One of the elements that makes woodworking projects stand out is the attention to detail that the woodworker builds into their works. In some cases, one of the details that help to define a piece and break up large areas of plain wood ... is something called Fluting. A commonplace that you might find fluting would be a surround of a fireplace. Often there are wide pieces of wood around a fireplace and one way of making these plain pieces of wood more attractive is to "flute" them.  You will also find fluting on table legs, bookcases, large wooden beds and other things that use wide boards in the construction. 

Watch it on Youtube:

My goal with this jig project was to make a jig that I could use on many different projects that I could rely on as being accurate and for making repeatable flutes when I need them ... 
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Mini router jig

The heart of this jig is a piece of 1/4" ready rod which will be used to re-position the trim router to specific distances to cut the fluting. Because there are all sorts of different sizes of round-nose bits, and different distances that you may want to cut these, there are no real guidelines except to make the fluting according to what looks best to your eye. For example, fluting on a table leg would be done with a very fine bit, and would probably only have a couple of flutes cut whereas fluting on the surround of a fireplace might have 3 or for flutes cut on a much wider board or even something like MDF that would later be painted. 

I started off with a piece of 1/4" thick plastic, and cut it according to the base size of my existing trim router, but made the base about 1/2" wider on each side, they also allowed some extra space toward the back of the plastic base plate where I could attach the "L" bracket. 

I used 1/4" plywood for the sides of the jig where the plastic base would ride against and be trapped. I decided on plywood because it has less tendency to expand width-wise, and therefore should work well for the sliders for the base. 

I used the existing base as a guide to make the bolt holes and recesses that would hold the new base plate to the trim router. Next, I glued the sliders to the plywood base of the jig and made sure that the new plastic base would slide easily back and forth.

I also took some time to cut a slot at the base of the jig where the router bit would protrude into the wood and I affixed the backboard to the edge of the jig.

As you can see in the video, I also attached the top of the anchor board with bolts to the bottom slider, this is in case I have any unknown adjustments I want to make in the future.

For the "L" bracket I simply used an off the shelf hardware store "L" bracket and cut the extra hole off the one side and slightly enlarged it the ready-rod would go through the hole. Attaching the "L" bracket was a bit more work than expected, I had to use flat head screws and countersink the holes from underneath the plastic base, this is so the screws that hold the "L" bracket on would not interfere with the sliding motion of the trim router moving back and forth over the base of the jig.

**** If you make this jig and use my methodology, do NOT tighten the bolts to the "L" bracket and the plastic base to tightly and use a lock washer. The holes in the plastic and not very far apart and past experience with plastic and tightening it too much means sometimes the plastic will crack and you have to start all over again so do not over-tighten.

fluting jig

Next, I had to drill a hole through the anchor back and fasten the "T-nut" in place. This was fairly easy and I pre-drilled the holes for the screws to make sure it didn't re-position the T-nut as I tightened the 2 screws. 

The final assembly was easy, threading the ready-rod through the T-nut, then affixing it to the "L" bracket and fastening it so that it is locked to the bracket but still spins freely, and lastly to fix some sort of a crank or turning knob to the ready-rod to be able to turn it easily. I figured out a long time ago that cranks work best for counting turns and just for the speed of having to crank the ready-rod into place.

Testing ...
The real joy of making jigs is to see if they work and how well they work. I have never seen any kind of a jig like this for cutting flutes so I was very interested to see just how well it would work. I aligned it up on some scrap wood I had and made the first pass ... wow, I was amazed how straight and easy it was to make this cut. I turned the crank to the number of turns I had pre-determined ahead of time that should be appropriate, re-positioned the jig for the second cut and in no time it was done.

Both cuts were excellent ... straight, even cuts and it was easy to re-position the router in the jig. This tuned out to be an excellent jig ... another keeper for future projects. 

Copyright - Colin Knecht

wood fluting jig