Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to cut circles in wood

I was faced with an interesting problem when starting work on the sets for "8 Ghante" production - how to cut 30 wooden circles of 2ft diameter? 

Cutting a perfect circle in a piece of wood can be a daunting task if you don't have the right set of tools. The following are the basic choices: 
  1. Wooden rounds from HomeDepot/Lowes/wood-shops - Expensive, but perfect size, shape and thickness. 
  2. Do it yourself using one of the following tools - Jig Saw, Band saw with jig, Router with jig
  • Jig Saw
    Jig saw is an inexpensive, but time consuming approach. They do a nice job of cutting some irregular shapes and removing the excess wood. The tool cannot rotate fast along the circumference of the circle and can cause the blade to break or bend slightly if you put any sort of pressure while cutting.  
  • Band Saw
    A band saw rigged up with a circle cutting jig can cut perfect circles of different size diameters. The first challenge is that you need a band saw and the second challenge is that you have to make the circle jig. I really wanted to pursue this venue, but the lack of access to a band saw crossed out this idea. 
  • Router
    Routers can cut very accurate circles of various diameters with a circle cutting jig. The router is mounted to the circle jig with pre-printed measurements. The first drawback is that you need a small center pivot hole in your wood to put the reference pin into. The second disadvantage is this is a time consuming method - you have to cut small chunks out of the wood by going around it several times.

    Considering the advantages and disadavantages of all the choices and tools, I picked the jig saw - cheap and reasonably accurate but time/labour intensive. Voila we have out own wooden rounds.

 

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