# Is there such a thing as a perfect oval?

• posted on October 7, 2005, 6:51 pm

My SO desires a couple 'perfect' oval tabletops she can mosaic One about 2 feet wide the other about 20 inches. Is there a desired width to depth shape that is more eye appealing than others. I'm not really sure how to draw a perfect oval? Or any oval for that matter. Is there an easy way to do this. Knowing my SO this won't stop at two.:) Thanks.
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• posted on October 7, 2005, 7:00 pm

You're probably wanting to draw an Ellipse, which is a mathematic description of an oval.

There sure is. Get a piece of plywood for practice, and two wood screws. Put 'em, let's say, 12 inches apart. Now, get a piece of string, in this case 12+4+4 inches long... trust me, that'll make sense in a second. Tie a loop in each end, so the useful length is that 20 inches. Loop each end over one of the screws.
Now, you just put your pencil/marker/pen/whatever on the inside of that string loop, and use that distance to trace your oval. It'll go 4 inches beyond your focal points (that's the +4+4 above) on either end of the oval, giving you the 20" overall length that you specified. You can change the shape of this ellipse by moving the focal points (screws), or by changing the length of the string. Once you have a nice oval that you like, make a cardboard template so you can do it again without playing with string if you don't want to.
If you google for "ellipse string" you'd probably find pictures of someone doing just this.
Dave Hinz
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<%-name%>
• posted on October 12, 2005, 10:54 pm
Not really a response to anything, but you can make a jig for an ellipse by using two grooves at right angles to each other to guide a stick having two guide rods sticking down into the grooves and a pencil at one end. Put the intersection of the grooves at the center of the proposed ellipse and just crank the stick around. Max length between the rods is limited to the length of the smaller of the grooves but max size of the ellipse is limited only by your ability to control the pencil end.
Bill
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<%-name%>
• posted on October 7, 2005, 7:06 pm
wrote:

Oval or elliptical?
An oval has a radius and an overall length, the difference between twice the radius and the length being the length of the straight portion. NASCAR's website should have links to quite a number of ovals.
An ellipse is drawn the usual way, with a string and two points.
What I'd do is get a couple slices of poster board and draw an oval and an ellipse "about 2 feet" wide and let her tell you which she prefers.
ONLY after you get her approval (signed in her own blood. I wish I were kidding) do you use the posterboard as a template for your tabletop.
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<%-name%>
• posted on October 7, 2005, 7:24 pm
http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/oval
http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/55368.html
I think your are looking for an elipse, which is symmetrical on two axis. Oval just means egg shaped, and is only required to be symmetrical on one axis.
I like the other response. Let HER decide what an oval is, get it in writing, and let us know how it comes out.

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<%-name%>
• posted on October 7, 2005, 7:55 pm

responsibility. Unless everyone loves it, at which time she will take all the credit. The things we men have to put up with to get sex once a month.:)
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<%-name%>
• posted on October 7, 2005, 8:16 pm
Jim wrote:

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<%-name%>
• posted on October 7, 2005, 8:44 pm

If I had known about all these rules I would have stayed single.<g>
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<%-name%>
• posted on October 13, 2005, 1:15 am
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everone knows thats where test 3 and 5 day test matchs are played ,the MCC would never allow car racing there .......
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<%-name%>
• posted on October 7, 2005, 7:57 pm
Well ... if you're talking about an ellipse, you might try a ratio of 1.618 to 1 (about 8 to 5). That's what's called the "Golden Ratio", which turns up in all sorts of mathematical areas.
The ancient Greeks(*) called rectangles and ellipses with that ratio the "Golden Rectangle" and the "Golden Ellipse" ... which were reputed to be the perfect ratio for beauty. For rectangles, a much larger ratio (like 2 to 1) looks "too long and skinny" whereas a lower ratio (like 3-to-2) looks just a bit too "stumpy and squat".
Of course, it's all up to personal preference.
For the obscenely curious ... the Golden Ratio is (1 + SQRT(5)) to 2.
Jack
(*) Did you ever notice that no one ever references the "modern Greeks"? I wonder why not?
Jim wrote:

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<%-name%>
• posted on October 7, 2005, 8:43 pm
On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 13:57:57 -0600, "mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote:

EUREKA! I think that is what the SO was referring to. Thanks.

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<%-name%>
• posted on October 7, 2005, 11:45 pm
On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 13:57:57 -0600, mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net wrote:

Different people. I looked it up once, back when "looking it up" meant going through the card catalog. Apparently, too, the modern language, while it uses the same alphabet, is a different language from the classical tongue. It's all Greek to me. ;)
For those who haven't yet written the Golden Ratio on the workshop wall, just remember that 1/x = x - 1, and do the math. Writing it on the wall is easier. Wish I'd thought of it earlier...
Ovals are oblique sections of cylinders. They don't have any straightaways. Racetracks are just called "oval," but they're not. But what the heck, OP's SWMBO might like the look, so he'd better include a racetrack in his menu, along with the Golden Ellipse and an oval. Ya can't be too careful around wimmin. They're dangerous when they're cornered. ;)
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<%-name%>
• posted on October 8, 2005, 1:39 am
wrote:

Oval = ellipse? An ellipse will have one long axis and one short. "Perfect" at the end, below.
To draw a cardboard template:
Method 1. A decent CAD program will draw to scale or to real dimensions.
Method 2. Draw two concentric circles. Draw the axes, horizontal and vertical to divide them into four. You need only one quarter of the ellipse, since you can flip it on the item [table top] to draw the rest.
From the common center draw a line anywhere in the quarter to cut both circles. From where it meets the outer draw a line vertically downwards. From where it meets the inner draw a horizontal line ot meet the first. Where they meet, mark the point. That's one point on the quarter ellipse.
Keep doing those steps to get more points.
Join the dots.
Cut out the ellipse and along the axes. Line it up with two axes drawn on the item and sketch around it. Flip for the whole ellipse.
"Perfect" will mean in the Golden Ratio: 1: (1 + sqrt5)/2 = 1:1.618
Make the two circle radii in that ratio. If one is 24" the other will be 38.8". If one is 20" the other will be 32.4"
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<%-name%>
• posted on October 8, 2005, 12:53 am

I found this Ellipses for Dummies. It's perfect for me. http://www.projects.ex.ac.uk/trol/scol/callipse.htm
I'm Canadian so if I get busy on this tonight I might get to eat turkey on Thanksgiving after all.
Thanks to everyone.