# Queen Anne Side Table #3: Turning the Eccentric Cabriole Legs

 Blog entry by ShannonRogers posted 04-28-2010 09:42 PM 6335 reads 3 times favorited 11 comments
 « Part 2: Part 2, The Joinery Part 3 of Queen Anne Side Table series Part 4: The Period Details »

This was a new technique for me and a learned a lot giving it a try. I think my neighbor’s kids may have learned some new colorful language too. Sorry kids! Come along an learn about eccentric turning and making a turned cabriole leg.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at www.renaissancewoodworker.com

86 posts in 2948 days

#1 posted 04-30-2010 06:59 PM

Very informative, thanks! Would you mind posting the bit about the offset in text for easy reference? I will be trying one of these today. :)

-- Will in Boulder, CO

540 posts in 3784 days

#2 posted 04-30-2010 11:49 PM

Sure thing Will and good luck with your attempt. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll do my best to help you. These are the things you must know about your legs before layout:

diameter of the leg at the pommel
diameter of the ankle (narrowest point)
ratio of unturned to turned parts of the leg

Strike true center on both top and bottom by using a center square (preferred) or a ruler corner to corner.
Determine which corner will be your inside corner and make a mark on both ends of the leg to denote that inside corner
Now subtract the radius of the ankle from the radius of the part below the pommel to get your offset “X”
Take that number and make a mark on the bottom of the leg towards the inside corner that “X” distance
Now take the X distance and multiply it by the ratio of the turned to unturned dimensions ie: 1/3 to get offset “Y”
Now make a mark on the top of the leg Y distance towards the outside corner

I like to use an awl to mark these points so it is easier to register the lathe centers this way.

I hope this is clear, but shoot me a line at shannon@rogersfinewoodworking.com if you need more clarification. Good luck and be sure to post your results.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at www.renaissancewoodworker.com

86 posts in 2948 days

#3 posted 05-01-2010 06:10 AM

Thanks for the reference post. It took me till about an hour ago to get around to the carbriole leg because I found some candle stands I was going to turn a post for for my girlfriend. The leg went well, though I wasn’t sure how high up to place the foot? Thus I randomly chose a spot, turned out pretty good, though I tore out a bit at the square top, and forgot to put wax on the foot’s top. Overall fun project, thanks for the video showing how to do it.

 From First Shop

-- Will in Boulder, CO

5621 posts in 3708 days

#4 posted 05-29-2010 01:43 PM

Great information, thank you.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

117090 posts in 3573 days

#5 posted 05-29-2010 06:46 PM

Hi Shannon
Nice video. I’m a little confused my understanding of whats called a cabriole leg involved two curves one bowing out and one bowing in an “S” shape. Another question is the use of the word pommel I’m only familiar with that term as used in chairs. I can’t help but wonder if a 1/32 off set is necessary at all given the overall distance off the taper. I’m not a master turner or even a frequent turner but having just done 4 cabriole legs for my Lowboy blog I have some recent experience. Please understand I feel you video is well done and probably much better than I would do . Keep up the good work.

-- https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos wood crafting & woodworking classes

540 posts in 3784 days

#6 posted 05-30-2010 07:15 PM

Jim, you are right in your vision of a traditional cabriole leg. The leg style I detail here is a more common or “low” form of the leg. You often see this in middle class furniture or utilitarian styles like tavern tables and it is also common in the southern, rural styles of Queen Anne which is what I am going for with this table. Pommel is one of those words that has many meanings, but I refer to the transition point on the leg between square and turned. It is the part that I establish with my skew chisel.

Finally, the offset you speak about is actually 5/32 not 1/32 so it does indeed make a difference. Without the offset on the top your two center lines do not meet at the pommel and you will get an uneven taper. Thanks for the comment and let me know if you have any more questions.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at www.renaissancewoodworker.com

5621 posts in 3708 days

#7 posted 06-08-2010 08:45 PM

Isn’t a pommel also the handle of a sword? Great video, now if I can just convince Jenn we need a lather LOL!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

334 posts in 3497 days

#8 posted 11-21-2011 07:49 PM

Nicely done easel, thanks for the presentation of legs

-- Lathe and my imagination will do everything to realize my dreams...Vanzemaljac

226 posts in 2364 days

#9 posted 01-27-2012 12:36 AM

Shannon, Great video of the off center turned cabriole leg. I use Norm Vandall’s method. Very similar to yours. I do my mortising after I turn. Why do you do yours before?

-- Ken --------- never try and put 5 lbs. of tenon in a 3 lb. mortise.

540 posts in 3784 days

#10 posted 01-27-2012 01:29 AM

No particular reason other than I got in the habit with irregularly shaped legs a while ago. Obviously with the square post above the pommel it isn’t necessary here as you can still chop a mortise easily. Just a habit from my machine woodworking days honestly. I reference Norm Vandal’s book constantly. That is a gem of information on Queen Anne furniture.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at www.renaissancewoodworker.com

226 posts in 2364 days

#11 posted 01-27-2012 04:57 PM

Have you ever tried a round nose at the foot? I’ve had a lot of success with it. Also thanks for the tip on steadying with the hand.

-- Ken --------- never try and put 5 lbs. of tenon in a 3 lb. mortise.

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