How to turn an oval

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by grafiks posted 06-04-2014 07:59 PM 2411 views 2 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View grafiks's profile


4 posts in 2188 days

06-04-2014 07:59 PM

I am new to the forum and have a project that I need some advice on. I am making some wooden tools to use making jewelry. Will be working with copper and silver mostly. This is a mandrel used to make bracelets that I want to duplicate out of wood

. I would appreciate any ideas on how to make this. It is 8 1/2” long, largest part of oval 2 1/4” x 2 1/2” and the smallest part is 1 5/8” x 1 7/8”. I want to use hard wood, persimmon or beech.
Banner Elk, NC

14 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2503 days

#1 posted 06-04-2014 08:13 PM

Welcome to LJ’s. I doubt it can be done like that. You could make each individual ovals separately out of solid wood by turning the and then trimming the corners with a router.


View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 3428 days

#2 posted 06-04-2014 09:21 PM

I know there is a way to lathe turn it but i cannot remember where I have seen it. The only thing that comes to mind is Rose Engine Lathe but they are few and far between. I’m sure someone else on here will have the answer.

-- See pictures on Flickr -[email protected]/ And visit my Facebook page -

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3723 days

#3 posted 06-04-2014 09:36 PM

I think what you need is an oval/elliptical chuck.

More info on oval turning here.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 2418 days

#4 posted 06-04-2014 11:03 PM

This is not really that hard guys … it can be done with a simple spur drive.

Starting with a square blank, first mark the center of both ends by drawing straight lines corner to corner. Next mark points on one of your diagonals that are an equal distance from the center point. Mount on the lathe on the center points and turn the blank round. Mount on the lathe using one set of your off center points, and cut away half of the remaining wood. Mount on the lathe using the other set of your off center points, and cut away the remaining wood. You now have an oval.

Basically you are turning the wood three times on parallel axes.

-- Jesse Felling -

View grafiks's profile


4 posts in 2188 days

#5 posted 06-04-2014 11:47 PM

Thanks for all of the replies. Looks like a special chuck may be in my future.

View Wolfdaddy's profile


300 posts in 2570 days

#6 posted 06-05-2014 12:00 AM

There’s some great info about multi axis turning here:>

-- "MOM! I think there's something under our house! I'm gonna need a jackhammer, a fish bowl, some air tanks, and maybe a few pipes."

View REO's profile


929 posts in 2809 days

#7 posted 06-05-2014 12:15 AM

for one off jesse nailed it. unless you have an oval turning chuck (very expensive) or want to build one. the OT lathe will do it to but then that is an additional piece of equipment to buy for a one off.

View Mip's profile


454 posts in 2813 days

#8 posted 06-05-2014 12:59 AM

Vicmarc makes an oval chuck to fit on a lathe, but the downside is the cost: $2600! I think that would be an awful lot to pay to make one little oval mandrel. I would go with FellingStudio’s idea.

View bondogaposis's profile


5741 posts in 3087 days

#9 posted 06-05-2014 01:53 AM

FellingStudio nailed it, it can be done easily using a technique called offset turning, no fancy equipment required. Here’s a link to how Roy does it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Woodknack's profile


13288 posts in 3116 days

#10 posted 06-05-2014 03:58 AM

If I remember correctly, Roy also covers the math to get the oval you want rather than just guessing.

-- Rick M,

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2221 days

#11 posted 06-05-2014 04:39 AM

Damn. That is a good idea.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View ScrubPlane's profile


190 posts in 2931 days

#12 posted 06-15-2014 03:24 AM

I did one of these for my Mother a couple of years ago. Mine didn’t come out as good as the one in the video but the technique is fairly simple and doesn’t require any special tools or complicated geometry.

View grafiks's profile


4 posts in 2188 days

#13 posted 06-17-2014 01:56 AM

Thanks for the suggestions and youtube. My friend glued up some stock and turned an oval today. It worked great. He was going to try to build a jig and use a router but this is much easier. We want to sell these to people that make jewelry to use as a bracelet mandrel.
Thanks again for your post.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

490 posts in 2416 days

#14 posted 06-17-2014 02:05 AM

The Woodwright Shop has a episode on turning oval mortise chisel handles that explains the layout really well. Check out PBS’s website, it should be there to watch.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics