How to Cut Circles with a Circular Saw?

As you can see from the above video. You can use a circular saw to cut a circle. I thought it did a great job showing how to do it I liked how she made a octagonal template. It actually servers 2 purposes. The first is that it allows the saw to remain at the same height as the jig. The second is that after the circle is cut that it acts as part of the table it self providing excellent support and stiffness. 

Tools and Materials


Plywood or MDF (1/2 inch thick):

    • Plywood is preferred for its strength and smooth finish, offering better durability for the jig and resulting in cleaner cuts. Ideal for projects where quality and appearance are paramount.
    • MDF offers a cost-effective alternative for practice cuts or projects where finish and durability are less critical. It’s easier to cut but more prone to wear and tear.
  • Straight Edge Guide:

    • A straight piece of lumber (1×2) or plywood ensures your circular saw travels in a straight, controlled line. This guide acts as a rail for the saw, so accuracy in its selection and setup is key. Ensure the guide is perfectly straight, as any warping can lead to inaccuracies in your cut.
  • Brad Nailer or Stapler:

    • Used to secure the straight edge guide and jig components. Choose based on the materials you’re working with: brad nails for harder materials where splitting is a concern, and staples for softer materials or where additional holding power is desired.
  • Wood Glue:

    • Select a high-quality wood glue for durable bonding between the jig components. Consider the drying time and strength of the glue to ensure it suits your project timeline and durability requirements.
  • Tape Measure and Square:

    • Precision in measuring and marking is crucial. A reliable tape measure and a carpenter’s square (or speed square) are indispensable for accurate layout of your jig and workpiece.
  • Drill and Drill Bit:

    • The drill bit should match the size of your pivot screw or nail precisely. Consider using a countersink bit if you’re screwing the saw directly to the jig to ensure the screw heads do not protrude and interfere with the saw’s movement.
  • Circular Saw:

    • A model with a 40-tooth finish blade is recommended for most wood types, providing a balance between cutting speed and finish quality. Consider the power source (corded vs. battery-powered) based on your workspace and safety preferences. Battery-powered saws offer portability and reduced trip hazards but ensure the battery life is sufficient for your project.
  • Safety Equipment:

    • Safety glasses protect your eyes from dust and debris, while hearing protection is essential to guard against long-term hearing damage from the saw’s noise. Additionally, consider a dust mask to prevent inhalation of sawdust, especially when working with MDF, which can produce finer particles.

Choosing Your Materials:

When selecting materials for your jig, consider the longevity and frequency of use. For a jig that will see regular use, investing in higher quality materials can improve accuracy and durability. For occasional use or practice, more cost-effective materials may be sufficient. Always prioritize safety and precision in your choices, ensuring the best possible outcome for your woodworking projects.

Can I Use the Circular Saw Rip Fence to Cut Circles?

Using a circular saw rip fence is not ideal for cutting circles. The rip fence helps in achieving accurate parallel cuts along the wood grain. However, to cut circles, you would need a different tool like a jigsaw or a compass. The rip fence’s purpose is to guide the saw along a straight line, making it unsuitable for curved cuts like circles.

Finishing Touches and Final Thoughts

After cutting a circle with a circular saw, it’s important to give some attention to the finishing touches for a professional-looking result. One crucial step is to sand the edges of the cut circle. This not only removes any rough or jagged edges but also ensures a smooth finish that will be pleasing to the eye and touch. Take care to sand in a consistent motion, following the contour of the circle to maintain its shape.

When sanding the edges, it’s recommended to use a fine-grit sandpaper or sanding block. Start with a coarser grit to eliminate any noticeable imperfections, then gradually move to a finer grit for a polished finish. Be sure to remove any dust or debris before proceeding to the next step.

After sanding, take a moment to evaluate the cut circle for any minor adjustments that may be needed. If there are any imperfections or uneven areas, carefully use a sander or sandpaper to make necessary refinements. Remember to maintain the shape and symmetry of the circle, taking your time to achieve the desired result.


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