How to turn an oval

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by grafiks posted 83 days ago 717 views 2 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View grafiks's profile


4 posts in 83 days

83 days ago

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 mrjinx007's profile


1370 posts in 398 days

#1 posted 83 days ago

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


818 posts in 1324 days

#2 posted 83 days ago

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 - And visit my Facebook page -

View SASmith               's profile


1571 posts in 1618 days

#3 posted 83 days ago

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

More info on oval turning here.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View FellingStudio's profile


36 posts in 313 days

#4 posted 83 days ago

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 83 days

#5 posted 83 days ago

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

View Wolfdaddy's profile


257 posts in 465 days

#6 posted 83 days ago

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

-- Your failures do not take away your possibilities.

View REO's profile


601 posts in 705 days

#7 posted 83 days ago

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


311 posts in 709 days

#8 posted 83 days ago

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


2489 posts in 982 days

#9 posted 83 days ago

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 Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3875 posts in 1011 days

#10 posted 83 days ago

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

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View TheFridge's profile


715 posts in 117 days

#11 posted 83 days ago

Damn. That is a good idea.

-- "We build our workshops. Then we enjoy the fruits of our labor by laboring for more fruits." - Me

View ScrubPlane's profile


187 posts in 826 days

#12 posted 73 days ago

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 83 days

#13 posted 71 days ago

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 Hillius's profile

Richard Hillius

119 posts in 311 days

#14 posted 71 days ago

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

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase