How to Make a Perfect Circle Using a Router
The router is one of the most versatile woodworking tools is ideal for the woodworker who is always on a quest of unraveling new woodworking techniques and styles. The router is popular with professional and amateur woodworkers alike. They find this tool effective in “routing out” or “hollowing out” wood surfaces either for functional or decorative purposes.
The use of the router is common mostly with various designers such as furniture makers or staircase designers. However, any woodworker or woodworking enthusiast can use this tool since it is highly versatile and has unlimited uses. All that will determine how far and how much you can go or do with the router will be dictated by the type of router you have and your imagination. But did you know that you can make a perfect circle using a router? Well, it is very easy to do so. Read along to comprehend how you can do it.
How to Begin
Before you can do anything you need to know what type of router to buy and the router bits to have in your workshop. If you are a newbie in woodworking do not worry. You can consult with professional carpenters or woodworkers about the kind of project you have at hand. Also ensure you have other requirements such as gloves, safety glasses, and ear plugs. When you have everything in place then you are ready to explore the world of router woodworking.
Why Make Own Jig for Cutting Perfect Circles?
So many pre-made circle cutting jigs are available in the market but they are usually very expensive and most of them do not have large enough radius. You will also find out that most of them use a series of holes in order to regulate the size. This brings a problem in case you require a specific size of the circle that lies in between two sizes of holes provided.
Steps to Follow:
1. Tools and Materials:
- The router
- 1/2″ or less router bit (1/4″ and 3/4″ router bit)
- A straight edge
- Router baseplate for easy guide bushing
- Marker e.g. pencil
- Drill or drill press
- Table saw or band saw
- 1/4″ drill bit
- A guide bushing preferably with 5/8″
2. Drill a hole in the plywood of the jig to size. For it to perfectly fit the guide bushing make it 5/8″. You can use a 1/4″ plywood. Once you have drilled the hole, cut a 3/8″ slot down the center and trim the base to a perfect size. Set the router in place with the guide bushing holding it in place. You do not need screws or clamps to do this.
3. Radius adjustment-add the guide rails for adjusting the radius. You can use 1/2″ thick solid hardwood fitted with a rabbet on the inner edge. You can temporarily use spacers so as to align the rabbet perfectly.
4. Make a pivot pin is using a 1/8″ drill bit glued to a piece of hardwood. The hardwood is cut to precisely 3/8″ and 1/4″ width and thickness respectively. This will make the first part of the slider that will fit into the 3/8″ slot that was initially cut on the base of the plywood. Once this is done, a piece of 1/4″ plywood is then glued to it. This should be cut to size since it rides in the guide rail spaces created by the rabbets fitted. Another piece of wood should also be added so as to make it an exact fit for the guide rail recess.
5. A hole is then drilled for a 1/4″ bolt to be fitted then the hole is countersunk. This will make the bolt’s head flush with the bottom. You will easily understand this procedure when you use a diagrammatic representation or a video manual.
6. The bolt is glued in with the nut holding it until the glue sets. Use the plywood strip is too close the end of the track. In case you need to remove the slider, you will simply screw in the end. You can then use a knob and fender washers to fit the slider into place.
7. Finally, with the loosened knob, you can slide back and forth so as to adjust the cut radius. With this type of setup, you can cut a maximum of 36″ diameter and a minimum of 5″ diameter. Your jig is now finished.
You do not have to be an expert woodworker for you to comprehend how to make a perfect circle using a router. These days it is pretty easy to get some user manuals in form of articles, audio or video clips. The variety of routers available in the market may be enormous but do not be overwhelmed when choosing a router. Use some simple guidelines such as:
- Do not choose a high-end router or sophisticated routers with features beyond your scope. Choose a router which you have the skill to handle.
- Find a router with sufficient features and capabilities to avoid unnecessary replacement expenditure later on
- Buy a router that has the option for fixed-base and plunge routing. You can read more about these two and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
- Settle for a router that allows you to vary speed for the different bit sizes. Remember always that the smaller the bit, the higher the speed and vice versa.
- Buy routers that are easy to start since they are generally easy to control and their motors last for longer.
- You can choose a router with reasonable horsepower, preferably around 2 HP since they have sufficient power for most jobs.
- You should also consider the router price. It should be reasonably priced compared to standard market prices. Nonetheless, do not use price as a put off since at times higher prices imply higher quality and the opposite is true. Just ensure to strike a balance between the price and the quality of the router. You should get a router that meets your needs at a reasonable price.