Varied Width Flutes

Gary Zeff of www.sculpturalwoodturning.com asked this question:

 "Can you use this tool to make flutes that vary from wide to thin instead of the same width?"

I assume your question involves the same flute moving from wide to thin or vice versa during the same cutting pass.

I usually recommend that the cutter be moved so it is at a 90 degree angle to the piece that’s being fluted. When fluting on a curved profile you keep the cutter at right angle to the piece that’s being fluted to have same-width flutes. To cut a flute with a changed width, keep the cutter vertical to the axis of the lathe bed. On a straight flute you would move the angle of the Flute Cutter to the turning as you move along the lathe bed to change the width of the flute.

The new Proximity Depth Guide is especially helpful to cut tapering flutes. Keep the cutter at right angles to a tapering form, or angle the cutter to a straight form.

If you will look at the photo gallery on the Flute Master website, www.flutemasters.com, there is a picture of a candle holder. You will see that the flutes on the lower bowl are tear shaped, narrower at the beginning and wider at the end. I did this by keeping the cutter at right angles to the axis of the lathe and not right angle to the turning.

This effect depends upon the size and shape of cutter you are using. To think about it, the relative diameter of the depth control roller and the diameter of the router bit can change the cut as you move around the curved profile of your turning, depending upon the angle presented to the wood.

With some experimentation you can accomplish what you want. Experiment with different diameter router bits, too.

Dick Webber
Flute Master LLC