you will find useful. If you do not want to go down that road, you can also opt for a freehand version to cut the circle. However, the latter method may not be considered more accurate.
- If you are cutting a circle on wood with a delicate surface, cover the shoe with masking tape or painter’s tape so that the surface is protected.
- Cutting a circle on dry plywood will be much easier. Be sure that you are not using wet wood which will create resistance. Apart from that, the lamination can also chip away when you cut through it and it can damage the blade of your jigsaw.
Jigsaw Blade Checks
- Having an electric jigsaw also means extra care. You need to take care of the edges so that they do not chip away. Before you use the jigsaw, check if its blade is in proper working condition. If the blade is curved or the teeth of the jigsaw are not sharp enough then you need to replace the blade as it will create hindrance in the way of a smooth process.
- The type of jigsaw blade you use is equally important as some blades are better than others and will consequently yield better results. For example, a scrolling jigsaw is perfect for cutting circles as this blade is very thin. The thinner the blade is, the better the results will be! If your jigsaw blade is thick, your circular cuts will not be as neat as you would want them to be.
- Jigsaw blades can also have limitations. The thickness a jigsaw blade can cut through varies with the blade and the hardness of the wood. Make sure to know the type of wood you are working on along with your jigsaw blade.
Jigsaw Speed and Pressure
- Speed and pressure play an important role if you want a decent final result. With a jigsaw, if the speed is too fast with too much pressure, it will end up damaging the wood you are cutting. There is also a chance that your jigsaw’s blade will bend or break. Therefore, it is better if you let the jigsaw be guided by the jig.
- If you are thinking of cutting a circle with a jigsaw, try using MDF, plywood, or any other material which can serve in making a base and jig. Other necessary accessories you should have in your working area include small things such as screws, markers, and a working surface. In the end, it is important to carry out this task on a workbench where you can lay out the materials.
Building A Circle Cutting Jig
One way to cut a circle is through a circle cutting jig. There are pre-made jigs that can be found in hardware stores or online. However, you can always build your own. With the help of the jig, you can cut almost any size of a circle with a jigsaw as long as you are precise with your measurements. Here is a guide on how to make your own circle-cutting jig.
Choose a wooden base piece that is larger than the shoe of your jigsaw. This piece will act as the base by being connected to the jigsaw and the circle jig.
On either side, attach barrier pieces (much smaller in size) in order to keep the jigsaw in place. For extra safety, you can attach barriers on all three or four sides of the wooden base as well.
On a longer beam piece, drill holes that will act as the ‘arm’ of the jig. This will help make sure that the measurement of the radius stays the same. This beam piece will also be the pivot point from where you can increase or decrease the diameter.
Now, attach the beam piece with the pocket holes.
After marking your blade position, drill a hole in your wooden base where the jigsaw blade will go through.
Attaching Jig to Work Surface
Attach the work surface and the jig loosely with the help of a screw. For this, you will first need to measure the diameter of the circle you want to cut and mark the pivot point. Place the jig onto the center point and screw it with a screwdriver. The screw will act like a compass, which will be the primary guide once you cut the circle.
In your workpiece, drill a starting hole with one other hole at any point on the circle. The second hole will be used for the jigsaw drill where its blade can fit in so you can start the cutting process.
At this point, the jig is ready for cutting a circle. Cut a circle by applying steady, firm pressure forward. As the jig and the jigsaw are attached together, measure the diameter of the circle you want. Cut through the wood and you will have to yourself a perfectly cut circle with the help of a jigsaw!
In all of the steps mentioned above, the most important thing is your safety. Never forget to follow the appropriate safety measures while working with heavy and delicate tools. It is also recommended that before you embark on such big projects, you should get familiar with your jigsaw’s workings. Try several experiments and match different types of woods with different blades to get an idea. Here are some good options for Jigsaws if you are looking to buy one.