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This week I have a different job at Popular Woodworking Magazine. For Monday and Tuesday, I hang my editor hat on the rack and put on a hat that allows me to work in the film studio. What are we doing in the studio? That’s the fun part. Chuck Bender of Acanthus Workshops was in Columbus, Ohio, for The Woodworking Shows and we coerced him into traveling 90 minutes down I-71 to shoot a couple DVDs for our Popular Woodworking “Shop Class on Demand.” In Shop Class on Demand, we are building our inventory of DVDs such as the two SketchUp classes – Getting Started and Advance Techniques.

Chuck spent Monday talking to the camera on how to create cabriole legs. Some of you might think that’s an intro-level subject, but Chuck delivers much more. Right out of the gate we get a lesson on the history of cabriole legs. There are examples of every leg type from the early squarish foot to the ball-and-claw-foot design, including the pad foot that is the subject of the DVD.

As the process begins, Chuck walks through how to create a cabriole leg by laying out the major points then drawing the curve of the knee and the curve to the ankle. He blends those two to develop his pattern. There is no copied pattern, but that is one way to develop your leg.

Chuck turns the foot prior to cutting the balance of the leg, and he explains why he does what he does. That’s a totally different method of work from others who cut the leg from the blank prior to spinning the foot to make the cup. As he works to free the leg from the blank, Chuck doesn’t use a bridge or tape the pieces back in position. He presents a method that was new to me. (I told you this wasn’t simply an introductory cabriole leg DVD.)

On Tuesday, it’s back to the studio to film Chuck’s method for carving ball-and-claw feet. During the process, he demonstrates a mistake most woodworkers make as they carve, then he shows what to look for to keep from making that mistake – and how to fix the problem if you discover it too late. Best of all, he’s not a tool hound. There isn’t a long list of tools needed to carve these feet. This second DVD is sure to be a hit with woodworkers who carve ball and claw feet. And if you’re new to cabriole legs, a two-pack of both DVDs will get you well on your way to making classic legs for your furniture projects.

We expect these two DVDs to have a quick turnaround. Our hope is to have them in the store in a month or less. I’ll keep you in the loop and let you know when they’re available.

— Glen D. Huey

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  • Shannon

    This is exciting. I have been telling anyone who will listen to me that Chuck’s teaching style and his body of knowledge is awesome. It think it’s great that you guys are making it possible for the rest of the world to get a taste of The Bender. I’m sure I’m biased because I’m a member of Chuck’s "entourage" or so he told me last time he was in Baltimore.

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