How I make cabriole legs, long, lots of pictures.

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by AlaskaGuy posted 892 days ago 4744 reads 11 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For this tutorial I going to use some pine I have laying around the shop. I glued up and number of pieces to get a blank big enough that my pattern will fit on them plus another 1/4’’ so. It’s real important that the blanks are square.


First I make up the blanks and my leg pattern. Next I cut the blanks to the same length as my pattern.


Then I draw the pattern on two sides of my blank.




Once you’ve gotten this far it’s time to make your mortises where the apron fits the legs.

I have a few ways to make mortises but since these are going to be 3’’ long I’m going to use my slot mortiser which is an add on to my Felder Joiner/planer.


Here’s is a small video of the slot mortiser in motion. Just follow the link.


After the mortising is done it’s time to take it to my big band saw and do the straight cuts on the straight areas.

Now I go to the small band saw for the curved cut using a 1/4’’ blade.

I start cutting from one end and cut about halfway along the line. I back it out of the cut,  turn it around and cut from the other end meeting the other cut but I stop short so the piece does not fall off. This is so when I cut the pattern on other side I’ll have a flat surface to lay on the band saw table.

I cut all the curved lines leaving as above and when I’m done cutting I can break the pieces off and I’m left with a ruffed out leg.

Now I break all the pieces off and this is what I have at this point.

Next I’m going to lay out the foot of the leg. I mark the center of the bottom of the leg and draw a circle with a 5/8’’ radius.

Now we layout the top of the foot.

Now you have a layout line on the top and bottom of the foot. The circle on the bottom of the foot is smaller than on the top and so we’ll end up with a beveled foot when we connect the lines. But first were going to ruff chop off some to the waste wood.

Now I’m going to connect the lines using my disk sander to grind off the waste.

Once the foot is shaped the leg goes to my OSS to do most of the sanding and shaping.

Next the leg goes on my vice for final sanding and fine tuning.

The most difficult/time consuming part for me is make a nice transition where

the knee of the the leg meet the square part of the let. Here I use chisels, files and sand paper to work this area.

when I’m finished it looks something like this. BTW the transition blocks are made after the leg are fitted to the apron.






-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

12 comments so far

View rance's profile


4125 posts in 1757 days

#1 posted 892 days ago

A well laid out blog. Thanks for sharing.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View lanwater's profile


3073 posts in 1531 days

#2 posted 892 days ago

Thanks for the blog.

The many pictures makes it easy to understand.


-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View stefang's profile (online now)


12546 posts in 1931 days

#3 posted 892 days ago

Excellent tutorial and the result looks super. I am surprised your didn’t use spokeshaves for the shaping work. No criticism intended, just wondering.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


14096 posts in 1401 days

#4 posted 892 days ago

very educational. thnx for taking the time for the step-by-step. very kool

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Rob_n_Wood's profile


109 posts in 1946 days

#5 posted 892 days ago

You make it look so simple and I know it is not
Thanks for sharing

-- "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." Thomas Jefferson

View gfadvm's profile


10538 posts in 1287 days

#6 posted 892 days ago

Wow, That is beautiful and your blog makes it look like even I could do this. NOT!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2174 days

#7 posted 892 days ago

great blog and photo layout.

-- Custom furniture

View bhog's profile


1967 posts in 1287 days

#8 posted 891 days ago

Good stuff,will definately come in handy.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View Mark Miller's profile

Mark Miller

58 posts in 1761 days

#9 posted 817 days ago

Great Blog and info. Thanks Mark


View thedude50's profile


3503 posts in 1075 days

#10 posted 817 days ago

I too do mine with out a spoke shave but i use a Shinto rasp it is fast and you dont end up looking blocky I loved this tutorial it should be taught in my classes almost just like your blog I think I will do something simular on Woodshopuniversity,com

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ where we allow free speech

View albachippie's profile


532 posts in 1632 days

#11 posted 550 days ago

Brilliant tutorial, thanks so much for this, just what I was looking for

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland -

View helluvawreck's profile


15392 posts in 1463 days

#12 posted 550 days ago

It’s a nice tutorial and the legs look great.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase