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How to Make Flute Cuts Using a Router – a Toolstop Guide

Posted by Toolstop Katy on 23rd Mar 2017

In this Toolstop University Guide we’ll show you the tools you’ll need to make fluted cuts. We’ll be focusing on created fluted columns in oak, but the principles apply whether you’re making flute cuts in any wood for cabinets or trim.

Making Fluted Columns – How its Done

We visited accomplished restoration firm Caleb and Taylor Restoration to ask them to show us how they transformed ordinary rooms into wood panelled places of luxury. The job they were working on required the created of fluted oak columns.

So they showed us how they do it and the tools they used.

Part of the challenge of cutting a flute into wood, whether oak or something softer, is not burning the work piece with the router bit.

The trick here is to set your router up for the depth of the flute, and then make the cut gradually over several passes.

One recommendation is to start in the middle of your pencil line, working back to the start and end pencil lines, going a little deeper with each pass until you reach the depth you’ve set on the router. If little burns marks are still evident, remove these with a scraper or sandpaper. Other professionals favour a Dremel to gently remove the burn mark.

Clearly, it’s vitally important to accurately mark out on the work piece the spacing of the flutes, then using the side fence on your router so that the fluted cutter is going to be placed centrally on the line. Then get your router set to the depth you wish to make the flute.

Caleb and Taylor restoration used a Trend T11EK 2000W 1/2″ Variable Speed Workshop Router, click to buy it.

Some of the key benefits of using a router of this quality include:

  • Soft start eliminates sudden movement of machine on start up
  • Router fine height adjuster for above and below height adjustment
  • Comes with a side fence which features a micro adjuster

As with all types of router applications, using the correct router cutter for the job is imperative. We stock a huge range of Trend router cutters, which you can see here, but it’s worth taking a look at the Trend 3/83DX1/2TC Two Flute TCT Cutter, which you can buy here.

Watch the fluted cuts being made with the router on Toolstop TV here.

Cutting the Fluted Panels to Create a Column

s the columns pictured above were made out of oak, using a top quality table saw was the order of the day for the team. Hence, they depended on a DeWALT saw that doesn’t take up loads of space in their work area, but will give them a clean, true and accurate cut.

We recommend taking a look at the DeWALT DW745 10″/254mm Compact Job Site Table Saw. Interestingly, this saw also comes highly recommended by one of London’s top kitchen fitters, as you can see on our Toolstop TV video here.

Using a table saw like this one from DeWALT comes with numerous benefits to the serious trades person, such as:

  • Optimised footprint and light weight (22kg) make this saw highly portable; pick it up, stow it in your van easily
  • Rack and pinion fence system, front and rear fence lock and large, clear scales combine to give an extremely accurate and easy to use saw
  • Fence system provides 410 mm of rip capacity in a portable design for cutting large sheet materials to size

The quick bevel lock, including the big-style scale, was a boon to the Caleb and Taylor team as they were able to quickly and accurately set up the saw to rip cut 45º angles into the panels that would make up the fluted columns.

As noted above, the guide fence on this DeWALT saw is strong and accurate, which matters hugely when making rip cuts into something like oak, particularly at the angles required for when creating a column, where accuracy is key!

Making Sure Your Cuts Are Squared

At this stage, when you’re creating a column, make sure your cuts are square, and for this, all you need is a decent combination square such as the Stanley 0-46-151 12″ 30cm Combination Square, which you can pick up here.

Fixing Your Column Together

In order to achieve the look created by the team at Caleb and Taylor Restoration, the three sections of the fluted oak column have to be fastened together onto the wall. For this type of job, we recommend the use of a good quality finishing nailer, such as the Bosch GSK 18 V-LI 18V Cordless li-ion Brad Finishing Nailer, which you can buy here.

A quality nailer like this one will offer you the following benefits:

  • a lightweight and compact design, which will help you nail in awkward spaces and corners
  • tool-free adjustment to allow you to get the depth of the nails just right
  • a no-mark nose cap to protect the surface you’re nailing
  • a narrow nose to allow you a greater line of sight for better accuracy

You can see the spec and benefits of the Bosch GSK 18 V-LI 18V Cordless li-ion Brad Finishing Nailer on Toolstop TV here.

Job done!

We love hearing from you guys about the tools you use regularly to craft your work, so be sure to share them with us.