Subscribe now and save up to 56%
An excellent and common method for drawing an ellipse is to use two push pins, a string, and a pencil. Trial and error is often recommended as the way to adjust the location of the push pins and the length of the string. These two things can be calculated very easily to give the exact ellipse that you want.
First, determine the length and height of the desired ellipse. The total distance between the push pins will be given by this formula: D = the square root of (L2 – H2), where L equals total length and H equals total height.
After placing the push pins on the major axis, cut a piece of string several inches longer than the total length of the ellipse, and form a big loop using a slip knot. Tension the loop with the pencil, slip the knot to make the correct size loop and then tie off the knot so it can no longer slip. The loop of string should be tied so that when it is stretched with the pencil, the loop is exactly half the total length of the ellipse plus half the distance between the pins.
Use a low-stretch string for the job, and when drawing, keep the tension on the pencil the same all the way around. A tiny grommet on the pencil point will help the string slide. They are readily available from hobby stores and electronic stores like Radio Shack.
From Fine Woodworking #121
Get woodworking tips, expert advice and special offers in your inbox
Become a member today
Get instant access to all FineWoodworking.com content.
Subscribe to Fine Woodworking
Save up to 56%
Kezurou-kai Mini, or NYC KEZ for short, is a gathering in which craftsmen and enthusiasts come together to celebrate Japanese style woodworking.
Fast, fun approach to making a comfortable, casual seat
It is difficult to drill a perfectly centered hole in the end of a round dowel, but this drill guide solves the problem. Choose a Forstner bit the same size…
When my pipe clamps aren’t working as clamps, they double as versatile shop stands. To create a broad, stable base, I glue up a stack of 12-in.-dia. disks of 3⁄4-in.-thick…
Clever bench jigs grip workpieces of any size or shape
Cabinet door pulls can be difficult to install in line across a number of doors. This simple drilling jig, made from a scrap block and three fender washers, guarantees perfect…
Become a member today and get instant access to all FineWoodworking.com content!
Plus tips, advice, and special offers from Fine Woodworking.
In-depth online classes from the experts at Fine Woodworking.
Enter now for your chance to win a Lee Valley block plane valued at $160.
© 2016 The Taunton Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
Become a member and get instant access to thousands of videos, how-tos, tool reviews, and design features.