How to cut a square hole in wood by hand?

Wood is one of the most common and popular materials that the home master deals with. From it, you can build a country house, put up a fence, make furniture, and much more.

Seasoned woodworkers usually don’t have any problems with making square holes in wood. Moreover, there is a large variety of tools on the market to suit just about every need. However, if you are new to woodworking, you might need a guide to help you get started.

In this article, we would like to talk about the different types of ways to make square holes in wood and share my own experience in choosing and using them, as well as give some tips that may be useful to the reader.

In this article, we will show you the various ways you can make square holes in wood with or without a jigsaw blade.

How to cut a square hole in wood by hand

How do you cut a square hole in a wood board? Make holes using a cordless circular jigsaw blade

Step 1

Make a square hole using a jigsaw with a direct-insertion wood blade. A framing square might help in making a square shape in solid wood.

Step 2

Support the tool on the work surface, and slowly introduce the blade into the wood, along the inside of the drawn line, until the square hole is complete.

Unlike the conventional blade, a direct-insertion wood blade has a point that will allow us to empty it cleanly and without the need for a previous square hole. There are models for both straight and curved cuts. With it you will be able to make perfectly square holes.

While corded saws are great, a cordless saw may be more convenient to cut a square hole punch in thick wood out of the two cutting tools.

With this technique, you will be able to make perfectly square holes, achieving excellent results.

How do you cut a square hole without a jigsaw? Use a Reuleaux triangle

You will need:

  • Reuleaux triangle
  • power drill (preferably a cordless drill)
  • fixing frame


Step 1

To get started, insert a household cordless drill into such a hole. The fastening must be rigid, so you need to carefully select the diameter of the drill bit. If the Reuleaux triangle has a through hole, it is necessary to bring the drilling part of the drill out on the other side of the part.

Step 2

Insert the Reuleaux triangle into the fixing frame and then secure it to the cordless drill. Thus, a device is obtained that is tightly attached to the wall, on which a square hole will appear, and does not “float” in the hands of the master during active work.

Step 3

If it is necessary to drill a sufficiently deep square hole, then connect the drill chuck and the relay triangle with a Cardan shaft. For the most efficient and fast operation, check the frame skids for fresh grease.

Step 4

The resulting square hole will not be perfectly square – its corners will be slightly rounded. For perfect square shapes, process the corners of the square hole with a small file with a fine notch.

All in all, a Reuleaux triangle will be a perfect fit for someone looking to make smaller square holes in wood. This might be perfect for multiple holes in thin wood sheets.

You might need a drill press and bigger drill bits to cut a square hole in wood if the wood thickness is too big. However, if the wood thickness is small, then a drill press might not be necessary to cut a square hole in wood.

How to cut a square hole in wood by hand

How do you punch a square hole in wood? Make holes in wood with a drill

To make square hole punches, you will need to use a special framing square or slotted drill. It is also called a chisel or cutter, which allows you to get square hole punches of the appropriate shape.

Now we will show you step by step how to make a good square hole punch.

Step 1

Make the desired drawing of a square hole in wood and drill two holes (also known as a pilot hole) inside it, using the drill and a drill bit with a diameter large enough to be able to insert the jigsaw blade afterward. These are your starter holes.

Step 2

Next, we insert the wood blade into the center point of one of the starter holes and cut a straight line.

Step 3

We repeat the same operation from the other pilot holes until we make a final hole in wood. Finally, we have done everything to cut a square hole punch in our desired shape (although it will have rounded corners).

Use a measuring tape to make sure that all the sides of the square hole in wood are even.

Step 4

Use an angle grinder to polish the resulting square hole in wood. You’ll need to cover the entire square hole.

Not many people know how to drill holes and what are the necessary drill presses, drill bits, and drill bit to use in various situations and cut square holes of varying sizes. Now you know how to make a square hole with a drill. As you can see, it requires much more consideration than making round holes.

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How do you cut a hole in wood by hand? Use a chisel

A sharp chisel can cut depressions and patterns, smooth rough surfaces, and cut corners for grooves and/or dovetail joints or make a square hole.

  • Learning how to make a square hole with a chisel, can make you’re creating a square hole easier, more efficient, and safer. Moreover, it is a simple tool that does not require any additional technical know-how.
  • The only drawback of a manual chisel is that you might get tired after making square hole after square hole with thick wood for too long. Especially if you use a mallet along with a chisel. After working too long, it may be hard to hold a chisel straight.

These tools consist of a handle with a blade beveled at various angles and come in a variety of sizes.

An alternative option for cutting square holes is an electric square chisel. We will tell you how to make this tool at home in the FAQ section.

Criteria for choosing a tool for woodworking

Here we will show you how to pick the right tool to make a square hole in wood sheet.

What characteristics do you need to pay attention to – we share a few tips:

  • The handle model should fit your palm and not slip when working. You would want your hands firmly on the handle while you cut a square hole in wood.
  • Choose the tool according to your requirements. Its equipment, power, and functionality will depend on this.
  • Give preference to a professional line of tools, as this guarantees its quality and service life. Specify the service period
  • A mechanical tool for working with wood sheet must be reliable. Check the quality of sharpening the blades, the strength of the handle, the weight, etc. You’ll need a sharp blade on your power tool to make a perfect square hole.

How to extend tool life

Proper care and use of the tool will extend the life of the working equipment.

Therefore, adhere to the following recommendations:

  • Read the instruction manual carefully before using the tool
  • Do not load the tool beyond the maximum load limit. Such information is indicated in the technical documentation
  • Clean up debris after work
  • Give your tools a place to store, use the case included in the kit

So, in working with wood, hand tools and power tools are used to make a square hole in wood. The quality of the result depends on the approach to choosing a tool.

