Make Your First Cabriole Legs

Learn to create this classic furniture detail using a template, a band saw and a little lathe work.
By Glen D. Huey
Pages: 96-100

From the October 2004 issue #143
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I like the look of the Queen Anne side table shown here mostly because of the elegant shape of the cabriole legs. This table was produced in Philadelphia between 1740 and 1760, but the design of the cabriole leg has been around a lot longer.

Its actual history is a little murky – similar shapes have been found in ancient Egyptian chairs. The shape also is very prominent in traditional Chinese furniture.

The shape has two curves – the upper one is convex and the lower one is concave. It’s often given anthropomorphic qualities, evoking an elephant trunk, dragonfly legs or some four-legged animal, leading (not surprisingly) to the frequently seen ball-and-claw feet carved at the foot of cabriole legs.

From the October 2004 issue #143
Buy this issue now