The Bedan


The Bedan

 While the bedan is quite common here in France, it seems it's not the case everywhere, and I've seen several questions posted on forums regarding this tool: what is it, how to use it, ...
This page is a small tentative to help clarify these questions.

 Bedan comes from the French word "bédane" (duck beak, as duck is anas in Latin). I don't know if it's related to the shape or whatever.
This tool is pretty old, and was used for turning before gouges appeared.
While it is mostly used for spindle turning, it can also be used for hollowing.

Top view

Side view

Bottom view

A Bedan looks like this: a square section (sometimes trapezoid), with one bevel. This one is 10*10 mm.


 The bedan can be used to turn a piece to a precise diameter, more easily than with a gouge.

Use a sliding caliper set to the desired diameter in one hand (going over the piece, take care to sleeves or things that could be caught by the revolving piece),

and the bedan in the other hand, with the handle under your armpit.

Gently decrease the diameter with the bedan, until the caliper passes "through" the piece.


1st step

2nd step

that's it

Decrease diameter

until it fits in the caliper

Easy, no ?

Spindle turning

 This is very usefull when turning long/thin pieces.
You can use the bedan with the bevel pointing down...

bevel down 1

bevel down 2

 ...Or up

bevel up 1

bevel up 2

This tool can also be used like a skew, to turn all convex shapes.


dovetail tenon for compression chuck

Very useful to turn a dovetail tenon, with clean straight edges


Jean-Françcois Escoulen  now sells his own bedan, made out of forged HSS. (no connection with him)

Photos by Aurélie Branche

Last update 30/04/2004

all pictures copyright P. Oudet