How to Cut a Circle With a Jigsaw (A Starter’s Guide)

Discover how to cut a circle with a jigsaw using this step-by-step guide. Explore different ways and essential tips for cutting perfect circles with your jigsaw every time.

A jigsaw is, undeniably, one of the most versatile tools in a workshop, especially when it comes to curved and detailed cuts. While many might lean towards trim routers, scroll saws, or table saws for cutting circles in wood, not everyone has those tools in the workshop. But that is where the jigsaw shines. It is more than capable of taking on the task, and with a bit of technique, can produce cuts that rival those of more specialized tools.

Cutting straight lines might be a bit tricky with a jigsaw due to its inherent design. However, when it comes to crafting circles, the jigsaw truly excels – it is a handy tool for these specific, intricate cuts.

The challenge, however, comes in when seeking perfection. Freehand cutting a circle with a jigsaw is relatively straightforward. Crafting a flawless circle, on the other hand, might be a bit more difficult. But it is feasible and with the right techniques, and methods you can consistently achieve excellent results.

In this blog post, I will guide you step by step on how to cut a circle with a jigsaw. I will also explain the different approaches and share practical tips on how to ensure your cuts are as precise as possible.

Jigsaw circle cutting guide for cutting circles in wood
Cutting circles in wood with a jigsaw

Table of Contents

  1. Top Considerations to Cut a Perfect Circle With a Jigsaw
    1. Jigsaw Type
    2. Type of Jigsaw Blade
    3. Square Jigsaw
    4. Jigsaw Circle Jig
  2. How to Cut a Circle With a Jigsaw
    1. Cutting a Circle Freehand
    2. Cutting a Circle using a Jigsaw Circle Jig
  3. Wow to Cut a Circle in Wood Techniques
  4. How to Cut a Circle With Jigsaw Tips
  5. Conclusion
  6. FAQ

Top Considerations to Cut a Perfect Circle With a Jigsaw

When you’re aiming to cut a circle with a jigsaw, there are some simple pointers to keep in mind. Using these tips can help make your cuts more accurate, and precise and overall look better.

Jigsaw Type Do you have a high-quality jigsaw? Does it have guide bearings and rollers? What is the jigsaw's power?
Type of Blade Are you using the right type of blade for the task and for the material cut?
Square Jigsaw Make sure the blade is square to the base before you start cutting.
Jigsaw Circle Jig To cut precise circles, you can use a jigsaw circle cutting jig.

Let’s take a look at each of these considerations in more detail.

1. Jigsaw Type

The type of jigsaw you use can significantly influence the final outcome of your project. The quality of your jigsaw is pivotal in determining the precision and accuracy of your cuts.

  • Quality Matters: High-quality jigsaws are often built with better components and tighter manufacturing tolerances, resulting in smoother operation and increased durability. Unlike their cheaper counterparts, these tools are engineered to handle intricate tasks with greater ease and consistency.
  • Look for Support: A jigsaw with guide bearings and rollers provides consistent support to the blade during the cut. This is particularly important when dealing with tough materials or intricate shapes.
How to put a blade in a jigsaw
Jigsaw Roller Guide

2. Type of Jigsaw Blade

When it comes to making circular or curved cuts, the type of blade you use is essential. Choosing the right blade for circular or curved cuts isn’t just about ensuring the jigsaw works – it’s about the finish and quality of your project.

Using the wrong blade can lead to less-than-perfect outcomes, sometimes even irreversible mistakes that compromise the entire project. Moreover, it’s not just about the cut, but also the compatibility with the material you’re working on. These are the points to consider when choosing the right blade for the material and the project.

The Right Blade for the Right Job:

  • What to Look For: Unlike straight cuts, circular cuts require a more flexible and narrower blade to move smoothly around curves.
  • Avoid Thick Blades: Thicker blades resist bending, making them great for straight cuts but not ideal for curves. Go for a thinner blade that allows for greater maneuverability.

Materials Matter:

  • High Carbon Steel: These are generally less expensive and are good for soft materials like wood and plastic, but they wear out faster.
  • Bi-Metal: A bit pricier but more durable, these blades are good for a variety of materials.
  • Tungsten Carbide: The most expensive but also the most durable. Ideal for tough materials like metal or abrasive wood.

TPI – Teeth Per Inch:

  • Higher TPI for Fine Cuts: If you’re looking for a cleaner cut, go for a blade with a higher TPI. This ensures that the blade cuts smoothly without leaving jagged edges.
  • Lower TPI for Faster Cuts: These are better for quick, rough cuts but remember, the finish won’t be as clean.

