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A Simple Guide On How To Cut A Square Hole In Wood

Knowing how to cut a square hole in wood is essential to any woodworker. This knowledge will not just prove your ability as a craftsman, but will significantly be useful in helping you to create and make excellent woodwork constructions.

For those of you that cannot cut a square hole in wood, this article will be of great help to you. It is a step by step tutorial on how to cut a square hole in wood. This exercise is very easy, less mental and quick to perform. If you are a serious woodworker or even a novice that wants to do more to perfect his art, then this tutorial should come in handy. So without further ado let’s get started!

What you will need

To be able to cut a square hole in wood, you will need a few things. These include:​

  • A cutting tool. The cutting tool can be a multipurpose wood cutting tool, a chisel, a saw or router. Depending on what you have and what you can comfortably use, either of these tools should help you cut a great square hole in wood.
  • You also need a tape measure, wood file, sand paper and a drawing pencil.

How to

There are many methods to cut a square hole in wood. One way is to use a drill and saw, cut using a chisel or use a router. Ultimately, either of these methods will give you a square shaped hole on your piece of wood. Here are some simple steps to cutting a perfect square hole in wood;

Step 1

To be able to get the desired square shaped cut, you will first need to draw a layout of the hole at the exact location you want to cut the wood. Use a tape measure to mark the length and width of the hole and then use a pencil to draw the layout on the material.

Importantly, ensure that the corners of the square run at 45°. You can use a protractor to get this angle the hole or if you are good at drawing angled shapes then just mark it with your eyes.

Alternatively, you can simply use a tri-square to draw the layout hole directly on the wood. It is easier and quicker, but if you don’t have a tri-square just proceed with the first option.

Step 2

Pick out your tool and start cutting.

Using a drill and saw

If using a drill, you will need first to select an appropriate drill bit and fix it in the machine. Once done, place the drill over the wood material and then switch it on. Next press the drill onto one of the corners of the square and drill a pilot hole.

Once you have a pilot hole, take out your saw and using the right blade, angle it towards the line which you drew for the square hole. Hold the saw on the line and carefully cut through for all four sides until you get the desired square hole.

Using a router

A router is another alternative tool to use to cut a square hole in wood. For this, you will need to make a template on the router table and use the template guide and bit in your router to make the square hole.

First of all, cut up the size of the square shape and lay it out on the wood that needs to be cut. Once you have this done, also lay out the offset of the bit to the template guide. Remember that the layout should be slightly bigger (like ¼ inch larger on both sides) than the actual square hole needed.

Next, drill a pilot hole in one of the square corners of the wooden material and jigsaw away most of the waste material first. Next, set up your fence on the router so that it places the cut just where it needs to be. Once done drop the MDF onto the bit and start cutting through the material.

Cut through the first line and stop the router. Rotate the wooden material so that the square turns and you can cut the other side of the hole. Follow this procedure for all sides until you cut the perfect square hole.

Using a router, however, may not end up giving you a perfect square corner more so if you don’t set the fence correctly. Therefore you will need to use square and smoothen out the corners by hand.

Using a chisel

Otherwise, a chisel can also be used to make the cut. What you need to do is simply, pick your chisel and place it top of the square lines drawn on the wood. Align the chisel with the lines and then tap at the end of the chisel with a sledgehammer to make a line. Repeat the same procedure carefully for all four square lines.

Remember that to make a cut using a chisel; you have to tap it hard so that it presses down through the patterned hole to make a line. Let it penetrate deep into the wood to make the lines. Once done with the first line follow the same procedure for the remaining three lines to get a square hole.

Step 3

Next, whatever tool you use, at the end of the cutting process you will need to smoothen out the edges of the square hole and the lines to make it perfect. For this you can use a wood file to file out any rough edges, a sand paper to smoothen the edges or use a chisel to trim and shave the edges until smooth and clean.

Be careful with the edges when smoothening them. You don’t want to end up rounding the corners.

Observe the following safety tips when cutting a square hole in wood;

  • Follow the given steps by step instructions carefully
  • Ensure that you have the appropriate tools and know how to use them
  • Keep your work area and tools organized in a tray near you for easy access
  • Wear protective clothing i.e. gloves, dust mask, safety glasses, closed shoes and an overall for protection against flying pieces of wood or other dangers associated with the process
  • Observe safety precautions when using tools like the drill. Make use of the manufacturer's user and safety manual if need be
  • Keep tools that you don’t need away from your work area and away from the reach of children

In a nutshell

These days, the do it yourself (DIY) trend is on the rise, especially in home improvement and enhancements. Most woodworkers prefer to get repairs and constructions done by themselves rather than paying someone else to do it. Repairing or making drawers in kitchen and bathrooms at home or even building stuff for the backyard are some of the things that craftsmen’s now do on their own.

Just like in the above, you too can be able to do most of your home improvement projects by being able to do small things like cutting square holes in wood. You just need to have the essential tools, understand their uses and know how to use them.

In short, get the rights tools and make use of this guide on how to cut a square hole in wood to make perfect square holes for your constructions.

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