Give preference to a professional tool – this will save labor costs and improve the quality characteristics of the product.

Observe safety precautions while working. Buy a power tool and use it for its intended purpose.

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Safety measures for manual processing of wood

It should be remembered that power tools that are used for cutting wood such as mortising machines all have sharp edges, so you need to be extra careful and use protective equipment.

To protect your health, the following safety measures must be observed:

  • When using rotary tools, such as an angle grinder, an oscillating tool, or other tools, check the security of the handle on the shank.
  • When sawing off, you need to use emphasis. Do not guide the cutting tools with your free hands or hold them too close to the saw blade.
  • You cannot use a defective hacksaw. It is convenient to use a bar as an emphasis.
  • During a temporary stoppage of work, do not leave the circular saw or hacksaw in the cut. They should be placed on the workbench with the teeth facing away from you.
  • It is necessary to regularly sharpen the cutting tools, even the small circular blades. A sharpened drill bit will be more effective to cut square holes, so keep your drill bits and auger bit leads in top shape. Sharpened drill bits will also serve much longer,
  • Do not blow off sawdust and excess wood or remove excess wood with bare hands. You should use a special brush and scoop.
  • The hammer handle must be free of burrs and cracks. It must be tightly fitted and secured. The handle should be grasped at a distance of 20–30 mm from its free end.
  • Care must be taken to ensure that the surface of the hammer is convex and not knocked down.
  • All hand tools with shanks must have wooden handles that fit snugly against them.
  • The diameter of the nail should be ten times smaller than the total thickness of the parts to be nailed.
  • When using a screwdriver, it must exactly match the size of the slot of the screw.
  • When cleaning small wooden parts with sandpaper, they should be moved along the sandpaper and not vice versa. When cleaning large parts, the skin should be fixed on a bar and this sanding block should be moved along the surface of the part.
  • The use of protective fabric gloves during this operation is strictly mandatory.
  • When removing nails from wooden materials, use pliers or a nail puller.
  • When moving the tool away from you, it should not fall
  • It is forbidden to use open fire and smoke in the woodworking workshop.
  • If damage to the tool occurred during operation, then it must be immediately replaced with a serviceable one

Before starting work, you must make sure that the electrical equipment is in good condition.

In the event of an emergency during operation, immediately stop it and turn off the power to the appliance. In the event of a fire, extinguishing agents should be nearby.

Individual protection means

Power tools must be prepared in advance beforehand. The overalls of a worker in the woodworking industry include:

  • Cotton suit made of fire-resistant materials
  • Protective gloves
  • Leather shoes
  • Helmet
  • Respirator or dust mask for respiratory protection
  • Special safety goggles

All personal protective equipment must be sized.

The helmet must fit snugly against the head and you should wear protective gloves comfortably.

High-quality overalls and compliance with safety rules guarantee the absence of unpleasant situations when processing wood and allow you to maintain the health of the worker.

This will allow you to complete the work quickly and efficiently.

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How to make a simple electric chisel for woodworking

Here we want to offer you an alternative – a homemade electric chisel. Using this device, you can significantly speed up the process of work.

Please note: homemade is not an independent tool, but only a removable attachment for the grinder.

How to make an electric chisel on wood:

What “spare parts” will be required:
– metal plate;
– round pipe;
– hardware – bolts with nuts;
– steel round;
– wood chisel;
– spring.

Main stages of work:
We cut off a piece of a metal plate, mark it, and use a stepped drill to drill a round hole.

Next, from a piece of a round pipe, a pair of nuts, and a bolt, it will be necessary to make a mounting clamp. It must be welded to a metal plate.

The resulting part will be installed on the grinder. Now you can make a square hole much faster and easier!

Can I use a mortising machine to cut a square hole in wood?

In the production of furniture and the manufacture of structures for other purposes, a mortising machine for wood is used.

It is convenient to buy such a unit if during the production process requires drilling square holes or holes of different shapes.

For example, their use makes it possible to make decorative square holes, but they will still be great for a regular square hole.

So, whether you need to make a square punch or just make a square hole in wood, this power tool will be a great aid.

What are the origins of the Relueaux Triangle?

Square holes around the world are created using a special drill bit, named after the geometric figure of the German scientist Franz Relo – the triangle of the same name.

Reuleaux is a triangle, the sides of which are, as it were, curved outward.

Details based on this figure are used in a wide variety of industries, from space shipbuilding to household appliances.

For drilling hard surfaces, a Reuleaux triangle with sharpened edges and a special hole in the middle is used in cutting square holes.


A smart master with skillful hands will always find a way out of any hopeless situation. You need to feel the material well, understand the capabilities of the tool and think through the sequence of operations.

The ancient craftsmen did not have machine tools similar to modern ones, did not own such a range of tools as they do now, and still made products and mechanisms that cause surprise and admiration in our time.

Now it is easier than ever to not only cut round holes, but also cut a square hole in wood, either with a drill (making a pilot hole and then adding up more), a corded or cordless circular saw or just using a chisel straight.

No matter the square dimensions or whether you have a thick or thin sheet of wood repeat or the availability of square drill bits and circular saws, you will be able to cut a square hole in wood or make a square punch with smooth edges with ease.

With this information, you will be able to cut square holes in wood with any instrument you have at your disposal.

We hope that this post was helpful to you.

Make sure to share it with your friends who are as interested in wood working as we are!

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