Best Way to Cut a Perfect Circle in Wood

I recently finished up a furniture building project where I needed to make a perfect circle for a table top. This table top was for a round end table that was a knockoff of Studio McGee’s Cora Side Table.

Check out the post on how to make a side table here.

DIY round End table woodworking plans

In order to cut a perfect circle in the wood for the table top, I used a circle cutting jig for my router. The jig I used was the CircleGuideKit made by Milescraft.

In this post, I will review the CircleGuideKit and provide a detailed tutorial for how to use the kit in order to cut large and small circles in wood. Spoiler alert: the CircleGuideKit is awesome and well worth the money!

Step 1: Prepare the Wood

For this particular project, I glued 8/4 cherry together to make the top. If you do a glue up in the wood, be sure that the surface is smooth before you cut a circle in it with the CircleGuideKit. This will ensure that the jig can run over the piece easily and avoid any imperfections or tearout.

Cora side table studio mcgee

You can smooth the surface of the wood by using a hand plane, a thickness planer if you have one big enough, a drum sander, or hand sander. I used an orbital sander to smooth out the glue up on the table top before I routed out a circle.

This part of the process wouldn’t be needed if you are cutting a circle in plywood, for example. I recently did this when I made a set of cornhole boards.

Step 1: Install the Base Plate and Centering Pin on the Router

The CircleGuideKit comes with everything you need to cut circles from 1.5″ to 52″.

Install the centering pin to your router. This will allow you to line up the base plate that comes with the kit correctly.

If you already have a base plate on your router, remove it. Install the provided base plate that comes with the circle cutting kit. Add the provided bushing into the base plate. This bushing will align with the centering pin.

Once aligned, you can now remove the bushing from the base plate and centering pin from the router.

Step 3: Determine the Desired Diameter for the Circle and Prepare the CircleGuideKit

Attach the aluminum beam to the circle guide head. You will now need to decide what size circle you will cut.

Your circle will fall into 1 of 3 categories in regards to diameter: 1.5″-10″, 10″-42″, or 42″-52″. You will then apply the correct circle slide according to your desired circle diameter.

Step 4: Locate the Center and Install the CircleGuideKit

Mark the center of your piece with a pencil. Be sure to do this on the underside of your piece since you have to drill a hole for the kit to rotate from.

how to cut a perfect wood circle

The kit comes with a drill bit for drilling the center hole.

For tips and tricks to getting started with a power drill and drill bits, check out this post!

Add the center pivot with the provided pivot screw.

You can now lay the CircleGuideKit on the center pivot.

how to cut a round wood circle

You will now adjust the diameter of the circle you will be cutting in the wood. The aluminum beam comes with a measuring tape to help set the correct size.

best way to cut a perfect circle in wood

Step 5: Install the Router Bit and Attach the Router to the Kit

The kit comes with a straight bit that you will install in your router. This bit worked great in getting a clean cut and a perfect circle!

how to cut round wood circles

Apply the router to the CircleGuideKit. Since you have already attached the correct base plate to your router, it will lock into place when rotated onto the CircleGuideKit.

Step 6: Cut a Perfect Circle in the Wood with the Router

You can now begin cutting a circle in the wood using the router. Make multiple shallow passes. Each pass should be around 1/4″ deep at a time.

Make sure you have a surface below your piece that can be cut into. I find foam insulation to be the best solution for this.

how to cut a large perfect circle in wood

Continue this process until you have cut all the way through the wood.

how to cut a perfect circle in wood

You can now fill the screw hole with wood filler if you’d like (although this would theoretically be the underside of your table top, so it might not be needed). Give it a good sanding, and you now have a perfect circle cut out of wood!

For more router projects, check out these related posts:

Final Thoughts on a Review of the CircleGuideKit by Milescraft

The CircleGuideKit provides a quick, easy, and accurate way to cut small and large circles. It is easily customizable to whatever size circle you need to cut in the wood. It is a great jig to add to your home shop!