Many woodworking projects require drawing circles, which can cause some hesitation for novice do-it-yourselfers.

Nervousness aside, whether you’re building a table and cutting a hole for the base, or you’re installing light fixtures, piping or plumbing, this skill — along with knowing how to use a hole saw — is necessary.

But many DIY-ers use impractical and ineffective methods, and the results are less than satisfactory.

Impractical Methods for Drawing Circles

Many school children learn how to use a pencil compass for drawing small circles, and that will certainly get the job done for grown-up projects like planning holes for doorknobs.

However, this method’s usefulness, though effective, is limited. A pencil compass is too small for creating large circles.

And just because something technically can do the job, that doesn’t mean it’s the best tool for the job.

For instance, you may have seen the trick for creating large circles using a string. However, string stretches, so you won’t really get a very accurate circle.

Drawing Circles with Accuracy

We know which methods not to use — especially for drawing larger circles in wood — so which method should you use?

Well, here’s how to draw a perfectly accurate circle using a yardstick.

For a 20-inch diameter circle, start by drilling a small-diameter hole through a 1-inch graduation, then again through an 11-inch graduation. Then, use the 1-inch graduation as the pivot point.

Screw the yardstick into that hole. Make it tight enough to hold the yardstick flat, but not so tight that you can’t move it. Then drag the pencil along with the yardstick.

So if you wondering, “Can you draw a perfect circle?” The answer is, yes, you can!

Watch the video, and check out more Simple Solutions.

Now that you know how to create the perfect circle, here are some tips to use that hole saw and get the best results:

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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