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Home made Fluting Jig – Steve Howells

I, like many other people am shielding during the Covid 19 lockdown and find myself with a great deal of time on my hands, much of which is spent in the work shop.

After cleaning and tidying my workshop to within an inch of its life I started to turn my attention to other things.
Something I had been considering for some time was buying a fluting jig which I felt would give my wood turning an extra dimension. After looking at these on line I thought I could easily make my own and here is a description of how I achieved this. After all, how difficult could this be!
I started by making the table from a piece of 18mm plywood cutting it to the length of my lathe bed, I did cut a piece away at the rear so I could keep the Tailstock and the Banjo in place and still operational, although I have found this wasn’t really necessary.
In this image you can see the layout of the T track, with stops and guide rails.
I then routered three slots into the table in a very elongated “H” shape, this was to enable me to fit some “T” track which is used for a parallel guide and stops. For this I used some strips of Oak locking them in place with 6mm wing nuts . You will need to give this some thought as to the positioning of these, giving careful consideration to the sort of work you may be wanting your fluting jig to do. I had some “T” track left over from another job which I originally bought from Axminister although you can purchase it from most online shops along with the “T” bolts.
To fix the table to my lathe bed I cut 2 pieces of plywood around 75 mm long which fitted in the centre slot. When dropped down and turned 90 degrees they then fitted into the same “T” slot under the bed of the lathe, that the Banjo and tailstock lock into. This did take quite a bit of sanding and shaping to make the right size.
Into these pieces of wood, I fitted a piece of 6mm studding with a nut at one end counterboring it to allow the nut to fit flush.  It is important to ensure the hole is exactly dead centre to allow it to turn on the correct axis. As there isn’t a great deal of strain on these nuts, I simply glued them into place with an epoxy resin.
To make the tightening handles on top I turned a piece of wood into a T shape with the top of the T being big enough to fit comfortably in my hand and then cut 4 scallops into this to give me a good grip. I drilled a 6mm clearance hole in this and at the top fitted a captivated spiked T nut to allow me to screw this down and tighten my table to the bed of the lathe.
Then to the carrier.
I am on about mark 3 of this as I found the first time, I had massively over engineered this making it too big and bulky to be used effectively. I started by making a simple three-sided box with a sturdy base. I already had a small palm router which I used for the actual fluting, so to hold this securely I turned a piece of Beech which was a nice tight fit over the nose of the router I then took this to the band saw to cut through one side and cut 2 flats to enable me to fit a nut and bolt through this  which enabled me to tighten it further ensuring there was no movement in the router. As I have not made any allowances for any vertical adjustment it is imperative that the router is fitted exactly on the centre line. This is achieved quite simply by using a revolving centre in the tail stock to scribe a line in the face plate of your carrier, then drilling a hole allowing the cutter to poke through. I then put 2 screws through the face plate of the carrier and into the beech ring holding it all secure.
I have found this routing jig works very well and over all very pleased with the results.
I am just looking at a Mark 4 now allowing me to pivot the carrier at the base allowing the cutter to describe an arc, a work very much in progress.
I found this very easy to make, as well as an interesting project, I hope this inspires others and would be very interested in any feedback from people. Either in the making or using
In this troubled time, I hope you are all staying safe and well and hope to see you all soon back at the railway institute where we can all sit around and talk wood
Steve Howells