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How to make curved desk legs?

Anybody know how to make curved desk legs like you see on some fancy desks.    


I want to design my own but I would like to use legs like this and I don't know what I would need to do. Tools needed, best wood, methods etc...
Thanks in advance.

Picture of How to make curved desk legs?
orksecurity2 years ago
Agreeing with Rick, just adding a bit of detail: If you look at woodworking magazines, they will periodically have plans which include this sort of shape. It's easiest to swipe one of their designs, but the general process is:

Start with a block large enough to cut the shape out. If you can't get it out of one piece of wood, you may need to glue up several.

Trace the projected outlines of the shape onto two adjacent faces. In this case, make sure you have left a square corner of the right size at the top, to join into the table's apron.

Bandsaw, or if you're doing it without power tools some sort of bowsaw, is used to cut one of those projections (typically just outside the lines, to allow room for shaving/sanding and so errors get removed during that refining process.)

You now have three or more pieces of wood -- the leg, and the pieces cut off each side. Temporarily re-attach the pieces you removed, eg with two-sided tape.

Rotate the leg so the other projection is facing up, and cut it.

Remove the taped pieces. You now have something close to the final shape, with with sharp edges where the two cuts intersected. Shave, plane, scrape and/or sand to the final shape.

As I say, a magazine or other published plan will spell this out in more detail, with suggested shape and dimensions and photos and so on. It might be worth spending a couple of bucks to get that additional detail... or you may be able to find a set of free plans on the web which provide it.
kh319 (author)  orksecurity2 years ago
Unfortunately I do not have a bandsaw. Could there be another mesh of tools to achieve it. Like slowly work in with a router?
Theoretically, yes, you could router or sand it to death using a (very) long bit, possibly a template-guided bit.

Problems: finding a long enough bit, having enough router power to drive it (you'd probably need a shaper rather than a router), and stabilizing the workpiece while working on the second axis (if you don't have the cut-off pieces to tape back in place, cutting the shape cleanly can be really tough; there's no longer a flat surface to rest it on.)

I'd suggest, in that case, using muscle power and a bowsaw with suitable blade. Even a hacksaw could do the job, though slowly and inefficiently. Keeping the blade vertical so you get the intended shape would be up to you, of course.

Or make it someone else's problem, and buy precut legs in the desired shape.
(Or switch to a different leg design, of course.)
orksecurity2 years ago
BTW, websearching for "makie cabriole legs" finds some articles.
kh319 (author)  orksecurity2 years ago
Thanks. That helps I have been trying to figure out the actual name for them but had no luck.
rickharris2 years ago
The illustration you show was cut from a block of wood with a band saw - If it is antique then it may have been cut by hand!

The basic shape is then smoothed with spoke shaves until the final shape is realised.

Glasspaper to a finish.

Don't forget it has to have some kind of joint at the top.
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