DIY Jigsaw Circle Jig and Jigsaw Rip Fence

Make a jigsaw circle jig to cut perfect circles in wood and a jigsaw rip fence for straight cuts with this step-by-step tutorial and video.

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.

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.

Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood
Jigsaw Circle Jig can serve both for cutting circles as well as a fence for straight cuts

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 stand on the jig so the full length of the blade can 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.

There are many factors that affect the accuracy of a cut with a jigsaw and you could easily end up with a skewed or crooked cut which can be avoided with a router. I am providing several tips in this article on how to make a straight cut with a jigsaw and avoid ending up with a beveled edge.

Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood
Cutting straight with a Jigsaw Circle Jig

RELATED: Check these other jigsaw guides for straight cuts and crosscuts. Also, if you have a trim router, you should consider making this router circle jig for precise circles that could be easily used for a jigsaw as well.

Jigsaw Circle Jig Video

If you want to see how it is done, watch the video below for a step-by-step guide on how to make a circle cutting jig for a jigsaw.

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Table of Contents

  1. Material you will need
  2. General Questions
    1. Why does my jigsaw blade bend?
    2. 5 tips to stop your jigsaw blade from bending
    3. What is the best jigsaw blade for cutting circles?
  3. How to Make a Jigsaw Circle Jig
    1. Step 1: Cut the wood pieces
    2. Step 2: Cut a slot for the extendable arm
    3. Step 3: Build the fence
    4. Step 4: Attach the pivot point
  4. How to use a Jigsaw Circle Jig
    1. Cutting straight with the jigsaw guide
    2. How to cut a circle in wood with a jigsaw circle jig

*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

Printable Jigsaw Circle Jig Plans. Free plans for a jigsaw circle jig.
Free Printable Jigsaw Jig Plans

What you'll need to make the Jigsaw Circle Guide

Jigsaw Circle Jig:
Plywood – 13cm x 3,5cm x 1,8cm (5.1 x 1.3 x 0.7″)
Plywood – 5cm x 3,5cm x 0,9cm (2 x 1.3 x 0.35″)
Brass flat bar – 10cm x 0,2cm x 28cm (3.9 x 0.07 x 11″)
Brass rod – 4mm (1/8 Inch)

Other:
Drill bit (for metal) – 4mm (1/8 Inch)
Epoxy resin
Hold down knob/bolt

Tools:
Jigsaw – Bosch GST 150 BCE

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Jigsaw circle cutting guide for cutting circles in wood

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

  1. 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. 
  2. Avoid putting too much pressure on the saw. Keep the jigsaw straight and let the blade do the cutting.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.

Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood
Scrolling blade for cutting circles with a jigsaw

Let's Start

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 23cm which allows cutting circles of up to 46cm in diameter.

Although a jigsaw wouldn’t be the first choice for cutting a perfect circle, it can be done, and a great result can be achieved. Keep in mind these tips that can help you avoid beveled cuts.

Technical parameters:

  • Extends saw blade up to 22cm (8.5″) from the edge of the workpiece
  • Cuts circles from 11cm to 46cm (4.3″ to 11″) in diameter
  • Can accommodate most jigsaws

The jigsaw circle jig considered in this article is one that 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.

How to make a Jigsaw Circle Jig

Step 1: Cut the Wood Pieces

Cut 2 plywood pieces.

  1. Larger wood piece that serves as a guiding fence for straight cuts – 13cm x 3,5cm x 1,8cm (5,1 x 1,3 x 0,7″)
  2. Shorter piece for the pivot pin to make circle cuts – Plywood – 5cm x 3,5cm x 0,9cm (2 x 1,3 x 0,35″)
Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood
Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood

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.

Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood
Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood
Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood

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Step 3: Build the Fence

Cut the brass bar to size (28,5cm) and sand its edges. Apply glue in the dado and fix the bar together with the larger and the shorter wood piece. 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.

Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood
Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood
Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood
Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood

OPTIONAL: You can run 2 pins through the joint. Not only will be joint be stronger, but also aesthetically pleasing.

Cut the pins a bit longer than the actual width of the jig (around 2,2cm). Drill 2 ø4mm holes in the center of the jig, apply epoxy and insert the pins. Once the epoxy hardens sand the protrusions flat.

Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood
Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood

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 (3,4cm) so that around 4mm will protrude above the jig. Round the edges, apply epoxy, and insert the pin into the hole.

Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood
Jigsaw circle cutting guide for cutting circles in wood
Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood
Pivot Point is aligned with the jigsaw blade

NOTE: Grind 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 brass for the arm which is easy to shape but still solid.

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.

Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood
Hold down knob for a jigsaw fence

And this is what the finished jigsaw circle jig/jigsaw fence looks like!

Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood
Jigsaw circle cutting guide for cutting circles in wood

How to Use a Jigsaw Circle Jig

Cutting straight with a Jigsaw Jig

The jig allows to make straight cuts and can be used on both the left and right sides of the jigsaw.

  1. Mount the jig on the jigsaw
  2. Set the desired width and secure the extendable arm
  3. Make the cut
Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood

How to cut a circle in wood with a Jigsaw Circle Jig

The jigsaw circle jig can be assembled in minutes and can be used on both the left and right sides of the jigsaw.

  1. Mount the circle jig on the jigsaw
  2. Set the exact circle radius by measuring the distance from the saw blade to the pivot pin
  3. Drill a hole in the workpiece for the pivot pin
  4. Drill a hole in the workpiece on the outer side of the circle for the saw blade
  5. Mount the jig on the workpiece
  6. Make adjustments as necessary so the saw blade touches the circle on the outer perimeter
  7. Pivot the jig around smoothly as you cut

NOTE: Use the right saw blade for the job. A scrolling blade is the best option. Underlay the workpiece to make room for the saw blade and secure the cut piece to prevent vibration and wobbling.

Cut slowly and steadily. Keep the jigsaw straight and avoid putting pressure on it. Let the saw do the work.

Jigsaw circle cutting guide for cutting circles in wood
Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood
Jigsaw circle cutting guide for cutting circles in wood

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Jigsaw circle cutting guide for cutting circles in wood

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Other Relevant Jigs for Cutting a Circle in Wood

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