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ElgaKoster

Making Queen Anne cabriole legs with a footpad

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ElgaKoster

I remember when I just started out making furniture that making perfect matching cabriole legs looked like a daunting task. In the beginning of 2011 I joined a local club "Academy of South African Miniaturists" that focus mainly on teaching furniture making with joinery at their monthly workshop. And guess what...the first project for the year was making a table with cabriole legs, I have heard and read some articles on the technique of pin routing with a drill press but couldn't quite get my head around it, so when I heard we were going to make the legs with that technique I was quite looking forward to the class.

Here is the table I made in that first class, this was the third piece of furniture I made since I started working with hard woods and joinery a few months earlier. I have always loved antique furniture but knew next to nothing about woodworking and joinery techniques.

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And then, as crazy as it sounds now, I decided to make two Queen Anne chairs, every technique I used in making the chairs was basically new to me, I slaved and almost cried at times for months while making the chairs, un-glued them at one stage because they were skew, making them was one of the biggest learning curves in my life and in the end I was pretty pleased with how they turned out.

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I have started to make a Queen Anne table and will show you over a few posts in the coming days how I make the legs, as a teaser, you can see the antique table I am copying here.

http://www.solomonbly.com/index.pl?isa=Metadot::SystemApp::AntiqueSearch;op=detail;id=96648;image_id=210811;

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miraclechicken

It's gorgeous and I know your copy will be perfection, like the above photo. How cool to have that class, your table is beautiful---

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ElgaKoster

The first thing I make on my Queen Anne legs is the underside of the foot and the footpad, I prefer to do this on the lathe with my duplicator. In fullsize legs woodworkers normally offset the footpad side of the blank in the lathe, I just make my blank a bit bigger and turn it in the center of the blank.

Here you can see the setup in the lathe with the brass template in the duplicator.

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My husband made this stop for the lathe headstock so that each blank will fit into the chuck to the same depth, this means each blank will have the turned footpad in exactly the same place.

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Next I cut my blank a bit shorter on the foot side and made a jig to fit the blank, if you look at the side of the jig where the inside curve of the leg is cut you will notice there is going to be a lot of waste wood on the outside curve side of the blank, this was done deliberately to keep the footpad in the right position.

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miraclechicken

Very interesting---

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Wm. R. Robertson

Neat stop.... For those using a Taig they make one similar, however it looks so odd I have almost never seen anybody use it.

Can't wait to see more....

Thanks

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ElgaKoster

Continuing on with making the cabriole legs, after I made the jig I cut out the two inside curves first. For those that are new to pin routing, basically you have a pin in your table the same diameter as your cutter, in this case 3mm and the two needs to line up perfectly, the base of your jig will start hitting the pin as you remove the waste wood and prevent you from cutting too deep into your wood. In this first photo I have finished the first two cuts on adjacent sides.

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The next photo shows the leg after cutting the two outside curves in the jig.

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Now you need to do a lot hand shaping on all those sharp edges to get the right look, I use files and sandpaper wrapped around dowels to do this and start by making a chamfer on al four the edges.

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And almost done, before I cut off the extra length on both sides I will first mill the mortises for the table aprons, the fact that the wood is still square at both ends makes it easy to position correctly for milling the mortises. I haven't done any shaping on the top part of the leg yet, will do that after I have glued in the aprons and attached the knee blocks.

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I hope this will encourage newcomers to woodworking to try making a cabriole leg. And I know there are others that do it differently so it will be interesting to hear how you approach making cabriole legs.

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SueV

You were so lucky to have a club that actually cared about making fine things like this!!

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ElgaKoster

Sue, one of the members of our club went to Castine for five years from 2006 to 2010 and he was the driving force behind getting the club to make better miniatures, he came back so inspired from Guild School, I only joined the club in 2011 and reaped the benefits.

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ElgaKoster

The next step in making the legs was to mill all the mortises for the aprons, because the aprons are fairly thin I cut the tenon only on the face side of the apron, because I didn't want the mortise so close to the front of the legs. After I milled out the mortises I cut off the extra wood at the top and bottom of the legs. I also cut the opening in the front apron for the drawer, if you look carefully you will see two tiny mortises towards the bottom and sides of the back apron, that is for the drawer runners. Another thing I cut was the tiny knee blocks, I have started to shape the first one and made a few extra as I suspect some of them might fly away to be never found again

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