How To Cut A Square Hole In Wood? 5 Easy Ways!

If you have previously worked with thick wood, you know it is quite easy to drill regular holes. But, if you want to cut any shape in wood, that is when the real challenge comes, especially square holes. So, how to cut a square hole in wood?

To make a square hole in a solid chunk of wood or even plywood, you must begin sketching the shape of the hole—a square, in this instance—on the wood. You may now utilize various power tools, including drills, saws, and even manual instruments like jigsaws.

Thus, if you are looking for proper ways to cut a square hole in wood, you are in the right place. Today in this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know for cutting square holes in wood.

Table of Contents

What Tool Cuts Square Holes In Wood?

You can use many tools to cut square holes in wood. Below we will list down all these tools; you can choose anyone that best suits your needs.

  • Dremel
  • Chisel
  • Angle Grinder
  • Jigsaw
  • Hand Saw

No matter what tool you use, you will need a few other tools for extra support, and those are

  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Clamps
  • Sledgehammer
  • Framing square

How To Cut A Square Hole In Wood?

You already know about the tools you will need, but how to use these tools properly? No worries, we are here to help. Below, we will discuss all methods you can use to cut a square in wood. However, you will also need a saw to make a square hole with a power drill.

How To Cut A Square Hole In Wood

Method 1: Using Jigsaw

Power drills are one of the most efficient and must-have tools for any woodworker. Drilling is one of the fastest ways to carve wood and cut square holes compared to using hand tools. So, with a jigsaw, you will need to use a power drill to make the process easier. Follow the steps below to learn how to cut wood using a jigsaw.

Using Jigsaw

Step 1: Securing the wood

Here, attaching the wood to a surface at either end comes first. In this case, using two clamps will work the best. Keep in mind that you are removing a square from the wood. Thus you must leave the main cutting region below the square unoccupied.

Step 2: Drawing

Take the framing square and pencil. Use them to draw a square on the wood which you are thinking of cutting. Make sure the lines are perfectly straight and in the size you want the hole to be, as this will be your primary guide for cutting the square shape.

framing square

Step 3: Drill on all sides

Drill into one of the square’s sides with the drill. There must be at least four holes drilled on each of the square’s corners. Based on the size of your form, add more drill holes to each side of the square. Make sure that the holes you make are big enough for your jigsaw blades to get in them for cutting.

Drill on all sides

Step 4: Cut the wood

Now take any regular jigsaw, as you can see from the picture above. Use the holes you made in the previous step as your starting points. Put the cutting blade of the jigsaw at the holes you just drilled; take one hole as the starting point.

Cut the wood

Turn on the jigsaw, then firmly push it towards the direction of the drawing you made. Remember that you must keep within the boundary to avoid damaging the board if you stray off the course.

Step 5: Sanding

The last step is to make the square you just made smooth. Simply grab sandpaper and start to sand all the sides of the square cut properly until it is smooth enough to run your hands through it.

Method 2: Using a Chisel

Another hand tool you can use to make a square hole is a chisel. One of the safest cutting tools in the workplace, it doesn’t take much knowledge to use. Using a chisel usually takes some time to make a perfect cut. However, it is possible to have perfect square cuts with it.

Using a Chisel

This technique has the advantage of not requiring any electrical or power tools. Additionally, chisels are quite affordable, so read below to know how to use a chisel properly.

Step 1: Securing the wood

Just like the previous method, the first step is to use clamps to secure the wood piece on a solid surface properly. Do remember that the wood needs to be held by an underneath layer because you’ll need something pressing against it from the bottom because you will be striking it from the above.

Securing the wood

Step 2: Make the measurement and draw.

On your wood piece where you will make the cut, indicate the square’s measurements using a pencil or marker, as you want. Make sure the sides are parallel to one another.

Step 3: Make the cut

Put the chisel’s tip on one side of the sketched square and smash it upwards using a sledgehammer from the top so that it passes through the line. You must strike the chisel hard enough to remove all of the wood and do this repeatedly until all four lines have been removed.

Make the cut

Once all four lines have been removed, you might need some small bits still connected. Cut these small attachments, push out the piece, and your square hole is ready.

Method 3: Using Angle Grinder

An angle grinder might seem an unusual tool for square cutting. But, if you have one lying around your workstation, you can surely make it to good use. Read the steps below to know how.

Using Angle Grinder

Step 1: Modifying the angle grinder

Well, you cannot directly use the angle grinder to make square cuts, and thus you will need to modify the machine a bit. Buy a sawing disc and replace the normal disc with this saw disc. Make sure that the disc you are cutting has lots of small teeth for easy carving in wood.

Modifying the angle grinder

Step 2: Measure and draw

The next step is to secure the wood piece using clamps on both sides so that it doesn’t move during the cutting process. After securing the board, measure and draw the square using a square frame or a scale. Mark the lines properly for easy cutting of the board.

Step 3: Cut the wood

Now it is time to make the square cut. Be very careful while doing this, as a slight movement of the hand can make the grinder sway away, causing mismatched cuts. As you gently pass the sawing disc between the lines you’ve made, switch on the angle grinder and keep on cutting till you have cut all four sides.

Step 4: Sanding the wood

After the cut is properly made, the sides will be rough, so you will need to sand the edges to make them smoother.

