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Theres a Better Way

How to Lay Out an Accurate Ellipse with a Stick, Two Nails, and a Pencil

comments (0) March 28th, 2014 in Blogs
grateful.ed Chuck Miller, editor at large

For use with multi-clip THERE's A BETTER WAY BLOG posts only

Video Length: 3:09
Produced by: John Ross and Chuck Miller

If you need to make an elliptical backing for a cove or arch, you could look at the 15 ways Wikipedia shows how to do it and risk your head exploding, but there's a better way.

Dave Ferry from Silver Spring, MD, has sent us a technique where you can lay out an accurate ellipse every time using a stick, 2 nails, and a pencil. Because we want a true ellipse and not a simple curve, we can't simply swing an arc with a standard compass. We'll instead creat a jig that does all the work for us. It's a little complicated to explain the entire process, but Dave's trick is actually quite easy to use. The best way to learn how is to watch the video above.


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posted in: Blogs, finish carpentry