Illustrated Architecture Dictionary
........................ Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

Flute / Fluting
FLU teen


Flute:  A groove or channel, esp. one of many such parallel grooves  usually semicircular or semielliptical in section; used decoratively, as along the shaft of a column.

Fluting: A series of shallow vertical grooves, as on a column

Commonly found on Greek columns (vs. Roman columns where the shaft is usually smooth). For Greeks, fluting may have been a highly stylized memory of wood grain, for the earlier Greek columns were wood (For the derivation of Greek architecture features, see Greek Architecture and American Buildings).

Fillet (FILL it): the ridge between flutes

Stopped flute: In classical architecture and derivatives, a flute terminated, usually about two-thirds of the way down a column or pilaster. Below this the shaft may be smooth or faceted, or the fluting may be incised part way.

Fluted frieze: Flutes decorating a frieze

Cabled fluting:   A molding of convex section formed in the flutes of a column, usually in the lower third of the shaft.

Example, fireplace frieze: Risman House

"The Corinthian column is almost always fluted... Even the flutes of a Corinthian column may be enriched. They may be filleted [ridged], with rods nestled within the hollow flutes, or stop-fluted, with the rods rising a third of the way, to where the entasis begins.

"The French like to call these chandelles [candles] and sometimes they end them literally with carved wisps of flame, or with bellflowers. Example: Panthéon Paris, France

"Alternately, beading or chains of husks may take the place of the fillets in the fluting, for Corinthian is the most playful and flexible of the orders. Its atmosphere is rich and festive, with more opportunities for variation than the other orders.  - Crystalinks: Greek Architecture

Commonly found in classical architecture and derivatives: Greek Revival, Classical Revival, Beaux Arts Classical Revival, Renaissance Revival, Second Empire, Georgian Revival styles


Term applied to shallow, hollowed out grooves which are always vertical. They can either run from the top to the bottom of a post, or side by side.

See scoop pattern.

Examples from Buffalo:

Other examples:

Photos and their arrangement © 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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