Jobsite Magic: Draw a Circle with a Framing Square?

July 05, 2016
Read time: 1 min


Five ways to draw circles


Matt runs through the standard ways of drawing circles: compass, bigger compass, beam compass, trammel beam compass, stick, and stick with a notch—before he gets to a groovy little tape measure that makes it easy.

And then he draws a circle with a framing square.

Wait, what?

"This method is limited to the size of the smallest leg of the square, or 14 inches for a framing square" Notes Matt...


Step by step:

  • Drive nails at a distance equal to the circumference of the circle.
  • Rest the short leg of the square against both nails.
  • Put the pencil tip into the square's corner
  • Rotate the square around the nails, keeping each leg against a nail until the second leg is in contact with both nails.
  • Voilà: a semicircle.
  • Repeat.


—Matt Jackson is a master carpenter, remodeler, SketchUp Wiz, YouTuber, and contributing editor to ProTradeCraft. He lives and works in Rapid City, South Dakota.