How to Cut an Arch in Wood

By Tom Price ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Table saw
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Straightedge
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Cordless drill
  • Circle-cutting jig
  • Band saw
Cut an arch in your wood project with a table saw.

From time to time, a wood project calls for cutting an arch into a piece of wood. At first glance, cutting an arch in wood looks like it might be a complicated process, with all of the measuring and laying out of angles -- not to mention the patience it takes to make that intricate cut. In reality, most do-it-yourselfers can cut a simple arch in wood using a few basic tools found in most home workshops.

Set the fence of a table saw to the desired width of the piece of wood. Since different table saw fence systems use different procedures, refer to your fence system owner’s manual for specific instructions. Set the piece of wood flat on the table saw. Run the piece of wood through the table saw blade to form the width of the wood.

Measure half the width of the board at the top with a tape measure and mark the spot with a pencil. Do the same at the bottom of the board. Draw a straight line between the two marks, using a straight edge as a guide.

Measure down the line, a distance equal to half the width of the board and mark that measurement with a pencil mark across the first pencil mark.

Install a 1/4-inch drill bit into the chuck of a cordless drill. Drill a hole 1/4-inch deep in the lumber at the intersection of the two pencil marks.

Install a circle-cutting jig on the band saw. Set the pin of the jig the same distance away from the band saw blade equal to half the distance of the width of the board. Position the board on the circle-cutting jig so the length of the board is parallel to the band saw blade and the hole in the board is facing down and on the left side of the board. Slip the pin on the jig into the hole in the board.

Plug in the band saw and turn it on. Hold the board firmly on the circle-cutting jig with one hand and rotate the longer end of the board to the left, feeding it through the band saw blade. Keep feeding the board through the blade until the blade reaches through the other side of the board. Turn off the band saw to remove the board from the jig, completing the cutting of the arch in wood.


Always wear safety glasses when operating power tools.

About the Author

Tom Price began writing in 1989 after earning his master's degree in English at the University of Notre Dame. He has served in positions ranging from features writer to the managing editor of the "Daily Herald." Before college, Price was a GM factory trained tech and owner/operator/truck-driving instructor. He is also a private pilot as well as a lifelong expert boater and woodworker.