Armour Fluting
By: Scott J. Swindell
House of Bacchus

Fluting refers to the technique, largely exhibited in gothic armour, of creating a raised ridge in armour. While this was primarily done for the attractive appearance it gave to the piece, it also served to strengthen the metal. While most modern-day armourers seem to prefer the use of a machine called a "fluting press" to add fluting to their work, I prefer the authentic method of armouring: by hand.

In order to give credit where it is due, I must add that this technique was described to me by Master Armourer James Earley, who follows the old ways of constructing beautiful armour by hand.

Step 1:

Place the metal to be fluted over a wood block with a wide notch in it.
The notch should be about twice as wide as the width of the desired fluting.
Use a slightly blunted chisel which has had the corners rounded over.
Step 2:

With light strokes, hit the chisel with a hammer, creating a ridge along the line where you want the fluting to be.
Continue this process down the entire line where the fluting will be until the desired depth has been achieved.
After this process, there will be a ridge down the metal, however it will have a blunt, rounded edge, unlike the sharper, staighter edge of fluting.
Step 3:

To create the final sharp edge of the fluting, we must planish it using a rounded hammer, such as that used for bowling/raising.
Place the ridge over the corner of a hard wood block, or a metal spike. Using the rounded hammer, and light strokes, hit the edge of the ridge on one side until it is fairly uniform.
Rotate the metal, and repeat the process on the other side of the ridge. This is the most time consuming part of the process because it must be repeated until the fluting is straight, and the edge is properly sharp.
Step 4:

Once you are satisfied with the fluting, you may stop the process of planishing. The final fluting should follow a continuous path, be it straight or curved, and should come to a nice edge as shown in the picture.

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