Professionals and Amateurs Together

Cabriole Legs


Can anyone explain or demonstrate how to cut cabriole legs with a bandsaw? Ned Gelinas


Al Breed replies: I cut them as follows. Lay the leg pattern on one face and trace it. Slide it out over the edge of the leg and flip it down onto the other side and trace it again. Some lay the pattern out in bookmatch symmetrical fashion. The order in which you cut the pattern is not really important, but when you cut, leave a small bridge of wood in the long grain portion of your cut so that the piece will not detach. You’ll have to come in from either end in some instances, while on some cuts, like the inside of the leg that heads down towards the ankle, you can leave the connecting bridge at the very end of the cut.

Some people cut the pieces off and tape them back on, but this is slow. The last few cuts can be complete cuts, with no bridge- you’ll work out your own particular order.

The basic thought behind this method is that you are maintaining a square block to make your cuts in, with no unsupported unsafe cutting.

On a pad foot leg, I turn the pad before cutting, although you can do it afterward if you’ve left enough wood at the top of the leg for the center. For ball and claw feet, I leave the cube at the floor intact with no indent or scoop at the rear of the ankle. Whenever I cut that portion on the saw I seem to regret it later. I’d rather lay that out with the carving tools.

Ted Blachly replies: We did an early video of David Lamb laying out and making a cabriole leg. It should be in the guild archives.

Tags: Furniture