|Clamping A Clamp
Holding on to a cabriole leg as you shape it can be awkward at best. The method I like is to grip the leg with a pipe clamp. Then I can grab the clamp in the front vise on my bench. The toughest part about this setup is remembering to loosen the clamp, not the vise, when I need to reposition the leg.
When you finish cutting, peel the scraps away to reveal the leg. Hold the leg securely and begin to round over the hard edges. The real secret to making a good-looking leg is in making the transition from square at the base of the post to completely round at the ankle. Spokeshaves, scrapers and files are all fair game when it comes to refining the shape of your leg.
Different styles of cabriole legs are often distinguished by the foot at the bottom, If you have a lathe, you can turn this part of the leg (center). Some of the higher-styled legs involved elaborate carvings such as this ball-and-claw foot (left). For a simpler appearance, you can shape the feet directly with your hand tools (right).