Indexing Wheel


Indexing Wheel

Indexing wheels (also known as an division plates or a indexing plates) get used for a number of operations on the rose engine. As with traditional lathes, indexing wheels are used for cuts which need to be at set angles around the circle : say, every 15°.

A common use for indexing wheels in ornamental turning is for phasing. Phasing is changing the relationship between the rosette and the object being turned. For example, to make a basket weave pattern:

  1. the ornamental turner cuts a pattern on the object, one complete revolution.
  2. the ornamental turner then rotates the object some pre-determined direction and number of degrees (say, 15° clockwise)
  3. the ornamental turner repositions the cutting head a pre-determined distance (say, 0.050" towards the lathe headstock)
  4. the ornamental turner then cuts the same pattern on the object, one complete revolution.
  5. Steps 2-4 are repeated until the object is completed.

Indexing wheels like the yellow one shown to the right can be made with 3D printers, or they be purchased. I purchased an aluminium one from Alisam Engineering.

Additional pictures of this device

Examples of work produced with this device

Examples of this device in use

Usage Notes

How it works

Notes on making one

More Information

Published Articles


Web Sites


  • Spiral Fluting an Ornament on a Rose Engine, by Gary Miller. This YouTube video shows a number of things, including the use of an Alisam index wheel (around 2:35 into the video).


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Disclaimer: eMail comments to me at OTBookOfKnowledge @ The process of woodturning involves the use of tools, machinery and materials which could cause injury or be a health hazard unless proper precautions are taken, including the wearing of appropriate protective equipment.