Build a Bandsaw Circle Cutting Jig

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About: Hi, I am Ashley. I am a geek and woodworker. I am author of the DIY and woodworking blog, Handmade with Ashley. I also have a YouTube channel where I share video tutorials. I have always been into crafts. M...

Hello everyone, I'm Ashley and in this Instructable I'm sharing how to build a bandsaw circle cutting jig. This is a really easy shop project that will make cutting circles a breeze! My circle cutting jig is largely inspired by George Vondriska’s bandsaw circle cutting jig. I loved the adjustable dovetail slider feature in his jig and had to incorporate into my jig.

CLICK HERE to check out George's bandsaw circle cutting jig.

Let's get started with the build!

The following are some of the tools and supplies I gathered to build my bandsaw circle cutting jig (affiliate links):

Watch the how to make video below or continue reading for the written tutorial.

Step 1: Cut a Piece of Plywood for the Base of the Circle Jig

Cut a piece of plywood for the base of your bandsaw jig. My circle jig was created to fit on the Rikon 10-305 bench top bandsaw and is roughly 11″ x 16″. Your dimensions will vary based on the size of your bandsaw and on the size of the average circles that you want to create. The maximum sized circle that I can cut with my jig is just shy of 16″ radius.

Step 2: Cut a Sliding Dovetail

Cut a second piece of plywood to match the dimensions of your circle jig base.

Make a mark where the bandsaw blade will line up and from that point mark two lines: an inch above and below the initial mark. This section will be the adjustable sliding dovetail.

Cut along the lines with a 30 degree bevel on the table saw to create the sliding dovetail.

Step 3: Assemble the Jig

Glue the top sides to the base of the circle jig. First glue and clamp one side. Place the sliding dovetail with a card on each side before gluing and clamping the second side. This will ensure that the dovetail has room to freely slide in and out.

Once the glue dries, trim up the edges of the jig on the table saw.

Step 4: Create a Stop Block

I used a scrap piece of oak and attached it to end of the circle jig. You’ll want to ensure that the stop block allows the jig pivot dowel to line up with the front of the bandsaw blade.

Step 5: Attach a Runner for the Miter Gauge

Using more scrap oak, I ripped a piece of oak that matched the width of my bandsaw’s miter slot and attached it to the base of the circle cutting jig.

Step 6: Install Magnets for Jig Stability

At this point I noticed a had an imbalance issue with my bandsaw jig. I installed a small rare earth magnet to the base of my bandsaw jig. It was a magnet that purchased a long time ago so I do not know what the strength rating was, but it did the trick in resolving my jig’s balance issue.

Step 7: Create Clamping Mechanism for Sliding Dovetail

Drill a 5/16″ hole in the sliding dovetail channel. Install a 1/4″ threaded insert. Screw in a 1/4″ star knob to clamp the sliding dovetail into place.

This was my first time using threaded inserts. It was a breeze and adds a nice touch to the project.

Step 8: Install Dowel for Circle Pivot Point

Drill a 3/16″ hole and insert a 3/16″ dowel. This is the pivot point for the wood blanks.

Step 9: Install Sticky Measurement Tape

This final step is a really nice to have: installing sticky measurement tape. To install the tape:

  1. Lock the sliding dovetail into place
  2. Cut a circle on the bandsaw with the jig
  3. Measure the diameter of the circle
  4. Line the sticky measurement tape up with the end of the sliding dovetail
  5. Cut off any excess tape

Applying sticky measurement tape to indicate the radius of the circle

Step 10: Enjoy!

Now you’re adjustable bandsaw circle jig is ready for action. Enjoy!

Sidebar: How to cut a circle without drilling a hole

More often than not you’ll probably want to cut a circle without damaging the surface by drilling a hole for the pivot point. You can avoid marring the surface of your circle by first cutting a sacrificial circle.

Attach a wood blank to the sacrificial circle using double sided tape. Now you can cut a circle from the wood blank without damaging the surface.

Thanks for checking out my Instructable!

Watch the video:

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    24 Discussions

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    davepp

    3 months ago

    Clever jig. Nice instructable too!

    1 reply
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    underground carpenter

    Tip 3 months ago

    Great jig and Instructable. You're inspiring me to make a long overdue circle cutting jig for my bandsaw. The one tip I'd like to add is that you might want to use Baltic birch plywood rather than cabinet grad plywood. The higher number of same-thickness plies tends to make it flatter and more dimensionally stable. Plus the birch plies will wear better than the softer (often poplar) plies of cabinet grade plywood.

