How to cut a square hole in wood

For aces, there is no problem to make a square hole in wood. However, we can’t assure the same about beginners. Usually, starters in the wood making are interested in the question of how to cut a square hole in wood.

Tip. Also, you can read more about How to get into woodworking.

Such a type of cut is basic and widespread in producing toys, countertops, and other construction projects from wood. In this article, we are going to provide a detailed brief on cutting a square hole in the wood and useful tips.

We also asked our experts some questions, which we will uncover for you in a special FAQ block. Interested in becoming all pants in the area of cutting a square hole in wood? Forward reading and you will entire your project!

How to cut a square hole in wood
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Which power tools do you need?

On the one hand, cutting timber seems simple because you require only the cutting instrument. However, not at all. To get a quality project in the final, you must pay a decent part of the time on preparation.

Therefore, such cutting tools are involved in this process:

  • A handheld router
  • Calculator
  • A blade for Jigsaw/ cutting bit
  • Driller
  • ¼ inched tip for drilling machine
  • Jigsaw or any other handheld multifunctional machine like it
  • Protractor
  • Ruler and measuring tape
  • Sledgehammer
  • Oscillating tool
  • Some types of sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • Framing square

Prepare the aforementioned items to complete your work correctly. You may also find other tools alternative after surfing the internet area. Remember and follow the golden rule: “Measure twice, cut once”.

Tip. Furthermore, you can read more about Types of power saws and how to tell them apart.

How to cut a square hole in wood
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Be safe: follow safety measures

Woodworking includes some safety and security hazard. In independence of where are you working, you have to bear in mind the technique of safe engineering. So, meet a list of crucial rules:

  • It’s not recommended to begin working on your project under medication, alcohol/ drug affection, or when you are exhausted
  • Make sure that you are aware of the cutting square method
  • Grab out everything unneeded from your table to focus
  • Use a uniform (boots, respirators, face masks, goggles, etc.)
  • To save your hands from sharp objects, use special gloves for building work with resin liners
  • Ensure that the working room has strong air circulation. Sawdust may negatively show on your breathing system and vision organs. Therefore, it’s best to work outdoors

Please follow the safety tips. Around 700 thousand accidents happen each year because of clumsiness during working with tools. Be attentive and stay focused on your work to complete your projects without injuries.

What is the variety of methods to cut the square holes?

The wood-making appeared in the 720 century before Jesus. Even in ancient times, people were aware of lots of techniques to complete woodworking projects.  Now, when this industry is mushrooming, there is a decent number of methods.

Cutting the square hole is the basis of woodworking. However, for beginners, it may become a real brainstorm. Therefore, there is a variety of methods to choose from. The most popular techniques involve power tools.

In this guidance, we mentioned step-by-step instructions for using the jigsaw. This instrument is the most frequently chosen among professionals, however, for some beginners, it is an issue.

How to select an appropriate cutting technique?

Woodworking seems like a complicated process. Therefore, there are some factors to consider, choosing an appropriate technique for you. First of all, the level of skill is vital. The routers seem like complicated devices in the hands of inexperienced woodworkers.

The material and its quantity are also important. It’s much easier to cut a square hole in the wood with a chisel. If there are some pieces and their density is high, you will have to use harder instruments.

Selecting the cutting method also depends on the availability of tools, the project-making period, and the intended result. Don’t hurry up. Be focused.

How to cut a square hole in wood
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How to cut a square hole in wood using a jigsaw  

Jigsaw for wood making is the most win-win to complete a square hole. Firstly, it has plenty of benefits, one of them is its lightweight. You can complete a cut momentarily holding it in your hand. Below, we mentioned step-by-step instructions for working with the jigsaw power tool.

Tip. For example, you can learn more about jigsaw in my post Types of power saws.

Step1: Complete the measures of the cutting area

Use a measuring tape or framing square to measure the hole. The angles of the square must be strictly 90 degrees. Use chalk or pencil to line its benchmarks. Ensure again that your work was done properly.

Step 2: Is your wood sheet protected?

The second step is securing the wood sheet and positioning it in a simple way to cut. A sawhorse is a great device to ease the cutting of squares.

Take into account, that there must be enough space beneath to let the piece of wood run down. If you don’t have sawdust, the two table edges are a super alternative! 

Step 3: Use a drill to complete the starter cut

The construction of the jigsaw doesn’t support a capacity to start a cut above, you always have to start from the side. The solution to this type of problem is using a drill bit. You should drill holes at the angles of the square.

Some tutorials show that two small holes are enough. However, we recommend starters do it classically. The most suitable for this case is an auger bit.

Surely, measure twice and drill once. You have to rule the aspect of positions of small holes. It shouldn’t be too close to the line. Additionally, for circle cuts with a jigsaw, it’s enough to make only one drill.

How to cut a square hole in wood
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Step 4: Cut a square hole

Now, it’s time for the fun part. Put the blade of a jigsaw into the hole, turn it on, and begin cutting. If you have done everything right, the process will be smooth.

It happens, that the sawdust hides the line of the square. “How to deal in such a case”- most woodworkers ask. The solution is simple. You should buy an additional device on your tool called a vacuumer. You just have to put it on top of a jigsaw.

If you have a fan, floor blower, or cellar ventilator, it will comfort a cutting. Surely, manual cleaning of sawdust is also effective. However, it’s not as comfortable as the aforementioned methods.

By the way, you should pay attention to the availability of a blade with teeth. It will prevent the majority of sawdust and support comfort. More teeth on disc-less sawdust on wood.

Step 5: Sand to finish up the cut

This step isn’t compulsory, however, if you are intending to get the ideal framing square and a high-resistant blade, you should do that. The cutline is becoming smoother after some intervals with the sandpaper. It is also helpful for removing the burrs.

How to cut a square hole in wood
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How to cut a square hole in wood using chisels

According to regular woodworking statistics in America, professionals count chisels as the most basic cutting instruments. As a rule, it is used to complete small projects from plywood and other slim and leaky woods. Surely, it takes some time to practice the technique of working with chisels.

Even after a lot of effort, you may not get an ideally smooth and accurate cut. Especially, if you’re working with dense material. There are cases where the use of chisels is compelled:

  • Cutting a thin piece of wood
  • Restoration processes
  • Simple projects

How to cut a square hole in wood

To complete an ideal blade using a chisel, you must be extra concentrated on the process. Surely, you also have to follow the next recommendations for the cutting process using the chisel:

  • Place the square dimensions on the piece of wood. Make sure that each angle is 90 degrees, the sides are parallel and the opposites are perpendicular;
  • Put the tip of your instrument on one of the angles;
  • Tap the chisel strongly to make it go through the wood using a sledgehammer (hold the first one reliably if you don’t want to get an angled sidecut);
  • Continue pressing until the instrument won’t go through the wood sheet entirely;
  • Repeat the same actions with three left corners;
  • Cut the square out using a chisel (masters also use a jigsaw);

Hence, you are aware of the concept of making an ideal jigsaw blade using a chisel!

How to cut a square hole in wood
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How to cut a square hole in wood using the angle grinder

Another way of cutting a sheet of wood in squares is using an angle grinder. Such types of instruments are multi-useful and universal. In this case, you should use a disc with fine teeth.

The conception of utilizing resembles the previous ones:

How to cut a square hole in wood using a drill and saw

For this technique, you will need two types of instruments: a circular saw and a drill machine. This method is one of the most beneficial because you can use it for simple projects as well as on complex and on timber of any density and thickness. This technique is also appropriate for you if you are working with wood pieces that have different widths, and require the ideal cutting shapes.

How to do it?

Follow the next steps to achieve a perfect result:

  • Put the dimensions on the wood sheet
  • Select an appropriate drill and put it in
  • Turn on the drill and put the tip of it on one of four angles
  • Drill utterly the starter holes
  • Cut square holes and get a precise square shape

After doing such actions, you will possibly get a sharp blade. To get a perfect square without sharp blades, use the power sander.

Tip. Also, you can read more about How to join two pieces of wood at 90 degrees.

How to cut a square hole in wood using the handheld router

Let’s start with precaution: if you are a beginner, this tool isn’t yours (at a minimum now) because it requires an extended period of experience. To do it, you should follow the next followings:

  • Make a template
  • Add 0.35 inches to each side of the template
  • Make a pilot hole using a drill
  • Check the fence on the router
  • Put the router on the line and let it cut
  • Repeat for each line
  • Use sandpaper for smoothing and getting the desired shape
How to cut a square hole in wood
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Expert rubric: follow tips and safety precautions

Our team interviewed over 20 aces in the woodworking industry worldwide. We heard lots of useful information, that we already mentioned above. However, in this rubric we wish to present you some tips from real aces:

  • Use the right blade for your type of wood, it’s half the battle of making the square hole;
  • For making marking lines, the most appropriate materials are chalk and pencil. Pen or permanent markers aren’t the best items for such a purpose because it’s problematic in easing the lines;
  • Always focus on the square hole like it’s the center point. Nothing and nobody mustn’t disturb you from cutting the square holes, even if it does and period;
  • Independence of the type of your tool, never touch its blend when the machine is twisting if you don’t want to get pilot holes on your hands instead of square holes on the wood
  • Pay attention to the protective gear, always wear tough clothing, and closed shoes, use safety goggles, and dust mask, tie up the hair (if it’s long), and wear protective gloves

Follow the above-mentioned advice, and you will become a pro at cutting a square hole!

Tip. Moreover, you can read my guide about Woodworking when you live in an apartment.


What tool can cut a square hole?

A saw, router, angle grinder, chisel, jigsaw, and other rotary tools are the most frequently used for a square hole. Saw and jigsaw are the simplest to use.

What is the best tool for cutting a square hole the first time?

It depends on your cutting tools. However, our team started with a classic saw.

What can I use to cut a thin wood?

A saw is the most universal for woodworking, however, the router or chisel is also suitable. Other methods, which involve using the router power tool, are very valuable but need a pack of skills for cutting wood.

What are the aspects of choosing a method to cut?

Pay attention to the type of wood piece, the wood thickness of the material, the availability of tools, and your capacities. 

What is better: angle grinder or jigsaw?

The jigsaw is pretty comfortable and easy to use, however, not as multifunctional as the angle grinder. With the second one, you can change the suitable discs to the material, providing a quality side blade. It’s also easier to cut a square using a grinder because you don’t have to do lots of drills, it’s just enough to make a small hole. 

Final considerations

In this article, we revealed a relevant topic among starters. The cutting of the square hole is accurate work. There are lots of ways to complete it, however, the most popular still:

  • Chisel using
  • Utilization of the angle grinder
  • Handheld router – an instrument for aces
  • The combo of drill and saw techniques

We also told you about basic safety measures, tips, and the conception of choosing the method of cutting among an extensive variety of methods. We also interviewed professionals in the woodworking industry and put their tips here. What’s more, here are also mentioned answers to the frequently asked questions

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