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

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by AlaskaGuy posted 02-12-2012 06:55 PM 12567 reads 13 times favorited 14 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!

14 comments so far

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3642 days

#1 posted 02-12-2012 08:12 PM

A well laid out blog. Thanks for sharing.

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

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3416 days

#2 posted 02-12-2012 11:30 PM

Thanks for the blog.

The many pictures makes it easy to understand.


-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3816 days

#3 posted 02-12-2012 11:41 PM

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


21010 posts in 3286 days

#4 posted 02-13-2012 12:14 AM

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

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Rob_n_Wood's profile


109 posts in 3831 days

#5 posted 02-13-2012 03:12 AM

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


14940 posts in 3172 days

#6 posted 02-13-2012 03:14 AM

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


117713 posts in 4059 days

#7 posted 02-13-2012 03:34 AM

great blog and photo layout.

View bhog's profile


2238 posts in 3172 days

#8 posted 02-14-2012 12:06 AM

Good stuff,will definately come in handy.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View Mark Miller's profile

Mark Miller

58 posts in 3646 days

#9 posted 04-28-2012 01:14 AM

Great Blog and info. Thanks Mark


View thedude50's profile


3610 posts in 2960 days

#10 posted 04-28-2012 01:33 AM

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

-- Please check out my new stores and

View albachippie's profile


773 posts in 3517 days

#11 posted 01-19-2013 09:33 AM

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

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3348 days

#12 posted 01-19-2013 03:03 PM

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

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4262 posts in 3043 days

#13 posted 07-14-2015 03:35 PM

Bump to bring this up again

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Druid's profile


2141 posts in 3277 days

#14 posted 07-28-2017 06:35 PM

Nicely done, clear tutorial. Thanks for sharing your skills. Sorry I didn’t see this sooner.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

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