Jellyfish Table #4: Making The Oval

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Blog entry by Blake posted 07-03-2009 09:05 PM 4124 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Legs and Base Part 4 of Jellyfish Table series Part 5: Dying the top BLUE and spraying the lacquer »


The apron for this table is going to be a bent-laminated oval:

I found a great tutorial on how to draw a simple oval on a website called In the Woodshop with Howard Ruttan. Here are some of the simple drawings on his page:

And here is mine:


So I cut it out with the jigsaw:

Then I used the first oval as a router template to cut its clone:

(I broke my favorite spiral router bit in the process)

The two MDF form halves were already stuck together with carpet tape. So I cleaned up the edges on the Oscillating belt sander:

The reason I have two MDF ovals is that I will need my form to be 3” tall. So here is the spacer I made out of a scrap of 2×4:

The clamps align the two ovals while I screw them to the 2×4 spacers:

3” Tall:

A sewing tape is a very handy measuring tool to have in a woodshop for measuring around ovals. Believe it or not the circumference of this oval is about 7 feet around.


So here is the 2”x5” x 9 ft piece of Mahogany that will become the oval. First I cut it to approximate length:

Then I jointed it (I love my full-sized jointer)...

Ripped it to a little more than 3” wide:

Re-sawed it into strips (I rolled my bandsaw outside to save the shop from a little dust)...

Planed them down to 1/8”...

And sanded them down to about 1/16”...


Here is my completed form, screwed to an MDF base which was first covered in plastic painter’s tarp. Then the sides of the oval were wrapped with plastic packing tape.

I didn’t take any photos during the actual glue-up for obvious reasons. It was a very stressful process, and didn’t go quite as planned, but came out fine in the end. I enlisted the help of my wife for an extra set of hands to help hold stuff and hand me clamps, etc. (Thanks Sweetheart!)

I originally thought I would use three “Pony” strap clamps to pull the strips in tight to the oval form. But it didn’t work quite as well as I had hoped so I ended up drilling holes in the top of the form and using bar clamps over the strap clamps. If I did it again I would just use the bar clamps.

This was the result:

In the end It came out fine. I knocked it loose from the form:

Ran the edges through my thickness sander, and cleaned the glue off the inside/outside surfaces with my Oscillating spindle sander (not pictured)...


...just a peak at all the components put together…

Total Project Time So Far: 40 Hours

-- Happy woodworking!

18 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35093 posts in 4240 days

#1 posted 07-03-2009 09:12 PM

Blake: The table looks great. The oval came out great nice job on the jig and the laminations.

I found a piece of wood in my shop last night and I thought of you and this table. I’ll have to get a picture to show you. It’s a natural edge circle maple burl. about 3’ in diam.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3336 days

#2 posted 07-03-2009 09:19 PM

I’ve been following along – wow, what a piece of art this is going to be. Can’t wait to see the completion.

Great job Blake…................and great instructions / tips !!!!!

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 3647 days

#3 posted 07-03-2009 09:21 PM

That moisture in the air is me drueling …unbelieveable! Blake I am coming to you with any future laminating questions. I am currious about the seam where the oval is complete I am assuming that the layers are staggered? I am not sure if you had enough clamps though LOL.

View lew's profile


11846 posts in 3595 days

#4 posted 07-03-2009 09:50 PM


bfd stole my clamps comment!

I would have never thought of using the thickness sander to finish the edges!

This table is going to be awesome!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3714 days

#5 posted 07-03-2009 09:52 PM

Yes, thanks for reminding me. The seems in each layer are staggered.

-- Happy woodworking!

View dlcarver's profile


270 posts in 3570 days

#6 posted 07-03-2009 10:07 PM

Fantastic Blake! I can’t imagine doing a job like that. WOW!!

-- Dave Leitem,Butler,Pa.,

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3802 days

#7 posted 07-03-2009 10:30 PM

Very impressive, Blake. an excellent step by step tutorial as well. Well done!!!

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3531 days

#8 posted 07-03-2009 10:32 PM

Blake the top is looking cool mate


-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3939 days

#9 posted 07-03-2009 10:59 PM

Awesome job!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3513 days

#10 posted 07-03-2009 11:14 PM

The table looks great, Blake.

View patrick m's profile

patrick m

197 posts in 3653 days

#11 posted 07-03-2009 11:55 PM

JellyFish Go JellyFish ! Nice …. I love anything Nautical with Wood.
Repeat : Nice job clamping/jig

-- PJM.`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸ ><((((º> ""BY HAMMER AND HAND ALL ARTS DO STAND""1785-1974 nyc Semper Fi, Patrick M

View a1Jim's profile


116592 posts in 3417 days

#12 posted 07-06-2009 02:52 AM

great job

-- Custom furniture

View Karson's profile


35093 posts in 4240 days

#13 posted 07-08-2009 12:01 AM

Blake: I found the piece of wood in my shop again.

Here is the blog on it. It’s smaller than I thought. 30” high and 32” wide and about 2” thick on the flat spot. The thickness is not the same through the whole piece.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View blockhead's profile


1475 posts in 3148 days

#14 posted 07-08-2009 11:54 AM

Looking great Blake. Excellent job on the laminating. This is one beautiful piece. Can’t wait to see it completed.

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3779 days

#15 posted 07-08-2009 02:18 PM

Your documentation skills are only outdone by your creativity and woodworking skills. The table will be fantastic and you’ll have a detailed story of how it was made. Very well done.

-- Working at Woodworking

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

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