how to cut a circle in wood with a drill

2 Ways on How to Cut a Circle in Wood with a Drill

Most types of saws are designed to cut straight lines. Cutting a hole means using other tools. While using a hole saw may look like a viable option, the size of the circle being cut will just be limited. With a drill, however, you have control over the size of your circle. 

When it comes to learning how to cut a circle in wood with a drill, particularly ones with big diameter holes, it might be challenging if you do not have the right tools to use. Drilling holes into wood will require you to use either a hole saw, a cordless, or a power drill. In this guide, let us take a look at different ways to accomplish this task.

1. Drilling a Hole with Flat Spade Drill Bits

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Drilling using spade bits is no doubt one of the most common methods in drilling into wood. They are easy to find, as they are usually available in almost all hardware stores. Also, they are commonly used by plumbers and electricians in drilling holes into studs if they are working on running wires into walls or plumbing holes for smaller pipes to go into. How flat spade drill bits work is that it is wide and flat, with a long handle and a sharp tip point. The external edges are usually sharpened, making sure that they can cut right into the wood. 

Before drilling with a spade bit, make sure that you have a secondary wood piece scrap in place. This will help in preventing the hole from potentially blowing on the other end, creating a huge mess on the hole’s outer end.

In using a spade bit, find the area where you need to drill the hole, placing the point of the spade bit in that area. As you drill into the wood, ensure that it is done straight-on into the wood, not with an angle. This step is very important if you want your hole to be completed properly.

While drilling with your spade bit, make sure that it is done gently as you gradually increase the speed, while the tip goes further. If the drill ends up bogging down too much, pull it out, cleaning any debris before starting all over again. 

2. Drilling a Hole with a Hole Saw

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Even though spade bits are recognized as the best tools that you can use for drilling holes, the biggest bit could only reach a size of 1 1/3 inch in diameter and is best for electrical purposes. If you need a bigger hole for plumbing use, a hole saw may be the best equipment to do the job for you. 

Even though a hole saw is a separate tool, it is a circular saw that connects to a bit as it goes into the drill. Most models of drills work well with this task except for some models of cordless drills. A good cordless drill for this job should feature variable speeds, with 18 volts of power, or even higher. 

When drilling with a hole saw, drill a 1/8 hole at the middle of the hole that you are planning to drill. Make sure to drill completely and straight through this wood piece. This is the pilot hole and the place where the center bit will go. It will serve as a guide to the hole saw on where it should go as you drill into the wood piece. 

To continue the process, drill halfway into the first side, switching to the other end with the same process until the circle is completely drilled. It must be only done halfway, entering from the other side as if you have completely drilled on a side. If this happens, it could be challenging to take the piece of wood out. Also, the exiting side will end up having extremely rough edges, with the possibility of splintering the wood as it goes out. 

Note that hole saws could be very dangerous. To avoid unlikely accidents, make sure that the wood is clamped down. You might end up hitting a nail, even tilting the hole saw, thus causing the bit to snag, twisting the entire drill.  Also, ensure that you keep a firm grip on your drill while you are operating a hole saw. 


The abovementioned ways on how to cut a circle in wood with a drill are easy to follow, whether you are a beginner or a professional. However, some of the techniques may require practice. Therefore, do not expect perfection on your first try. Once you get used to it, you will start finding your strong spots and capabilities, and you can even inject your creativity to achieve the output that you want. Share with us your experience! Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!



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