How To Use A Jigsaw To Cut A Hole

How to use a jigsaw to cut a hole? Well, a hole is just another shape, and a jigsaw is a good tool to use. In this article, we will show you how to cut a perfect circle. We will show you what to “watch out for” and “be aware of”.

There are three major ways to do this. The first uses an interior hole, the second uses a plunge cut, and the third uses a circle cutting jig. Let’s start with the first method:

How To Use A Jigsaw To Cut Out A Hole First Method: Interior Hole

What do we mean by interior hole? This is a hole inside the circle itself. Once you make it, you can drop the jigsaw blade into it and cut out the circle shape. However, there are a few steps to this process. the following sections will give more detail:

Set Up The Saw

Not all jigsaws are the same as one another. However, most let you make adjustments:

  • Speed – This is the speed of the cutting blade. Some Jigsaws allow you to change this. Usually, you want a faster speed for woods such as Pine and a slower speed for metals.
  • Blade – There are many different types of jigsaw blades. All have a side with sharp teeth. The cut is smoother with more teeth and rougher with fewer teeth. For cutting out curves, the blade is usually shorter from front to back. This allows it to go through sharper turns. Also, you must consider the thickness of the wood you are cutting. The blade will be traveling up and down. It needs to be long enough to make a complete cut through the wood as it moves.
  • Bevel – Most jigsaws allow you to tilt the bottom base. This controls the angle of the blade. To move the base, you may have to loosen particular screws or release clamps. The actual action you need to take depends on the particular saw and model you are using.

Here is a link to a very good video. It describes the jigsaw and shows how to adjust the settings.

Draw The Circle

You will need to draw an outline of the circle you wish to cut. this can be done with a compass. Set it to the radius of the circle. Also, you can use a template.

Use a sharpened pencil to draw the circle on the wood. You probably want to remove the drawing marks after you cut the hole. So, you shouldn’t apply too much pressure on the pencil or scratch the wood.

In addition, you can use paper. One approach is as follows: Fold the paper, draw an arc, cut out the arc, and end up with a complete circle.

Make Interior Hole

Why would you need to make a hole in your circle? You can put the jigsaw blade into the hole and cut out the border of the circle. This is easy for the jigsaw. However, many other tools cannot do this. For example, the band saw has a continuous metal cutting blade. It’s great for cutting out curves. However, you cannot start the cut from the inside of a wooden piece.

You can use many tools to produce the hole:

  • Electric drill wood bit – The hole needs to be wider than the jigsaw blade.
  • Forstner bit – This will produce a very clean smooth hole.
  • Spade bit – This also produces a large hole.
  • Hand brace and bit – You need not use a power tool for the hole.
  • Chisel – You can even chisel out an opening for the jigsaw blade.
Brace and bit. The Brace is a hand woodworking tool.
Can Use Hand Brace and Bit To Produce Interior Hole

Can you use a scrolling saw to make the interior cut? As you will recall, a scrolling saw is like a jigsaw in that it can cut curves. However, it’s not a portable tool. Also, the tool holds the blades at both ends (The jigsaw only holds the blade at a single end).

If you remove one end of the blade from the scrolling saw, you can “feed” it through an interior hole. Once in, you can reattach the blade to both supports and cut out the circle. However, this process is a lot of work and is time-consuming. It’s better to just use a portable jigsaw to cut out the circle.

You can do the same sort of thing with a hand coping saw. However, the article will not discuss this since it only deals with the electric jigsaw tool.

Cut Out The Circle

Once you have the blade inside the interior hole, you can cut out the circle border. You should move slowly and turn the saw gradually to avoid many marks in the cut. These marks are made by the saw blade as you turn the saw on and off. Also, they can be made when you reposition the blade.

In addition, friction causes heating. As the blade moves up and down it rubs against the wood. This heats up the blade and it can burn it. This can be even more of a problem as you turn the blade around a curve. This increases the friction and the blade gets hotter and hotter.

Hot blades can cause charred wood marks. Usually, they can be removed with sandpaper. However, this process is very time-consuming. So, it’s best to avoid them in the first place.

Where should the interior hole be? Actually, it’s a good idea to make it close to the outer border of the circle. this allows you to reach the outer border quickly. You need not cut off too much wood. The process is quicker and there is less wear-and-tear on your blade. This is more of a factor if you need to repeat the hole cuts again and again for your project.

Sand The Wood To Make The Outline Smooth

The cut you just made will be rough and full of marks. These can be removed with sandpaper. One approach is to wrap the sandpaper around a round dowel, pipe or similar surface. Then, you should be able to follow the curve and sand down to the circle outline.

Another approach is to use a round sanding drum. This drum can be attached to a small electric drill or be put on a drill press. It does a good job and allows you to remove blade marks easily. I have written an article about electric drill attachments. The drill press chuck can be raised so that you can position the sanding drum inside the circle. This allows you to sand the circle you cut out.

The blade moves up and down. So, it might tear up the edges of the wood. Sanding will remove these defects. However, you might also benefit from a finer wood blade or a scrolling jigsaw blade. It is narrower and allows turns to be made more easily. Also, you need to make sure that you are not pushing the saw forward too quickly, and that the speed is set to the proper value for the material you are cutting. It can be hard to eliminate tears with plywood since this material has thin glued layers that can break easily.

Don’t Crack The Wood

There are many times when you can crack the wood and ruin your circle cut: When you are cutting the interior hole, you need to be very careful and pick a place that does not have a knot. In the worse case, the knot can drop out of the wood and crack it. The hole it leaves can stretch beyond the border of your circle. This can ruin your circle cut.

This image is found in the How To Use A Jigsaw To Cut A Hole blog post. It shows wood with a loose knot hole and cracks.
Wood With Loose Knot And Cracks

If you push down on the wood to heavily, you can crack it. You might be able to fix a crack with wood glue. However, this process takes extra time and effort.

Cut Your Circle Safely

When you cut your circle, you need to keep in mind that the saw blade is moving up and down below the wood surface. This is the case even if you don’t see the blade moving. So, you need to keep your hand and fingers away from the blade at all times.

There is a tendency to hold onto the piece of wood in order to prevent it from falling, but you must always be aware of the blade position and keep your fingers away from it. So, it’s a good idea to clamp your pieces and avoid using your hands to hold the wood.

Also, you don’t want to let the jigsaw run into the side of the workbench. If the bench is made of metal, sharp metal fragments can be thrown up at the operator. So, it’s a good idea to use goggles, safety glasses, a face shield, or similar protective device. I have written an article about tool safety.

The jigsaw is a very safe power tool to use. However, as with all tools, you need to keep safety in mind.

How To Use A Jigsaw To Cut Out A Hole Method 2: Plunge Cut

This method is almost exactly like the method above. however, you don’t have to make an interior hole to cut out the circle. So, how will you get the blade inside without one?

You can solve this problem by using the plunge-cutting technique. First, you tip the saw up so that the blade moves back and forth parallel to the wood. Then, make sure that the blade is moving at full speed and slowly tilt the base down until the blade cuts through the wood. At this point, the blade is in the interior of the circle. You just travel up to the circle outline and cut out the circle.

If you’re not careful, you can break the jigsaw blade when doing this. Make sure that the blade has a plunge-cutting point at the end. Also, make sure that the blade is traveling at full speed before starting the plunge. In addition, move slowly and gradually.

How To Use A Jigsaw To Cut A Hole Method 3: Circle Cutting Jig

Many jigsaws have attachments that will allow you to cut out perfect circles. Alternatively, you can make jigs that allow you to do the same thing. These attachments and jigs all have certain things in common: A rigid piece stretches from the center of the circle to the jigsaw. It allows the saw to be held at a constant distance from the central point. Because of this, the saw is forced to cut in an exact circle.

Fore more information, see the article I wrote called: What is a Jigsaw?

Conclusion: How To Use A Jigsaw To Cut A Hole

In this article, we have shown how to use a jigsaw to cut a hole. Three methods were presented: The “Interior hole” method might be the easiest. However, you need to go through the extra trouble of producing a hole. You can do this with tools such as an electric drill, hand brace and bit, chisel, or similar. The “Plunge cut” technique doesn’t even require a hole. However, you need to be very careful or the blade might break. The “Circle cutting jig” approach will also work. However, it requires extra setup and time.

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