I was reading in volume II of Lost Art Press' "The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years" about cabriole legs. This is something that I've thought about trying for a long time. So try I did. This is not for any larger project or anything - just strictly to see if it's possible with my current skills and tools.
I prepared a piece of poplar 2" square and just over 16" long. Made a template from cardboard by laying out a grid and roughing in a shape.
|Leg blank and template|
|Copying the shape on the blank|
|Marking the shape and waste areas|
For the straight section at the top of the leg, I used a marking gauge to define the lines and sawed to the lines with a 10" rip backsaw. Then, lacking the bandsaw, I used the fret saw to saw the shaped areas.
|Curved parts cut away|
Cutting the waste out from one face removes most of the template lines from the adjacent face, so You have to replace them. But there's a catch. When the template is placed in curved areas, it does not give the same lines as it did when the face was flat.
|Template placed on curved face|
|When you press the template in here, ...|
|... it shortens up the template so it doesn't sit in the right place at top|
|Readjusting the template to get the proper lines at top|
Anyway, cutting out the second face is helped by keeping the off-cuts from the first face. They can be used as aids in clamping in the vise.
|Ready to saw second face to shape, using|
off-cuts to help secure the piece in the vise
I decided to make the pad on the bottom of the foot next. When I laid out the shapes on the leg blank, a circle was laid out on the bottom of the leg blank. The extents of the circle were marked in the directions parallel to the faces and then the 1/8" depth was sawed. This was followed by chisel work to round out the pad.
|Round pad - you can still see the sawed lines at extents of circle|
|Shaping the foot|
The spokeshave was used to smooth some rough saw marks and start the rounding.
|Spokeshave used to round over corners|
|Scraping away some minor facets|
|Using the chair devil to smooth the underside of the foot.|
|A closer view - this tool really helped here|
Finally, here is the leg after some sanding.
|The finished leg|
|Standing, viewed from left|
|Viewed from right|
Here's the bottom, showing fairly round foot and pad.
|Foot and pad viewed from bottom|
|Foot viewed from above|
|Front view of foot|
I didn't try to make the "ears" that blend the leg in with rails of the piece they are part of. That would be another challenge. This was a great skill builder exercise. For anyone out there thinking they can't do a cabriole leg (with or without a bandsaw), I say "yes you can!"