Making small circles

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timberfly

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I'm trying to make a large number of small identical hardwood circles (probably oak) for a child's game. Think small coasters, about 6-7cm diameter, with smooth bullnose edges to use as oversized counters. But I can't work out the best way to do it. I'd like both sides to have no hole in the centre, but I could live with one side having a hole that I could fill.

I've considered a router, but don't think I can easily get a router to turn accurately and repeatedly on that radius. So my next idea is to use a holesaw bit with a removable pilot. That should at least get the basic circle. Then my router table to add the bullnose, overcome the probably poor finish of the holesaw, and get them identical. Should that work, or any better way to do it?

I don't have a bandsaw (one way I've seen for making the rough circles) or a lathe, and I'm not sure I'd be able to get quick repeatable circles with either method in any case given my experience.

I'm hoping someone's done something similar. This place is a great source of advice.
 

Daniel2

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How about using a hole saw, then plugging the resulting hole, in
the middle, with a dowel.
It could be made attractive by using a contrasting wood for the
dowel.
 

Richard_C

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I would do as above, 6mm pilot, 6 mm dowel plugs which you could stain red or something before you insert, might be attractive for a children's game.

Would beech do? Go to a biggish supermarket or a kitchenware shop and buy a cheap rolling pin, they vary in size but you should find a 6cm ish one. Likely less than a fiver unless your local supermarket is Fortnum & Mason. Cut it up.
 

robgul

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How about using a hole saw, then plugging the resulting hole, in
the middle, with a dowel.
It could be made attractive by using a contrasting wood for the
dowel.

That would be my suggestion - and having made some circles as feet for an outdoor table they were better if I drilled from one side of the wood until the pilot drill appeared the other side and then turned the wood over to complete the drilling from the other side (using a drill press) The biggest issue was that the cut out circles wedged themselves in the hole saw!
 

Daniel2

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That would be my suggestion - and having made some circles as feet for an outdoor table they were better if I drilled from one side of the wood until the pilot drill appeared the other side and then turned the wood over to complete the drilling from the other side (using a drill press) The biggest issue was that the cut out circles wedged themselves in the hole saw!

Qiute agree.
Drilling from both sides eliminates any tearout, and leaves a much cleaner finish. (y)
 

Jacob

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Funny that - have been hole sawing through some plasterboard and just finished this minute.
You might need to sharpen the teeth a touch. I'll try it out on wood.
 

Woody2Shoes

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I'm trying to make a large number of small identical hardwood circles (probably oak) for a child's game. Think small coasters, about 6-7cm diameter, with smooth bullnose edges to use as oversized counters. But I can't work out the best way to do it. I'd like both sides to have no hole in the centre, but I could live with one side having a hole that I could fill.

I've considered a router, but don't think I can easily get a router to turn accurately and repeatedly on that radius. So my next idea is to use a holesaw bit with a removable pilot. That should at least get the basic circle. Then my router table to add the bullnose, overcome the probably poor finish of the holesaw, and get them identical. Should that work, or any better way to do it?

I don't have a bandsaw (one way I've seen for making the rough circles) or a lathe, and I'm not sure I'd be able to get quick repeatable circles with either method in any case given my experience.

I'm hoping someone's done something similar. This place is a great source of advice.
I would definitely re-consider the router option, but using double-sided tape to anchor the centre of your small-circle jig, the jig being made something like this:

The jig I use is very much simpler and uses the existing guide rails as part of the mechanism.
 

recipio

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Something like oak veneered ply will be a lot more stable and stronger. If you have a disc sander it is easy to make a small jig to manually turn a circle with a small hole on one side to pivot the piece around. Tables for disc sanders are adjustable and could do a chamfer on each side. Otherwise make a template with a hole saw and use a guide bush on the router with a suitable spiral bit, allowing for an offset.
Putting a true bullnose on the edge would be difficult - please don't try on a router table or the piece will catch and ruin your day. A small 2mm radius bit on each side will probably work although ideally it should be done on a lathe. ?
 

Inspector

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A plug cutter will give you the best finish but you'll need to use a drill press/pillar drill. Big ones in the size range you are looking for are available here so must be sold by somebody in the UK. Cost is minimal when spread out over a lot of discs and reduced edge sanding.


Pete
 

Bigegg

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Trend used to make a router sled/jig called a "pivot frame" which would be useful for this.
Good luck finding one, thoough: I bought the last one machine mart had in the country, 10+ years ago...

 

RichardG

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Use your hole saw to cut a hole in some 18mm MDF. Remove the drill from the hole saw, and use the 18mm MDF to guide the hole saw on your desired material. This will cut out circles with no centre hole, quick and simple.
 

Sheptonphil

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Find someone who has a CNC machine. It would knock them out in seconds, line up as many as your piece of wood will accommodate. There’s plenty on here who have one.
 

baldkev

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Does it matter if its end grain or edge grain showing? Similar to the rolling pin idea, but I bought some large oak dowels off ebay for general use. It would be end grain of course.....
But, if you have a router table, set up a round over bit, round off the end of the dowel, cut it off at the required thickness, round off the dowel again, cut it off, round off dowel etc etc... quickly repeatable.

This seller is good 👍
 

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baldkev

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Actually, just type in wood disks in ebay!! There's a few to choose from 😂
 

timberfly

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Thanks everyone. The rolling pin and dowel ideas are clever, but part of the fun is working out how to do this from scratch! :) And a CNC absolutely looks the easiest and most accurate way, maybe one day...

There's definitely more for me to look into with the router. In terms of the bullnose, I've seen a jig like this to use on the router table, and definitely looks interesting: Circular Router Guide

The plug cutter idea is interesting, although the plug cutters at 60-70mm are very pricey. Would the finish really be noticeably better than a holesaw? Can you talk me through why that would be? It looks like no centre hole required for this approach, so that's a big plus.

Thanks everyone, some really interesting discussion on this.
 

baldkev

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What kit do you have at your disposal?
A pillar drill with holesaw may well do the job without the pilot, but you are cutting from one side only and need to clamp the workpiece well. There are circle cutting youtube videos for tablesaws ( not tried it myself )
Or a simple jig to make hexagons instead of circles
 
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