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How to Cut an Oval Shape From Wood Board

Updated February 21, 2017

Creating a perfect oval from a wood board can be tricky. Unlike a circle or square, there is no special tool for creating oval outlines that is simple to use, such as a geometric compass, or carpenter's square. Creating a paper template is the simplest way to get a perfect oval in the size you need. Once the oval outline is created a band saw is the best tool for cutting curves in solid wood.

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  1. Cut a rectangle the right length and width for your oval from butcher or art paper using scissors. Fold the paper in half the long way and the short way so that you see only one quarter of the rectangle. Use a pencil to draw a curve, starting at the top of the centre fold going the long way and ending on the outside edge on the fold going the short way.

  2. Cut along the curved line through all four thicknesses of your paper. Unfold the oval. Refold and trim as needed until you have an oval that is the shape you desire. Create a second template if needed to get the correct shape.

  3. Select a piece of lumber the thickness you want making sure it is wide and long enough to fit your template on when unfolded. Tape the template to the lumber with masking tape and trace around its outline with the pencil.

  4. Set the lumber up onto the band saw table. Turn the thumb key on the guide block on your band saw blade counterclockwise to release it. Allow it to drop onto the lumber face. Raise it slightly for clearance and twist the key back clockwise to lock it in place.

  5. Start the saw and allow it to come up to speed. Push the lumber through the saw, steering the board slowly around the blade to follow the line you drew. Follow the outline around until the oval is completely cut.

  6. Sand the edge of the oval with a random orbit sander, starting with 80-grit sandpaper. Make a second pass with 120-grit sandpaper to do the final smoothing.

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Lumber for oval
  • Band saw
  • Random orbit sander

About the Author

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.

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