I’m about 2 years into my woodworking career – just built my first bench! I enjoy the process of using hand tools over machines, but I want to make a project that involves a large circle. How can I accurately cut a (reasonably) perfect circle using only hand tools?
It’s actually not that hard at all with hand tools. Scribe out your lines on both sides of the square you’re working on with a compass, trammel points, or a nail, some string and a pencil, whatever you have at hand to scribe a circle. Keep sawing off the corners with a handsaw until you approximate a circle-ish shape close to your lines. Then you can work on the remaining facets down to your lines with a plane, spokeshave, drawknife, rasp or file, whatever you have at hand. Your eye is actually a pretty good gauge of how true a shape is.