Sunday 3 November 2019

Chinese domestic furniture - second attempt

After spending a couple of day making corner/chow feet, I decided to try something a bit more involved... cabriole legs for a tripod stand (plates 137 and 138 of the book).

I started by copying the leg pattern, gluing the copy on thin plywood and cutting off the templates. The legs of the tripod are cut differently on each axis, unlike regular cabriole legs. This means 2 templates.

I just happened to have two off-cuts of ash that were in just the right dimensions to make 2 legs per off-cut. If the off-cuts had been a tiny bit thicker, I would even have managed 4 legs per off-cut.

As the shape is a bit more involved than the chow feet, I really had to reattach all the cut parts before sawing the other axis.

A whole lotta rasping, filing and sanding later... one Chinese cabriole leg in ash! Pencil for scale :)

After some more rasping, filing and sanding, I decided to stain the leg mahogany and to give it a good finish (2 coats BLO, 2 coats shellac, wax and buff)


  1. It looks like a fascinating shape. Does the knob on the bottom of the foot have a purpose?

    1. It's the tenon to attach it to the lower skirt-thingie. The leg is M&T'd into two rings. The top ring is the frame for the circular panel, that frame is in 4 parts that are joined with a Hako Kakushi Tsugi (rabbeted oblique dadoes keyed scarf joint, in the round). To make it even funnier... on a full sized version there should be a sliding dovetail batten on the bottom of the panel. The batten itself needs to be M&T'd into the frame.

      The lower disc is joined using curved haunched M&T joints. Cloud-shaped feet are then M&T'd into the bottom of the lower disc.

      There's also a oblique compound curve skirt that should either be open M&T'd or sliding dovetailed into the legs.

      I do wonder how long it took to make those stands in 17th Century China.