    Last note: I love your push stick.

    1 reply

    thank you! :) This was a way overdue project for me too. I'm so glad I finally made one. It's a huge timesaver over my previous set up on using my router :)

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    UkeDog

    3 months ago

    Great job! I've made a few temporary circle cutting jigs for my band saw, but I'm going to use yours as the basis for a more permanent one. I anticipate only a few changes.

    - Extend the jig base past the blade, almost to throat. This would keep it more balanced such that magnets are not needed. However, I will cutout a semi-circle above the left side of throat plate, so that dust collection can happen. Along with a slot behind for the blade, of course.

    - Add a screw with sharpened point sticking up on the other end of the slider, such that circles could be cut using that without first drilling a 1/4" hole. For smaller circles, mostly.

    Anyway, your details on the dovetail slider were very helpful, and it's a great project!

    1 reply
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    handmadewithashleyUkeDog

    Reply 3 months ago

    thank you! I glad you found it useful. I really like your suggestions for improvements. If I made it over again I'd probably extend it past the blade as well.

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    RadioActiveLamb

    3 months ago

    Very nice! I'm going to make one of these, using your plan. One thing I'll add though, is a locking/stabilizing mechanism on the front. You have a channel at the front of your bandsaw, you could slide-in something that locks it, rather than futz with the magnets. Btw, I love your push block.

    1 reply
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    CaptClaude

    3 months ago

    Very nice work! Love the attention to detail. Exact same principle as the one I built for my ghastly relic of a bandsaw (Ryobi BS-50B) but you spent more time making yours than I did. Nevertheless, I learned something here for when I get a PROPER bandsaw (jealous!).

    1 reply
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    ndronet

    3 months ago

    As a fellow geek and woodworker - you now have another YouTube subscriber.

    1 reply
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    goofydave01

    3 months ago

    A while ago, I made a circle cutting jig for my band saw. Yours is MUCH better.
    Question, unless I'm cutting very thin wood, when I try to cut the wood tries to push the blade sideways and bind up. Any ideas?

    7 replies
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    handmadewithashleygoofydave01

    Reply 3 months ago

    really great suggestions from everyone. I just wanted to add I went to a Woodworking Show a couple years ago and sat in on a session of Alex Snodgrass' bandsaw clinic. That class was a gamer changer for me and there's a video of it up on YouTube here:

    I highly recommend you check it out. Hopefully you can get your bandsaw tuned up well. :)

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    RadioActiveLambgoofydave01

    Reply 3 months ago

    GoofyDave, I had a similar problem with my cheap-o Ryobi "hobby" band saw. I found this video, and it changed my (bandsaw cutting) life - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFQ1t67Vdcw. Once I made the same adjustments to my saw, it cuts perfectly every time. It's actually a useful tool for me, when it wasn't in the past.

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    goofydave01RadioActiveLamb

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks for the response. Funny thing about that video is that the saw he is demonstrating is very similar to my craftsman saw. For an old, hobbiest saw, it works pretty well. Thanks again

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    max_brasilgoofydave01

    Reply 3 months ago

    This is a common problem. Make sure you are using a sharp blade with the correct number of teeth. You want about 3 teeth in the wood, so for 3/4" stock, use a 10 or 12 tpi skip tooth blade. Also make sure your blade is properly tensioned and is tracking well. Finally, go slow and use a steady feed rate. Let the blade do its job. Hope this helps!

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    goofydave01max_brasil

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks for the tips. I'm pretty sure the blade is ok, but I will check the tension. Slow and steady wins the race... lol

    As Max pointed out, slow and steady cutting wins the race. But it's also possible that you have the jig a hair too far forward or back in relation to the point on the wood that the blade cuts. The nature of circle cutting jigs is that the cutting of the wood must happen almost exactly on the axis of the pivotting point or the blade will attempt to track in the kerf, causing some binding. If your jig has a fixed depth stop (a cross bar that registers on the table front like this one does) try adjusting the rear tacking bearings to nudge the blade forward or back. If the blade binds on the outside of the circle's kerf, bring the blade back. If on the inside, bring the blade forward.

    Oh, yeah. That make total sense now that you say that. I'm pretty sure that may be the problem because I don't have any stop on there now. That's gonna be the first thing I check. Thanks so much!