Cabriole legs

Perhaps no single feature in furniture has been so widely used as the cabriole leg {cabrioler = 'to bound or leap like a goat'). Present-day application is in reproduction furniture only, but the methods of working are applicable to other shapes.

Figure 197 shows the sequence of operations. The basic shape in profile is drawn on squared paper and a template prepared from hardboard or thick cardboard. The wings of brackets (C) are not cut out of the solid leg but are applied after. If the leg has a club, bun or ball foot, much of this can be turned in the lathe (197:2),

Cabriole Leg Template Cabriole Leg Template

the outlines then marked out on the block, the cuts (A-A) on the face made first with band- or bow-saw, the waste pieces which show the side shapes clamped or pinned back in position and the cuts (B-B) made. The leg is then shaped with Spokeshave, rasp and scraper, doing as much work to the lower portions as possible before the wings are added, unless a chair-maker's vice is available. In cheap work these wings are merely glued and screwed, but it is advisable to stagger dowel them (197:3c), and although the bottom dowel contributes little to the strength of the joint it prevents any tendency for the wing to twist. Figure 197:4 shows a leg with carved knee, and due allowance must be made for the extra thickness required when cutting out the shape. Between the World Wars cabriole legs

Cabriole Leg Template Cabriole Legs

197 Marking out cabriole leg were quantity produced on profile lathes, but all individuality was lost and the hand-carved leg is infinitely superior. If the leg terminates in a ball and claw the rendering should not be too realistic as in many Edwardian examples, for the shape of the claws is not intrinsically beautiful.

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Responses

  • meeri
    What are the wings added to a cabriole leg?
    7 years ago

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