In this build, I show how to make a set of quick and beautiful cabriole legs. Using some easy-to-follow steps and minimal tools, making these cabriole legs can really take your next piece of furniture to the next level. The look of a nice curve like this in any piece of furniture adds a ton of elegance to any project and shows a ton of craftsmanship.
To make cabriole legs, all you really need is a cabriole legs template and bandsaw. For a better breakdown of the process, check out my quick guide down below and my step-by-step video. Let me know what you think!
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In its most basic sense, all you need for this project is a blank. I used 28.5″ x 3″ x 3″ reclaimed pine for my application. This is dining table height, but the technique can also be used for a coffee table or end table.
When gluing up your blank, it’s important to remember your seam orientation. My wood is reclaimed, which really adds to the aesthetic of the piece. However, be aware that is not always the case. Select stock that is straight-grained with no voids or knots. Square your blank using conventional means with a jointer and planer, or you can buy your blank already cut to the necessary dimensions.
Create a cabriole legs template, or use a pre-made template you print out online. I used 1/4″ scrap plywood. You could use a door skin, thick veneer, MDF, or even cardboard for this template as long as it has some type of thickness to it.
If you’re looking for a great cabriole legs template, here are a few I found online and articles I found helpful in my own process:
Trace your template onto your blank. Make sure you’re keeping your orientation in the correct corner. You want the vertical square at the top of the blank to meet in one corner.
Next, cut your joinery. If you’re using mortise and tenon joinery, cut the joinery before the blank is shaped. It will be much easier to do this now compared to when the leg is shaped.
Being sure to mark the scrap areas on your leg, cut close to the line on the bandsaw. Take as large of chunks as possible in order to make it easier to re-adhere your leg back to the original blank shape.
Using those “chunks,” put the blank back together using painters tape, and re-draw your lines where they were covered by the tape. Then go ahead and repeat step 4. Like a magic trick, remove all of the tape and the leg takes its shape!
After the general shape is cut on the bandsaw, the leg appears from the blank. Here you can shape it to the final desired shape using a multitude of tools. I chose to use an orbital belt sander and various hand sanders. If you want to add a finish, apply light coats and sand in between each coat for the perfect finish.
I hope you enjoyed this build. Share your cabriole legs on Instagram with @John_Malecki, I would love to see your version!
If you liked this video, check out some more of my woodworking projects here.
Want to try this build out for yourself? Download the digital plan now for step-by-step instructions, measurements, and a detailed look at how to punch this project in the face.