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Thread: Cabriole legs

  1. #1
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    Cabriole legs

    Shaping some cabriole legs for dining table. 29 inches in length. Cherry. Enjoying plenty of hand tools, including spokeshaves, rasps, files and card scrapers.

    mortise.jpgshaping leg.jpglegs.jpglegs.jpg

  2. #2
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    Mar 2015
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    Great work, Mark. Iím so jealous every time I see a spokeshave at work. Love that tool. Iíd be thoroughly happy shaving a 2x4 down to a toothpick. Look forward to seeing the rest of the build. Please share when you can.

  3. #3
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    If work can be called fun then it appears ass though you are having it. Thanks for the pix.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the comments Phil & Curt. Love to release tension wacking my Sorby mortise chisel.

  5. #5
    I agree with everyone else - that sure looks like fun.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  6. #6
    Cabriole legs ARE fun most of the time. But a warning, making a set in Tiger Maple takes 4-5 times as long as in any non-figured wood. The reversing grain makes it tough to get a smooth unrippled finish.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  7. #7
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    Dave, Iím sure that figured grain was challenging - but you did a beautiful job!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    I agree with everyone else - that sure looks like fun.
    Sometimes it feels good not to use power.

  9. #9
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    That's fantastic work and I'm envious of your work ethic to get them done. I've gotten lazy over the years and I have to have cabriole legs,I'm ordering from Adams. I do still make Goats' legs but after doing some in Cherry and sanding being so long, I'm now going to stick with tapered unless I call Adams.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Dorn View Post
    That's fantastic work and I'm envious of your work ethic to get them done. I've gotten lazy over the years and I have to have cabriole legs,I'm ordering from Adams. I do still make Goats' legs but after doing some in Cherry and sanding being so long, I'm now going to stick with tapered unless I call Adams.
    Thanks Don - shaping the legs can be a workout. I check out Adams site - they do have a nice selection.

  11. #11
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    Beautiful work AND looks like fun....I too love spokeshaves..Fun to use when sharp and fine tuned....
    Jerry

  12. #12
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    Very true Jerry, the spokeshaves work much better with a very sharp blade.

  13. #13
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    Mark I really enjoy your work thanks again for posting.

    Cabriole legs are one of my favorite furniture elements and also one of the most troubling for me to design/layout. My experiences getting the curves even slightly "wrong" always looks intuitively off somehow in the final result. Goodness knows I've ruined some pieces I otherwise enjoy by not quite getting the cabriole leg curve correct.


    Are there any design proportion/rules of thumb, online available templates or examples etc. that you find particularly helpful?

    Thanks for sharing, Mike

  14. #14
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    You are welcome Mike. My first cabriole legs were easy for me to "design"...I bought full size plans from Phil Lowe a couple of years ago, and simply traced his cabriole leg onto a template. I am now building a Queen Anne dining room table and needed a longer leg. Like you, I had anxiety over getting it "right". I called Allan Breed, a period furniture master, and asked for advice. He said to simply try to stretch out my shorter leg to meet my 29 inch requirements, and, if I was hesitant he offered to sketch one out and send it to me ( for free! what a guy! ). After days of procrastinating I simply began to sketch one with a pencil and eraser, and kept drawing flowing curves and erasing what did not look good to my eye. Additionally I read Fine Woodworking articles by Lonnie Bird, and Phil Lowe even made a video about designing your own leg. They did discuss proportion and measurements, but I did not concentrate on those specifics too much. After looking at a lot of on line pictures of legs and asking my daughter her opinion, I came to a leg sketch that I liked ( kept erasing and redrawing lines ) When I began to ask other opinions and they differed, I decided I liked my leg and that was good enough for me.

    desk on frame leg.jpgtwo cabriole legs.jpgthree cabriole legs.jpg

  15. #15
    A major consideration mike is regional style. There are major differences between Boston, CT, NYC, Philadelphia, tidewater VA, and Charleston. It is often best to look through period furniture books or use the internet for ideas.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

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