De-mystifying (and making) Cabriole legs

Many aspiring furniture builders look at cabriole legs as Indiana Jones would the Holy Grail.  Something to dreamed about but certainly out of the reach of most mere mortals.  Their appearance is intriguing.  Are they turned?  Are they sawn?  Shaved?  How is that delicate shape arrived at?  And how can they support the weight of period pieces that can weigh hundreds of pounds?

Well, enter my friend, Les Elsie; Period Furniture Builder, par excellence.

Here’s Les with one of the many highboys he’s made over the years.  Note the cabriole legs.  Les understands the design and manufacture of this element better than most.  So, over the next couple of posts, we’re going to pick Les’ brain.  We’ll talk about design, esthetics and several ways of making these beautiful legs.   Hopefully, you’ll agree with us that making period pieces is within your ability.  It just takes patience and persistence.  (BTW, Les has been retired from his “day job” for a number of years.  But some of the readers may recognize him as Doctor Elsie, professor at the University of Toledo).  But let’s finish up the day by looking at some more of Les’ work.

Silver chest - a Highboy in miniature

Framed top Lowboy - note the Spanish footed Dutch colonial chair

We’ll be concentrating on making turned foot cabriole legs that will be used in in the building of a lovely little Queen Anne end (or tea) table.  It should prove to be a very nice project to put together.

Just a top and a little finishing and we're on our way

We start cuttin’ tomorrow…

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2 Comments on “De-mystifying (and making) Cabriole legs”

  1. ddos vps Says:

    We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done a formidable job and our entire community will be grateful to you.|

  2. larry Says:

    les , is ,was and will be my hero , for more reasons than being a wood wizard . thank you les for many lessons !


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