Shop made oval jig

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Blog entry by wdkits1 posted 03-29-2009 02:17 AM 14955 reads 26 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ever wondered how to make a perfect oval? Well one day as I was looking through a woodworking catalog I saw
a little gizmo for $19.95 just for that purpose. Being the cheapskate that I am I decided to make one.The prototype worked all-right but by making a few modifications and a few different sized jigs I can now make any sized ovals or circles that I need for use in my woodworking.
Start by cutting a piece of 4/4 stock into a perfect square blank.The one I made is a piece of mahogany cut 5”x5” .On the router table route a 1/4” groove 3/8” deep in the center running in both directions. Flip around and do it again so that both grooves are perfectly centered.

Next set up a dovetailing bit and do the same thing so that the bit widens the original grooves again routing in both directions to center the cuts.

Cut a piece of stock about a 1/4” wider than the widest part of the dovetailed groove. Move the router fence over so that you take out a portion of the stock on both sides to make the cams that will slide in the grooves. Sneak up on making the cams fit by adjusting the fence until the cams slide easily in the grooves.

The next photo shows that I have cut the cams to equal length and drilled a centered pilot hole. I then trimmed the corners of the jig and applied my favorite workshop lube (Pam) to the cams.

The next photo shows the adjustable arm layout. A series of holes drilled 1/2” apart are used to determine the axis which the cams will follow to give the length and width of the oval. The larger holes are used to hold the pencil.

The next photo shows the assembled jig ready to go. I use double sided tape to secure it to the workpiece ,in this case cardboard pattern. This position of the arm gives 1/2 of the length of the oval.

The next photo shows the position of the arm for 1/2 of the width of the oval. By adjusting the position of the screws on the cams you can adjust length and width of the oval.

The next photo shows a perfect oval drawn with the jig.

To draw circles with the jig ,remove one cam and using a longer screw through the other cam to bottom out and lock into the center position of the jig.

Pieces made with shop made oval making jig.

Intarsia of Mabry Mill

Custom marble top coffee table—Brazilian cherry,Peruvian walnut, Bloodwood, Holly.

-- Mike --

7 comments so far

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3322 days

#1 posted 03-29-2009 02:39 AM

That’s some nice stuff there. Cool hand jig. I’ll have to give that a try maybe make some clocks! Thanks.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3645 days

#2 posted 03-29-2009 02:45 AM

Great jig Mike. I’m thinking a lot of us will make these.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3719 days

#3 posted 03-29-2009 03:42 AM

I really like this jig. I am going to make me one when I need to make myself an oval.


-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View lew's profile


12018 posts in 3721 days

#4 posted 03-29-2009 03:52 AM

Hey, Dude!

You have my router table!!

Nice jig, I’m going to have to make one of these!!

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

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3524 days

#5 posted 03-29-2009 03:15 PM

Thanks for the post. I was just looking at one yesterday. Guess I will favorite this one and make it. Good job.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Allison's profile


819 posts in 3764 days

#6 posted 03-29-2009 08:30 PM

wow this is some post. Explained enough that even I get it. LOL!!! Thanks

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View PetePenman's profile


2 posts in 1652 days

#7 posted 10-13-2013 02:26 PM

Thanks a lot for this. I looked at a few types of ellipse jig but decided to copy yours as it seemed the best.

Really pleased how mine has turned out; works a treat. Thanks.!

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