A jigsaw circle jig is used to accurately and precisely cut circles in the stock. The main purpose of a circle jig is to act as a guide to cut circles accurately with a precise diameter.
A jigsaw is a versatile tool that can be used to make many types of cuts, including curved shapes. It is also great for cutting intricate patterns, making straight or beveled plunge cuts, or any freehand sawing. The type of saw blade determines for which cut and for what purpose the jigsaw should be used. When equipped with the right blade you will be able to cut through wood, plastic, and even materials such as ceramic or metal.
A jigsaw is a suitable tool for cutting circles. The right type of saw blade together with the circle jig allows the jigsaw to cut precise circles.
There are a few ways how to make a jigsaw circle guide.
- The first option is to make a base plate for the jigsaw with an extension arm for setting the required diameter. Such a jig with minor modifications could be used with various tools but is designed to make circular cuts only. This router circle jig is a good example of such a circle cutter and could be easily modified for a jigsaw.
- The second option is to elevate a jigsaw fence to not only serve as a guide for making straight or beveled cuts but also to serve as a jig for cutting circles. In this case, the jigsaw does not use a base plate which allows for the full length of the blade to be used. This is the type of guide we will be building in this blog post.
It is relatively easy to cut a circle with this jigsaw jig and you can achieve a great result, but if you have the opportunity, you should also consider cutting a circle with a trim router.
NOTE: There are many factors that affect the accuracy of a cut with a jigsaw and you could easily end up with a skewed, crooked, or uneven cut. The following articles provide a few tips and suggestions on how to use a jigsaw to make straight and circular cuts.
Table of Contents
- Material you will need
- General Questions
- Why does my jigsaw blade bend?
- 5 tips to stop your jigsaw blade from bending
- What is the best jigsaw blade for cutting circles?
- How to Make a Jigsaw Circle Jig
- Step 1: Cut the wood pieces
- Step 2: Cut a slot for the extendable arm
- Step 3: Build the fence
- Step 4: Attach the pivot point
- How to use a Jigsaw Circle Jig
- Cutting straight with the jigsaw guide
- How to cut a circle in wood with a jigsaw circle jig
- Jigsaw Circle Jig Video
*Safety is your responsibility. Make sure you know what you’re doing and take all necessary safety precautions while working with power tools. Safety comes first!
Always be cautious and careful when using any power tool.
Jigsaw Circle Jig Plans
Free Jigsaw Circle Jig Plans available below
What you'll need to make the Jigsaw Circle Guide
Jigsaw Circle Jig:
Plywood – 130 mm x 35 mm x 180 mm (5.1 x 1.3 x 0.7″)
Plywood – 50 mm x 35 mm x 9 mm (2 x 1.3 x 0.35″)
Brass flat bar– 100 mm x 2 mm x 280 mm (3.9 x 0.07 x 11″)
Brass rod – 4mm (1/8 Inch)
Drill bit (for metal) – 4mm (1/8 Inch)
Flat Brass Bar, Brass rod 4mm
Epoxy resin, Wood glue
Hold down locking bolt
Jigsaw – Bosch GST 150 BCE
Why does my jigsaw blade bend?
There are several factors that can cause a jigsaw blade to bend when cutting. The most common reasons are putting too much front or lateral pressure on the saw, pushing the saw at a higher speed, cutting through thick material, or not using the correct saw blade for the job.
There are several other factors that may contribute to bending the saw blade, but these are the most common ones. Avoiding these mistakes will make your cuts cleaner and more precise.
5 tips to stop your jigsaw blade from bending
- Use the right blade for the job and the material you are cutting. There is a huge difference between the best and the worst blades.
- Avoid putting too much pressure on the saw. Keep the jigsaw straight and let the blade do the cutting.
- Take your time and don’t rush. Move forward at the right speed so that the teeth are allowed to cut completely through the material. Cutting slowly reduces blade flexing and gives the best-finished edge.
- For better quality and accurate cuts use a heavy-duty saw that is equipped with blade guides (pair of rollers) and variable speed that lets you slow down when you’re at a tricky point in a pattern.
- Secure the cut material to prevent vibration and wobbling
TIP: When building a jigsaw circle jig, and cutting a circle make sure the pivot pin on the jig is even with the blade. It is important to align the blade with the tangent to the circle. Otherwise, the blade will tend to wander out even more, usually pulling outward from the intended path.
What is the best jigsaw blade for cutting circles?
Cutting a circle with a jigsaw requires a specific saw blade. Not using the correct saw blade is one of the main factors that causes blade bending. There is a huge difference between the best and the worst blades.
The best jigsaw blades for cutting circles in wood are scrolling blades. The slim profile of the blade combined with its flexibility makes the scrolling blade one of the most suitable blades for cutting curves. These blades are perfect for clean and precise cuts.
After trying several scroll blades, I had the best experience with the Bosch T119BO and the Bosch T101AO3 blade.
Let's Start Building!
The jigsaw circle jig can be easily used outside or at remote locations. It is easy to mount on a jigsaw and can be mounted on both the left and right sides. The arm is extendable up to 230 mm which allows cutting circles of up to 460 mm in diameter.
Using a jigsaw might not be the ideal tool for cutting a perfect circle, but it is still possible to achieve a great result with it. If I were to cut perfect circles, I would choose a router as my preferred tool.
