How to Cut a Square Hole in the Wood with a Router?

Woodworking projects are a combination of creativity and expertise, but the important aspect of it is that it requires variation. You can’t just cut pieces of wood in the same shape for most of your projects.

With time and demand, you will need to add some uniqueness. Your task could require you to cut it in different shapes like square, rectangle, etc. The challenging part comes when you have to cut the inner portion of the wood as the outer one is considerably easier to work with.

If you don’t have proper knowledge about the cutting ideas, you will ruin the overall wood and its shape. Throughout the whole task, you have to remain vigilant about the inner and the outer cuts.

Luckily, cutting a square hole is comparatively easier than the other shapes. With the help of an adjustable router table and a router, you can get your job done easily and efficiently.

If you are up for making some eye-catching masterpieces with wood, you need to learn some basics, and that is the proper process to cut a square hole in the wood with a router. So, the following article will reveal all of it for your benefit. Read on to find out more.


Necessary Equipment

  • A router
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Protractor
  • Straightedge
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood file
  • Safety goggles
  • Drilling machine
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Vacuum cleaner

Steps to Cut a Square Hole in the Wood

Check out the step by step guide. These are written in a very friendly way so that you can have a good grip on it.

Step 1: Outline a Square in the Wood

Take the wood and pick a point where you will make the layout of the square. For better accuracy, you can choose the center point of the wood. This layout will be the guideline for your cutting.


Use the measuring tape to get a precise length and width and then mark the layout with the pencil. This drawing will give you the overall idea about the cutting that you are going to get. And, also to achieve perfect square corners, use the protractor.

The desirable angles of the corner could be around 45 degrees. If you maintain this measurement, the square will look symmetrical from all sides. Make sure that the pencil is sharp enough so that your drawing looks visible from any distance.

Step 2: Cut a Square Hole with the Router

Gather information from professionals and the internet, and you can find different router for woodworking. Whether it is a mounted or a portable one, you can get your cut without any hesitation.

Now, this step is very crucial, and you must have the proper knowledge and skills to get this task done without creating any mistakes.

Make an accurate template on your router table with the help of template guides and a bit on your router. Measure the dimensions of the square, and with this information, start preparing the layout of the overall template. It is highly recommended that you should add an extra 0.35 – 0.37 inch for each template line.

Pick one corner and start drilling from that spot. Create a small hole at the beginning to create a guideline and slowly move forward in the direction of the markings.  

Adjust the fence of the router so that the router movement can be exact and precise. The fence should be in the same position as the square, or else your work won’t be up to the mark. It is now time that you go for the router. Turn it on, and you are all set. Please don’t take your eyes off while it is following your markings.

If you are done with the first line, rotate the wood in a way that the fence adjusts itself with another straight line. Continue with the same procedure till the end, and you will get a fresh cut square hole. Congrats!

Step 3: Sand the Edges

All the crucial part is done, and now you can have a sigh of relief. Take a break for a couple of minutes if you prefer. This newly made square hole will help you out in many projects related to woods. Use the sandpaper to sand the edges and do it very gently. If you apply too much pressure, you will end up with a round edge.

You must know all the grit sequences of this paper so that you can choose which one will work best according to the condition of the wood. Lower grit sandpaper is used on rough edges, and the higher one is applied for the smoothening purpose. 

Other than that, you can also use a wood file to add extra smoothness. When all is done, clean the area with the vacuum cleaner.

Tips To Making Square Hole in the Wood

  • Before you start this project, wear all the safety gear that is mentioned in the equipment section.
  • The drilling and cutting will create massive dust, so you should work in a room where there is a proper ventilation system.
  • This project might take some time in the whole day, so get ready for it. Create a schedule so that you don’t feel overwhelmed before you start working.
  • Read the manuals of the power tools that you are going to work with. It would be best if you remembered all of its features, or else you wouldn’t be able to use it like a pro.
  • Check the blades of the cutting tools. If they are blunt or not that sharp, replace it with a fresh one.


With time and practice, you will find that your confidence level is increasing gradually. So, don’t get nervous from all of the mentioned steps. Go through it more than once for your benefit.

Best of luck.

Few Other Tips:

  • Which one is better: CNC cutting vs laser cutting
  • When to use: drill press vs wood router