Keep Them Sharp

  • Signs of Wear: A dull blade is an inefficient blade. Look out for signs of wear and replace as necessary to keep your cuts clean and your jigsaw running smoothly.
Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood

3. Square Jigsaw

Before you begin cutting, take a moment to ensure your jigsaw blade is straight and properly aligned. Though it may seem obvious, this step is often overlooked, leading to less than perfect results. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  1. Initial Blade Check: Before even turning on the tool, visually inspect the blade for any obvious signs of damage or bending. If the blade is damaged or bent replace it with a new one.
  2. Check the blade’s alignment: Using a square, confirm that the blade is perpendicular to the shoe. It’s a simple check, but it ensures your cuts start off on the right foot. A blade that isn’t square can drift during cuts, leading to mistakes that are hard to correct.
  3. Watch for misalignment: Even if the blade looks straight, a slight bend can compromise your project. Always double-check its alignment using a square before initiating any cuts. This repetitive check might seem unnecessary, but it ensures consistent quality.

RELATED: How to change a jigsaw blade

4. Jigsaw Circle Jig

Using a jigsaw circle jig can greatly enhance the precision of your circles. It is a tool that provides a clear path for your blade, guiding your hand and making sure your cuts remain consistent and true. There are a few options, ranging from shop-made jigs and guides to homemade DIY jigsaw circle jigs.

Using a guide helps in maintaining a consistent cut, especially for circles. With a pivot pin to guide it, there’s less chance of going off track.

While a circle cutting jig is an excellent help, it doesn’t solve all the problems. You’ll still need to handle your jigsaw correctly. Pressing too hard or moving too quickly can still lead to errors. Let the jigsaw do its job, guiding it gently and maintaining a steady hand.

RELATED: DIY circle cutting jig for a jigsaw

How to Cut a Circle With a Jigsaw

1. Cutting a Circle Freehand

To cut a circle in wood freehand using a jigsaw, the process is rather straightforward but may require some finesse and practice to get right.

  1. Initial Setup: Begin by taking a beam compass and a pencil. Adjust the compass to the desired radius and draw your circle where you want it on the material.
  2. Making a Starting Point: For an easy entry for your jigsaw, use a drill bit to make a hole in the material, ensuring it is close to the inner or outer edge of the circle, depending on which part you wish to preserve.
  3. Cutting the Circle: Place the jigsaw blade into the drilled hole and slowly start cutting along the drawn circle line, moving from the outside edge and progressing inward.
  4. Finish: Sand the edges and imperfections with sandpaper or an orbital sander.

Benefits Compared to Jigsaw Circle Cutting Jig:

  • Quick and Simple: This method is immediate and doesn’t need any specialized tools apart from a beam compass or a correct jigsaw blade.
  • Suitable for Beginners: Even those new to woodworking can tackle this method without much difficulty.


  • Quick method
  • Minimal tools required
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Low cost
  • Flexible for circles of different diameters
  • Great for small-sized circles


  • Not accurate circles
  • Many imperfections possible
  • Risk of material splinter

2. Cutting a Circle Using a Jigsaw Circle Cutting Jig

When you’re looking for more precise and accurate cuts, a Jigsaw Circle Jig will help you with that. Essentially, this tool is a guide that is used to cut perfect circles by maintaining a consistent radius throughout the cut. It operates using a pivot point at the circle’s center, allowing the jigsaw to revolve smoothly around it.

A Jigsaw Circle Cutting Jig is a piece of material, often wood or metal, with a slot to accommodate the jigsaw blade (although you can encounter many designs). It comes equipped with a pivot point or a small pin that is placed at the desired circle’s center.

  • Setting It Up: Firstly, secure the jigsaw onto the jig. Next, measure and set the desired radius by adjusting the distance between the jigsaw blade and the pivot point. Drill a small hole in your material where the center of the circle will be and insert the jig’s pivot pin into it.
  • Cutting the Circle: Turn on the jigsaw and, with the jig’s guidance, let the tool move smoothly around the pivot. As it revolves around this central point, the jig ensures the blade maintains a consistent distance from the center, resulting in a round cut.

Benefits Compared to Freehand Cutting:

  1. Precision: The Jigsaw Circle Cutting Jig ensures your circles are more precise and accurate and resemble more of a circle.
  2. Flexibility: By simply adjusting the distance between the pivot point and the blade, you can easily create circles of varying sizes without needing a new tool or setup.
Circle jig for jigsaw for cutting perfect circles in wood
Jigsaw circle cutting jig for precise circular cuts


  • Highly accurate cuts
  • Consistent and replicable results
  • Scalable for different circle sizes
  • Suitable for projects that demand precision
  • Minimized risk of errors
  • Great for larger circles


  • Initial investment required
  • Limited by the jig’s design and size
  • Might seem complex to beginners
  • Requires maintenance
Jigsaw Rip Guide, Jigsaw Circular Guide
Shop made circle jig
Jigsaw circle cutting jig for cutting circles in wood
DIY Jigsaw Circle Jig

RELATED: How to make a Circle Jig for a Jigsaw

Typical Issue with a Jigsaw circle jig: 

Using a jigsaw circle jig can greatly enhance the precision of your circular cuts compared to freehand methods. However, a common issue with using the jig is that since the jigsaw is anchored to it, there’s limited flexibility for adjustments during the cutting process. This rigidity can sometimes make the blade tilt or bend, resulting in the cut’s endpoint not aligning with the starting point. To address this, remember the following:

  1. Choose the right blade suitable for both the task and the material
  2. Opt for a high-quality jigsaw equipped with guide bearings and rollers for enhanced stability
  3. Maintain a consistent speed during cutting, and ensure it remains upright and steady
  4. Adjust the speed based on the thickness of the material

How to Cut a Circle in Wood - Techniques

Start with relief cuts

If you want to cut smaller circles, especially those with a tight radius, using a jigsaw can be challenging due to the blade’s limited turning ability. Relief cuts are a solution to this issue.

