circle template for router

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Forum topic by GANGGREEN posted 09-27-2018 12:08 PM 589 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GANGGREEN's profile


33 posts in 1493 days

09-27-2018 12:08 PM

OK, beginning question here and there’s probably a dozen simple answers, but I don’t have one off the top of my head, so I’m asking those of you who are quicker than me or who have done this a million times. I’m wanting to build a keepsake box for a friend with a sliding dovetail base and lid. Basically, I’ll make the base out of a 8/4” piece of cherry that I have on hand and the lid out of a 4/4” piece of cherry or a second 8/4” piece. I think I can manage most of the work (even though I’m really green with this stuff), but I can’t figure out what to use for a circle template to hog out the base of the box. He wants to present the box to his wife with several CDs of her children’s voices (long story short, she gets separation anxiety when she’s apart from her kids and he thinks this would be a nice gift) so I need the box to be in the 6 or 7” square range and the hogged out portion must be large enough to accept 4 5/8” CDs easily. I’m thinking a 7” square box and 5.5” recess would do it. The problem is that I can’t think of something to use for a perfect circle template. I know that you can make one out of MDF or something like that, but I don’t have circle cutters and don’t trust my skills with a saw well enough to cut a perfect circle. I also don’t have a spindle sander or anything like that to clean up said circle. So, what’s an easy solution? I know you folks will be able to help.

Alternately, if the hogged out circle doesn’t make sense, does anyone else have a plan for a simple, yet attractive smallish keepsake box that will look nice?

7 replies so far

View JRsgarage's profile


389 posts in 1522 days

#1 posted 09-27-2018 01:05 PM

Do you have a router? Simple to make a circle jig for a router out of any scrap

-- “Facts don't care about your feelings.” ..., Ben Shapiro

View Bill_Steele's profile


754 posts in 2745 days

#2 posted 09-27-2018 02:16 PM

It sounds like you want to hog out a circular area approximately 4 5/8” in diameter to hold CD’s—is that correct?

I think a good option would be to make a circular template—maybe cut an opening in a piece of 1/4” MDF with a fly cutter and then use a bushing in your plunge router to route a recess to hold the CD’s.

Other options if you have limited tools—if you have a router then maybe you could free-hand the hole—draw it out with a compass and then try to stay within the lines. If you have chisels then you could chisel out the area you need removed.

View RobHannon's profile


347 posts in 1543 days

#3 posted 09-27-2018 02:18 PM

A router with a sharp dish bit will minimize the sanding. You can get them with a bearing on the collar and then use a simple template taped to the piece.

For sanding, hand sanding or make a sanding mop. Look at how wood turners do the inside of vessels.

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2780 days

#4 posted 09-27-2018 02:26 PM

Get you 3 boards. Use one of these and cut a hole in one of the boards. Glue a second board to the bottom and have the third board serve as a lid.


View Nubsnstubs's profile


1768 posts in 2743 days

#5 posted 09-27-2018 02:51 PM

If you know of anyone with a Lathe, you’d be in business. It would take about 30 minutes max to make the hole, and then it’s up to you to complete it. ............ Jerry (in Tucson

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View GANGGREEN's profile


33 posts in 1493 days

#6 posted 09-27-2018 03:49 PM

All great ideas and precisely why I asked the question. I’m certain that I can work it out one way or another.

View EdDantes's profile


74 posts in 924 days

#7 posted 09-27-2018 05:34 PM

Similar to what others said: I’d cut a circle template in MDF, mount that to the box (clamps or carpet tape), then use a bushing with 1/2” spiral to ride along the outline then free hand the inside.

For the template you can use a Jasper jig or make your own router circle jig. I’ve found the jasper jig is worth the money, as it only costs ~$25 and you’ll find other uses for it.

When calculating the diameter of the circle template remember that you’ll need to account for the diameter of the bushing/bit combo you use. In other words, the template cutout will need to be larger than you desired final recess.

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