Large Oval Frame - How To?!

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Forum topic by pashley posted 06-29-2009 03:02 PM 4359 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1035 posts in 3141 days

06-29-2009 03:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oval

Now I’ve gone and stepped in it!

A friend commissioned me to do a large oval frame – about 2’ x 3’ – for a an art project.

“Sure” I said, “I can do that”.

Never done it! However, I think I know how to do it. You have to basically glue up four or six pieces of stock in an equilateral shape, and then route / bandsaw / jigsaw out the shape.

Is that right? What kind of joint to use? Finger? Biscuit?

I know I can buy or make a jig to draw out a perfect oval.

If you know of any articles out there detailing this, please let me know!

-- Have a blessed day!

7 replies so far

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 2950 days

#1 posted 06-29-2009 03:47 PM

The Charles Neil dvd on routers shows you step by step on how to make any oval or round frame and he makes look real easy.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View lew's profile


11266 posts in 3179 days

#2 posted 06-29-2009 03:49 PM

Here is a site to show you how to draw an oval:

Somewhere I saw a mechanical device that does this, too. It was made from a block of wood and had a couple of sliders attached to an arm- which held the pencil. Someone here probably has an example of that device.

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

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

786 posts in 3256 days

#3 posted 06-29-2009 03:58 PM

More oval drawing advice:

As for construction, you’re looking at a lot of end-to-end gluing which is weak. If the frame dimensions allow it I’d use pocket holes. Biscuits might work as well, but don’t add much strength.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1408 posts in 2982 days

#4 posted 06-29-2009 06:23 PM

You can do an ellipse (oval) with two nails, a string and a pencil. Tie the ends of the strings to the nails and use the pencil to form a triangle. As you slide the pencil through the 360 degrees, keeping the string tight, it will form the oval. You control the dimensions of the oval with the distance the nails are apart and the length of the string.

Also, I recommend using splines on the joints. It’s the only method that’s strong enough for the small surface area. Make sure the stock you glue up will be wide enough to encompass the entire oval (i.e. wide and narrow sides), both inside and out. To make the second oval, you can either do a series of offsets from the original oval or change the length of the string.

Good luck. If we never move out of our comfort zone, we never grow. Please post your progress.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View lew's profile


11266 posts in 3179 days

#5 posted 06-30-2009 01:56 AM

Here is a link to the jig I mentioned above:

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

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#6 posted 06-30-2009 04:16 AM

Lots of good information. I’ve used spline,sadle joints and halflap Joints and finger joints.

-- Custom furniture

View pashley's profile


1035 posts in 3141 days

#7 posted 08-16-2009 07:27 PM

I’m still looking for ideas for this. I was able to make a jib that will draw out an oval nicely. Now, I have the hardiboard cut out for the artist to draw on. I just need to make the frame now – and that’s where I am perplexed. To boot, it has to be made out of 3” wide birdseye maple!

It seems like what I have to do is make a pentagon or hexagon shape, and then cut out the oval from there. Of course, this mean rather wide stock, I’m guessing around 5 inches or so, using finger joints or biscuits. Man, did I bite off more than I can chew! Can anyone help?!

-- Have a blessed day!

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