Jigsaw Circle Guide parameters:
- Extends saw blade up to 220 mm (8.5″) from the edge of the workpiece
- Cuts circles from 11cm to 460 mm (4.3″ to 11″) in diameter
- Can accommodate most jigsaws
The jigsaw circle jig allows both circular cuts and straight cuts and can serve as a jigsaw fence as well. To build it you will only need a jigsaw. Additionally, you could use a grinder (as shown in the video) but it is not a necessity and a file would work just fine.
NOTE: The most important part of the build is to make sure the pivoting pin is even with the blade. Otherwise, the blade will tend to wander out even more, usually pulling outward from the intended path.
How to Make a Jigsaw Circle Jig
Step 1: Cut the Wood Pieces
Start by cutting 2 plywood pieces.
- The larger wood piece serves as a guiding fence for straight cuts – 130 mm x 35 mm x 18 mm (5,1 x 1,3 x 0,7″)
- The shorter piece for the pivot pin to make circle cuts – Plywood – 50 mm x 35 mm x 9 mm (2 x 1,3 x 0,35″)
NOTE: Make sure the smaller wood piece is of the same height (thickness) as the height of the fence slot on the Jigsaw shoe. Thus, after mounting the jig on the jigsaw, the extension arm remains level.
Step 2: Cut a Slot for the Extendable Arm
Cut a slot in the middle of the larger wood piece to insert the extendable arm. The depth of the cut equals the thickness of the brass bar, and the width of the cut equals the width of the bar.
To make the slot you can use the jigsaw and then refine it with sandpaper or a chisel. You can also use this simple sanding technique to get a precise slot.
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Step 3: Build the Fence
Cut the brass bar to size (285 mm) and sand its edges. Apply glue in the dado and fix the bar together with the larger and the shorter wood pieces. Secure it with clamps and wait until the glue fully hardens.
Use epoxy for a tight bond and make sure the bar is perpendicular to the wood piece. This is important for straight clean cuts.
OPTIONAL: You can run 2 pins through the joint. Not only will be joint be more robust, but also aesthetically pleasing.
Cut the pins a bit longer than the actual width of the jig (around 22 mm). Drill 2 ø4mm holes in the center of the jig, apply epoxy, and insert the pins. Once the epoxy hardens sand the protrusions flat.
Step 4: Attach the Pivot Pin
Drill a ø4mm hole in the jig. It is important that the pivot pin on the jig is even with the blade. The jigsaw blade must be tangent to the circle. Otherwise, the blade will tend to wander out. The position of the pin will be slightly different for each jigsaw – take into account the type of your jigsaw.
Cut the pivot pin (34 mm) so that around 4mm will protrude above the jig. Round the edges, apply epoxy, and insert the pin into the hole.
NOTE: Sand the edges of the extendable arm if necessary to perfectly fit in the holes on the jigsaw base. If you don’t have a grinder a file can be used instead. I used a brass bar for the arm which is easy to shape but still solid and strong enough to hold the jigsaw in place while cutting.
To fix the extendable arm in the rip fence slot I am using a locking knob. You can get such a knob in your local hardware store. However, a bolt can be used as well. Some jigsaws already come with a predrilled hole for a locking bolt.
And this is what the finished jigsaw circle jig/ jigsaw fence looks like!
How to Use a Jigsaw Circle Jig and Jigsaw Rip Fence Guide
1. How to Make a Straight Cut with a Jigsaw
This jig helps you make straight cuts and fits on either side of the jigsaw. The side fence acts as a guide, leading the blade smoothly through the wood.
- Securely fasten the jig to your jigsaw ensuring it’s firmly in place.
- Determine the width you want for your cut and adjust the extendable arm accordingly.
- Once set, tighten the locking screw to keep the arm steady.
- Before cutting, ensure your workspace is clear and the wood is firmly clamped or held down.
- Power on the jigsaw, making sure you have a firm grip and the blade is not touching the material.
- Begin your cut, guiding the jigsaw slowly and steadily, letting the blade do the work.
Make sure to take all the necessary safety precautions.
2. How to Cut a Circle in Wood With a Jigsaw
If you need to cut a circle in wood, a jigsaw can be a handy tool to use. Here are the steps to follow:
- Mount the circle jig onto the jigsaw.
- Measure the distance from the saw blade to the pivot pin to set the exact circle radius.
- Drill a hole in the workpiece for the pivot pin.
- Drill another hole on the outer side of the circle for the saw blade.
- Attach the jig to the workpiece.
- Make any necessary adjustments so that the saw blade touches the outer perimeter of the circle.
- Pivot the jig smoothly around the circle as you make the cut.
A Few Tips for Cutting a Circle with a Jigsaw:
- Use the right saw blade for the job, preferably a scrolling blade.
- Underlay the workpiece to create space for the saw blade.
- Secure the cut piece with clamps to avoid vibration and wobbling.
- Cut slowly and steadily.
- Keep the jigsaw straight and do not apply too much pressure. Allow the saw blade to do the work.
Circle Jig for Jigsaw Video
Want to learn how to cut a circle using a jigsaw? Check out the video below! The video also walks you through creating a circle jig for jigsaw, step-by-step.