Begin by making a series of straight cuts from near the edge of the circle’s cutting line, crossing the center and ending almost at the opposite edge. These cuts facilitate the jigsaw to navigate the curves without strain. Ensure your relief cuts don’t surpass the intended cutting line, leaving a small margin for safety.

Once all relief cuts are made, proceed to trim the remaining lines, and the jigsaw will easily handle this refined radius. Sand the edges to make a uniform circle.

Start on the inner edge of the circle

For tasks that require an internal cut-out, mark your circle using a beam compass or trammel head, ensuring you note the center point. Drill a starter hole just touching the inside of the cutting line, ensuring it’s large enough for the jigsaw blade.

Place the blade in this hole, and while maintaining consistent speed, follow the marked line, letting the blade work its way. Once completed, sanding can smooth and perfect the circle’s edge.

Cut circles with a jigsaw - inner cut
Ingernal cut out

Start on the outer edge of the circle

If you want to keep the inner circle instead of creating a hole, the method is similar to the internal cut-out technique. The main difference is that the waste piece will be outside the circle.

When making the starter hole, it should be drilled just outside the marked cutting line. Focus on keeping a steady pace when cutting, with the jigsaw shoe consistently in contact with the wood. This ensures smooth cutting by the blade. Once the circle is cut out, sand the edges.

Cut circles with a jigsaw - outer cut
External cut out

How to Cut Circles with a Jigsaw - Tips:

Cutting circles requires a different approach than cutting straight lines. Here are some techniques and tips to ensure the best circular and curved cuts:

  • Sawing Technique: Start your circle slowly. Hold the jigsaw firmly, ensuring you keep a consistent speed and pressure. This will help you maintain the curve without any unintended deviations. Remember to keep a steady jigsaw pace; don’t rush or force it.
  • Jigsaw Tilt Angle: Adjust the tilt angle of your jigsaw. Some projects might require a slightly tilted blade for beveled circular cuts. Ensure it’s set correctly for your outcome.
  • Continuous Cutting: When cutting a circle, always strive to maintain a continuous, fluid motion. Stopping or hesitating might result in uneven or jagged edges.
  • Starting Point: Unlike straight cuts where you can begin at an edge, circles often require a starting point within the material. Drill a small hole, slightly larger than your blade’s width, at the intended circle’s perimeter (inner or outer). This acts as an entry point for the jigsaw, ensuring a smooth start.
  • Blade Selection for Circular Cuts: Circular and curved cuts typically demand thinner, more flexible blades that can navigate the curves without resistance. The material you’re working on also dictates the blade type. For example, wood might require a different blade than metal or plastic. Always ensure you’re using the right blade for both the cut type and material.
  • Teeth per Inch (TPI): For smoother circular cuts, opt for blades with a higher TPI. They yield cleaner edges, reducing the risk of splintering.

How to Cut a Circle With a Jigsaw - Conclusion:

Cutting circles in wood with a jigsaw requires both technique and the right tools. While the freehand method offers a quick and straightforward approach, especially for beginners, it might lack the precision desired for certain projects. 

A circle-cutting jig, on the other hand, ensures much greater accuracy, resulting in near-perfect circles. The blade’s type and quality, combined with the jigsaw’s attributes, are the most important considerations in determining the quality of your cuts. It’s essential to choose the right blade based on the task and material at hand.

KEEP READING: How to cut straight with a Jigsaw

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different methods of cutting a circle in wood?

Several tools, such as routers, band saws, table saws, and jigsaws, can be used to cut circles in wood. Each tool offers distinct advantages and is chosen based on the desired outcome.

What is the best tool for cutting circles in wood?

For perfect circles, the trim router is a top choice due to its precision and ease of use. Its design and functionality ensure consistently smooth and accurate cuts, making it a favorite among craftsmen.

Can you use a Jigsaw to cut a perfect circle?

Yes, with careful technique and the right tools, especially a circle cutting jig, a jigsaw can cut near-perfect circles.

What jigsaw blade for cutting circles in wood?

For circular cuts in wood, use a jigsaw blade designed for curves, often made of high-carbon steel or bi-metal, with a suitable TPI for the wood’s thickness.

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About the author, Lukas
About the author, Lukas

Meet the creator of AllFlavor Workshop! As a passionate DIYer and woodworking enthusiast, Lukas is always looking for ways to make things himself rather than buying them off the shelf. With a keen eye for design and a knack for working with wood, Lukas enjoys sharing his craft with others and helping them discover the joy of building. Whether you're an experienced woodworker or a novice looking to try your hand at a new hobby, you're sure to find plenty of inspiration and tips on AllFlavor Workshop.