Band Saw Circle Cutting Jig Problems

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Forum topic by KevinVan posted 03-23-2010 02:46 AM 13652 views 0 times favorited 47 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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91 posts in 3151 days

03-23-2010 02:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question

What do you guys use for cutting circles with a band saw and jig?

I built a simple jig last week and can’t get it to cut without stressing the blade. I placed the center point just in front of the blade like the examples I found online.

The blade I’m using is a new ½” wood slicer resaw blade from highland. I also tried a ¼” blade with the same results. I couldn’t believe how much the blade binded in the kerf.

I’m using mostly cherry, walnut and maple.

I ended up free handing the circles and then used the jig clamped on the sander to make it round. This worked well!

So what am I doing wrong? Do I need a different blade? Should the pivot point be moved forward?


-- ALS IK KAN “to the best of my ability,”

47 replies so far

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3042 days

#1 posted 03-23-2010 03:10 AM

What size radius were you trying to cut ???

View KevinVan's profile


91 posts in 3151 days

#2 posted 03-23-2010 03:18 AM

Radius would be 8 1/4” or 16 1/2 diameter. My Bandsaw is a 14” Powermatic.

-- ALS IK KAN “to the best of my ability,”

View rsmith71's profile


269 posts in 3042 days

#3 posted 03-23-2010 03:47 AM

I freehanded my bowls on the bandsaw and sanded them smooth. I found that marking them inpencil them making stright-in relief cuts every so often (no set places, just where ever looked good) from the sides kept the blade from binding or wandering nearly so much.

-- Robert - Haven Wood Crafts

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

508 posts in 3890 days

#4 posted 03-23-2010 04:10 AM

The guys who have woodworking shows on TV like Norm Abrams and Scott Phillips usually use a bandsaw jig for circles 2 to 3 or more feet in diameter. At least I don’t remember seeing them use a bandsaw for a diameter as small as yours. I think they both use a router on a circle-jig for the smaller circles.

Maybe that’s no help to you, but it might vaguely explain your difficulties…

I think that the way you worked it out—freehand, followed by sanding with the jig—was very excellent use of an alternate technique. To me, that’s the beauty of woodworking…there’s definitely more than one way to ‘skin a cat’—or slice a board—whichever you prefer… ;-D

Your frustration is understandable, but sometimes what works for some people just doesn’t pan out for others. I’m usually in the ‘others’ group, so I often find another way to effectively do what I want in the shop. I end up being even more satisfied with the result because of the journey I took to get there.

Keep it up!!

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3042 days

#5 posted 03-23-2010 04:35 AM

On that small of a radius I would place the jig on the “dead” centerline of the blade. I then would make an initial cut aprox. 1/4” inside or outside (depending on which section you are saving) then I would re-set the jig as you origionaly did and cut the radius to the desired size. I beleive with that small of a radius you must clear the stock out of the saw kurf to eliminate the binding

View lew's profile


12061 posts in 3755 days

#6 posted 03-23-2010 05:24 AM

I regularly cut circles much smaller than yours with my jig.

My stock thickness is usually equal or less than 1”, but as much as 3”. I usually use a 1/4” blade but sometimes a 3/8”.

For the least amount of binding, the center line of the jig should be at the front of the blade teeth.

Make sure the tension is correct. Sometimes the blade drift can tend to pull away from the cut and cause this to happen. Take it slow and easy.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3892 days

#7 posted 03-23-2010 06:03 AM

The size of the circle has nothing to do with it. A 2” circle will cut the same as a 36”. I believe a 1/2” blade is too wide for cutting circles. I use a 1/4”. I also can’t see the center line in reference to the teeth having anything to do with binding. Once the stock is turned into the blade you should be able to spin the stock pretty quick. The only things I could think that could cause binding would be a dull blade, the stock not sitting flat on the table, or the table not square to the blade. Check your setup, because like Lew said, not enough blade tension could contribute to it also.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View russv's profile


262 posts in 3169 days

#8 posted 03-23-2010 06:20 AM

i also own a powermatic bandsaw. i have cut circles out many times using the method you described and never have a problem. i would suspect something in the way your saw is tuned might be the problem.

you might moving the pivot point around to see how it changes the tracking. make sure your bearings above and below the table are rolling free and are adjusted properly. blade alignment is critical.

it has to be in the saw set up some how.


-- where to go because you don't want no stinking plastic!

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3663 days

#9 posted 03-23-2010 02:09 PM

I ran into a similar problem last weekend … found a video on Stu’s Shed that showed a jig that worked pretty well for me. (

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Alex Lane's profile

Alex Lane

508 posts in 3890 days

#10 posted 03-23-2010 02:17 PM

I apologize if I was misleading in what I said above. I was speaking from a non-experienced perspective, and it might have been better if I kept my mouth shut…LOL
It seems that I really had no idea what I was talking about as far as the size of circle a bandsaw can cut, so I’m sorry. But I’m sticking to the “more than one way to skin a cat” line of reasoning!! ...Those poor skinless cats. ;-D

I’ve never yet had a project that called for cutting circles in wood, but it may come up in my shop in the future.

I hope you can get this worked out successfully!!

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3005 days

#11 posted 03-23-2010 04:11 PM

I agree with Closetguy, 1/2” is too wide a blade. Tension and tracking and a nice sharp blade are the key to getting that to work. Try adjusting the tracking slightly and see if it improves. Since the top wheel is crowned, where the blade runs over the wheel determines how parallel it runs in relation to the edge of the table.

I have used a circle jig lots of times on my PM 14”. Smaller radii too.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 3031 days

#12 posted 03-23-2010 04:24 PM

I cut 10” and 12” circles with no problem using a 1/4”blade. The only thing is I have to enter the work piece right on the cut line. If I try to start by making the blade come to the cut line I have the problem you are talking about. Most of the vids I’ve seen (if you watch closely ) they have the starting spot right on one edge of the stock cut line even if they have a certian portion of waste on three sides.

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3648 days

#13 posted 03-23-2010 04:44 PM

you are using a 1/2” RESAW blade – which is great for RESAWING as it’s wide and likes to stay true to the STRAIGHT cut line. but WILL have a hard time doing curved cuts as it’s not meant for those.

use 1/4” blade or narrower (I use a 3/16” blade for scroll work and curved cuts)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3042 days

#14 posted 03-23-2010 08:05 PM

If the gentleman doesnt want to purchase a 2nd blade he can set up and remove the majority of the stock using straight cuts until he is about 1/16 away from the line – then set up his jig and use his existing blade – I agree that the 1/2 inch blade is too wide but I think he can make this blade work by making multiple cuts

View Hoakie's profile


306 posts in 4036 days

#15 posted 03-23-2010 08:30 PM

Have you tried filing the back of you blade to round over the edges . This can make a big difference

-- John H. [To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~Edison]

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