How to Cut Circles Using a Bandsaw
The bandsaw is one of my favorite tools. I use it to cut legs for chairs, curvy photo frames, and mainly for cutting circles out of MDF or plywood. I ran across this really nifty circle cutting jig over at The Family Handyman that is a cinch to make with scrap 3/4″ plywood. In order for me show you how to cut circles using a bandsaw, this jig will need to be built in advance.
For the project I am making, I need to cut two circles – one at 8-1/2″ in diameter and one at 12″ in diameter. I normally cut the material I’m using 1″ bigger than the diameter of the circles I am cutting. I cut one piece of MDF at 9-1/2″ square and the other piece at 13″ square.
I draw a line from corner to corner to find the center of each piece, then I drill a small hole in each piece where the lines intersect.
On the jig, I measure the distance from the slit where the blade of the bandsaw cuts to half of the diameter of the finished circle and drill a small hole. In other words, for my project, I drill a hole 6″ away from the blade and 4-1/4″ away from the blade. I use a roofing nail as the pivot.
I place the first piece of MDF on the jig with the nail through the hole in the center. I align one of the lines I drew to mark the center with the bottom of the slit for the blade. I turn on the bandsaw and slide the jig (slowly) on the bandsaw table to start cutting the circle. I stop pushing the jig through the saw when I get to the line drawn on my workpiece.
I slowly turn the square, pivoting on the nail, and let the bandsaw work its magic cutting the circle!
That’s it… Easy peasy, right? I’m hoping one day to make a huge table for my bandsaw and an even larger jig so I can make circles for tabletops or half circles for cabinets! Do you have a different method on how to cut circles using a bandsaw? I would love to hear about it – leave a comment below!