Method 4: Using Dremel

If you are someone who prefers using power tools, then Dremel is also a good choice for making square holes in wood. Just like an angle grinder, Dremel works very well for making different cut shapes in wood and is one of the easiest tools to work with.

Using Dremel

Step 1: Securing the wood and drawing

The first step is to secure the wood again using clamps or sawhorses and draw the square of your preferred size. Make sure the drawing is identical at both lines and easier to see during the cutting process.

Step 2: Cutting the wood

Holding the Dremel firmly in your hands, you should turn it on, accelerate it to maximum speed, and then gently see along the marks you first made.

Cutting the wood

Do keep in mind that you may experience a quick kickback-like force while the Dremel is operating at maximum speed; thus, grasp it carefully to ensure that it doesn’t slide when cutting.

Method 5: Using a Handsaw

The last method you will be talking about is using a handsaw. A handsaw is the best option for you if you do not have access to any heavy power tools. Even though it is more laborious, you can still get the work done. However, you will need a regular drill to make the work easier.

Using a Handsaw

Step 1: Secure and drill holes

Combining a drill and a handsaw is the simplest approach to employing two cutting tools. Therefore, fix the wood first and then sketch the design there as you have in the previous methods.

Secure and drill holes

Drilling the square’s corners and using them as reference places for sawing is the first step in cutting a square hole in wood.

Step 2: Cut the wood

To use the hand saw, start cutting through one drill hole to another and continue doing so until all four sides have been sliced. Remove the wood plank from the square’s middle after cutting. You will need the hole using sandpaper to make it properly smooth, and you are done.

Cut the wood

Things To Consider When Choosing A Cutting Technique To Make Square Hole In Wood

You should already know about the cutting methods we have discussed so far. But, now, we will discuss a few things that you should follow before choosing the perfect cutting technique.

Expensive tools

Amateurs often make the mistake of buying expensive tools, but that is not recommended, especially if you are doing a recreational project. Just work with whatever tools you have to save money.

Small projects

If you are working with small projects and you do not have any power tools or handsaw. Just buy a chisel as they are quite cheap, and you will be good to go.

Your Skill Level

In the hands of a novice carpenter, a Jigsaw saw may prove hazardous. An angle grinder may also be challenging for a novice user. Ensure that you are familiar with the instruments required before choosing a technique for cutting a square hole in wood.

Problems That You May Face When Cutting Square Hole In Wood

When you are making a square cut in wood, you must consider a few things to avoid any problems. Down below, we will discuss all those things.

Power Tools kickback

If you touch wood with a blade and turn on the machine, this can be quite dangerous as the tool can kick back, leading to injuries. So, the best way is to turn your machine on and slowly start to make contact with the wood to start cutting.

Eye Injuries

When cutting wood, wood dust can come and enter your eyes, causing serious eye injuries. So, always wear safety goggles to prevent any wood shavings and dust from entering your eyes.

Wrong shape

Cutting out the perfect square hole in wood takes no matter which tool you are using. So, we recommend you practice cutting on some wood pieces before making the final square hole.

Wrong Measurement

If you are not careful enough when making out the square measurement, you can end up with a cut that is not perfect. This is one of the most annoying things a woodworker can face. Moreover, rather than using a marker, use a pencil to remove any mistakes easily.

Safety Tips To Follow When Cutting A Square Hole Through Wood

These safety tips below are a must follow as you surely do not want to injure yourself with an unwanted cut while working with a heavy tool.

  • Never use power tools while wearing baggy clothing, especially while utilizing saws.
  • Always be mindful of what you are doing. Never let your attention wander.
  • Make sure to keep your workstation clean.
  • Never touch blades with bare hands; use protective gloves while doing that.

Frequently Asked Question

You have read about all the methods you can use to make square holes in woods. Down below, we will talk about all the faqs related to our discussion today.

What is the best way to cut thin wood?

If you are working on a thin piece of wood, then you should avoid using power tools as they have more power and put too much pressure, which can break the wood. So, the best process is to use a thinner coping saw than most regular saws. You can also use a chisel for smaller projects.

How do you cut a square hole in wood without a jigsaw?

If you can’t get your hands on saws or any other power tools, you may still cut a square out of wood with a hand saw. Even though this is more challenging, with enough effort, it is possible. You can also use a chisel, but the procedure will be more complicated than using handsaws.

Can I Use a Chisel to Make Square Holes in wood?

Yes, you can use a chisel to make square holes in wood. However, the process will be quite tough, and it takes a lot of time and effort to do it. So, it is okay for a small recreational project, but you should look for alternatives for large and professional projects.

Is making square holes in wood tough?

No, with proper tools and the right amount of skills, it isn’t that tough to make square holes in wood. Remember that this technique can take some time to master as it is not as easy to make a regular circular hole.


Wood crafting is fun work to do, no matter if you are doing it for fun or for recreational activities. For that, sometimes you might need to make square cuts in woods which can be quite tough if you do not know how to do it properly.

Thus, today in this guide, we discussed different techniques which you can use to make perfect square cuts on wood surfaces. Now it depends on you to decide which is the perfect cutting technique for you. Power tools are always better than hand tools but are also more expensive.

No matter what technique you choose, you should make sure to follow proper safety precautions to avoid any injuries.

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