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Simpler to make than it looks, turned table legs are more original than straight or shod feet, and much easier to machine than arched feet. The flutes will add an extra touch to your furniture and balusters.

Turned and fluted feet

Practical advice

For further
The reference book for filming remains the "Practical Handbook of Woodturning", by Philippe Bourgeat, published by Planet'Bois.
Other methods of fluting, router or ripper, are presented by Gerard Bidou in several of his books, editions Eyrolles and Fleurus.

Characteristics of the Louis XVI style, the turned and fluted pieces are elegant to look at and interesting to realize. Amounts of dressers, table legs and consoles, even chairs and armchairs... many pieces of furniture may have them. If the lathe is essential to shape them, their grooves, commonly hollowed out at the router, are also feasible to the router, with the device presented here.

The draft

The starting piece is a planed blank and, if necessary, mortised before turning, as long as the surface necessary for the driving shoe remains sufficient. It is then mounted on the lathe, square mass side doll fixed. The centering, on which the equilibrium of the round square fitting depends, must be very precise. Rounding is done from the right. Lucky people with a long tool holder can do it all at once.

At the approach of the square mass, the roughing gouge, unfit to connect properly square and round, is replaced by a gouge to profile. The tool is lying to the right, bevel perpendicular to the axis of rotation. The cutting edge should not enter the wood horizontally, but tilt up and down. This operation is called "fallen edge".
If you do not attack frankly and under the right angle, the gouge will drive brutally to the left, irreparably damaging the square mass. For a first attempt, be careful: train on a fall.


The location of the moldings is traced directly on the foot. If the machining of the bottom of the foot does not present difficulties, the central part requires care because the cone must be regular. The ideal tool is the plane, but be careful not to "plant", the false maneuvers are often irremediable for the piece. If you do not, use a sharpening gouge that is perfectly sharpened. Wider than a gouge to profile, it is easier to guide. If you are experiencing vibrations, equip the lathe with a telescope, trade or home-made, and reduce the speed of rotation.
Once the central part is finished, profile the upper molding, taking care not to damage the square mass. So machine all the feet before moving to the groove.

The spline device

The splines are machined at the router with a throat cutter of 6 to 10 mm. A chipboard tray (possibly melamine or plywood or MDF) is firmly bolted to the bench of the lathe. It receives a depth stop lug, adjustable thanks to its fixing by bolts and wing nuts in grooves. Two lateral stops complete it, immobilized at an appropriate distance with clamps. Spray a lubricant on the assembly to promote the sliding of the router.

This is a machine with separable base of which only the standard flanged motor of 43 mm is used. A non removable model would be bulky and difficult to install. A prime ripper is, for once, a wise choice. Its mediocre base and its weak power do not import much, it will be reserved for this use only. Only one quality is required: do not vibrate. It is clamped in a drill bracket (Wolfcraft) mounted on a tapered wooden sole at the front. The back of the machine is wedged to prevent sagging.

The axis of the router is at the height of that of the lathe, and the front of the router aligned vertically with the nose of the sole. Then simply adjust the depth stop according to the turned part to get exactly the desired groove depth. Given the small diameter of the cutter, a protective device is useless.

On the other hand, aspiration is essential, both for health reasons and to prevent chips from accumulating in the recesses, which distorts the accuracy of the stops.

The divider

If your tower does not have a divider, make it. A 24-division disk will serve in many circumstances. Trace the periphery of the disc precisely and a second circle with a radius of about 2 cm. Divide the 24 rays. Drill 5 mm diameter at the intersection of the spokes and the inner circle, and the center of the disc at the diameter of the spindle nose.
Fix it on the lathe with a suitable nut, or in the absence of hot-melt glue, easy to remove. The index is a straight rod, articulated on the spline plate by a metal bracket and provided with an M5 bolt at the opposite end, to engage in the holes of the divider.
Machine a first set of shallow flutes, then adjust the depth stop to match the result to balance the widths of the flutes and the flats (flats between the flutes). Make as many passes as necessary until the desired result is achieved. Keep the final setting to spline the other feet in one pass. After final sanding, simply to deburr the routing, apply the finish of your choice. For once she did not go on the tour.

Turned and fluted feet: feet

The limits of the square mass and the location of the assembly mortises are traced on the planed and planed slab. No need to add the other marks, they would disappear during the rolling.

Turned and fluted feet: square

It is easier to cut the mortises before shooting. It is even imperative on a combination mortiser: after the fact, there would be more possibility to clamp the room without tedious rigging.

Turned and fluted feet: square

To obtain a regular connection between the square mass and the turned part, the centering must be neat. The diagonals are drawn at both ends, then the centers pointed at their intersection.

With an ordinary tool holder, the rolling is done in two or three steps, from right to left. The roughing gouge work is stopped a few millimeters before the square weight.

Turned and fluted feet: feet

The "fall of the ridges" is a delicate point. The bevel of the gouge, lying to the right, is held perpendicular to the foot. The tool is engaged in a rocking motion from top to bottom.

Turned and fluted feet: fluted

The location of the various moldings can be transferred to the blank. The majority of the feet in this style have only two moldings, one at the base of the foot, the other just below the square mass.

Turned and fluted feet: fluted

The profiling is preferably from the tailstock to the spindle. Working in reverse would create points of weakness in the room, generating parasitic vibrations or even breakage.

Turned and fluted feet: square

The rectilinear part, which will receive the flutes, is preferably machined to the plane. On a long and thin foot, it is almost essential to have a telescope to limit vibrations.

Turned and fluted feet: fluted

The shoot is over. The foot is then sanded, spinning like any other turned piece. But do not hurt your fingers on the square mass and do not tear its edges.

Turned and fluted feet: square

The spline device is based on a plate bolted to the bench of the lathe, and having two grooves for fixing the depth stop. The two lateral stops are immobilized by clamps.

Turned and fluted feet: fluted

Many towers have no divider or tree lock. But it is easy to make them in a plywood disc. With a minimum of care, one obtains a sufficient precision.

Turned and fluted feet: feet

The router, preferably a motor with separable motor, is installed on a sole. The cutter is aligned vertically on the nose of the sole, and horizontally at the height of the axis of the lathe.

Turned and fluted feet: turned

Making the router stand in two sliding parts increases the depth adjustment margin and thus the system possibilities. The suction device is indispensable.

Turned and fluted feet: turned

Aligning the cutter on the nose of the sole facilitates adjustment of the pass. The tool is resting on the part, it is sufficient to move the depth stop and the sole to the desired size.

Turned and fluted feet: feet

Side stops are used to stop all splines at the same length. During machining, the sole first touches the rear and is aligned by the front against the stop.

Turned and fluted feet: feet

Several tests are necessary, gradually increasing the depth of pass, to obtain at both ends a good visual balance between the width of the grooves and that of the listels.

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