How do I cut out a circle in exsisting wooden counter top and use the cut out piece as a lid (flush) so it doesnt fall through? e.g. a "stepped edge? Obviously I am not using the correct terminologly, hopefully someone knows what I am trying to say. Thanks in advance to all replies, much appreciate

  • 3
    Does it have to be a stepped edge? Is it ok if it's straight but tapered like a cone? You're not really going to be able to just cut a step shape like that. if you do do a cone shape keep in mind it'll be slightly smaller than the hole because of the saw blade thickness, so you'd still want to maybe line it with rubber or something to recover the space so it sits flush.
    – Jason C
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 1:02
  • 2
    You could also cut a straight circle out then perhaps make a lip for underneath out of a different piece of wood, and attach that to the underside of the countertop. Either way the tool you probably want is a jigsaw.
    – Jason C
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 1:04
  • 2
    Hi, welcome to StackExchange. You can't do this and use the cutout. The removable portion must be another piece of wood, shaped separately. So begin with that info and consider if you want to proceed.
    – Graphus
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 7:27
  • @JasonC In order to use a jig saw you need to drill a starter hole. This will create a an indent on the perimeter profile.
    – Ashlar
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 15:36
  • @Ashlar I usually start this kind of thing with a slot from a 1/8" cutting bit in a dremel, only leaves about 1/32" indents. Or 1/32 hole + a coping saw if it's accessible. But yeah. Even trickier with a beveled cut.
    – Jason C
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 0:59

2 Answers 2


You can't do exactly what you want. The problem is that however you cut round the lid, there will be some thickness which you turn into sawdust (the kerf). If we ignore the difficulty of cutting a stepped edge, it will end up like:

 _____  :
      | :

where the solid lines represent the edge of the hole, and the dotted lines the kerf. The horizontal kerf will cause the lid to drop - so it won't be flush, and the vertical kerf will cause the lid to slip from side to side.

What you could do, is to cut a cylindrical hole (either with a jig saw, or with a large hole saw), line the hole with a contrasting material (aluminium, stainless steel, a contrasting wood, rubber, etc), and fit a lip under the worktop so that the lid fits snugly into the hole.

Alternatively, as Graphus suggests in a comment, use a different piece of wood to make the lid.

Either way, you will need to put a handle in the lid.


I have 2 possibilities for you.

  1. just cut out your piece like you normally would, then add a 'lip' around the edge of the hole underneath it, you would then be able to set the cut out piece back in the hole and it would sit flush with the rest of the counter top.

  2. Cut at an angle all the way around, where the angle is toward the center of the piece. (I'd say 30 degrees, maybe more). When you are done, the 'angle' can hold the cutoff kind of like your 'step' cut, but can be done with 1 step.

So those may answer how, but we still have a couple problems. it all depends on what you want it to look like. the first method will leave a small gap all the way around the piece from the curf of blade you use. there will also likely be the hole from the pilot hole you might need to drill to start the cutting.

Option 2 has similar issues, where option 1 will be even with the rest of the countertop, but have a visible gap, option 2 will hide the gap but will be obviously sunk a little below the rest of the counter, once again because of the curf of the blade.

and with both of them, the edges will be dependent on the quality of the equipment you are using to make the cuts and the person using said equipement.

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