27 Tuesday Mar 2012
Confused about some our furniture lingo? Not quite sure what a veneer is? Well, we want to help you out. Each month we’ll talk about a common word or term used in our industry, define it and give you a little back-story…
1. A curved, tapering leg curving outward at the top and inward farther down so as to end in a round pad, the semblance of an animal’s paw, or some other feature: used especially in the first half of the 18th century.
Now that you know the formal definition of cabriole, here’s an easier way to remember it: think of the lion paws on the bottom of one those huge, luxurious bathtub you wished you owned, or maybe do own! The “feet” project out and then come back in, much like an actual lion’s paw.
It is the same on furniture. Usually a cabriole leg is one of four vertical supports shaped in two curves – convex (upper arc) and concave (lower arc). The upper curve bows outward and the lower curve bows inward. This design was originally used by the ancient Chinese and Greeks, but was later adopted in Europe in the early 18th century. Cabriole became a popular style in France, England and Holland. The design appeared in the U.S. in the later 18th century, emulating the legs of certain four-footed mammals. The word itself derives from the French word cabrioler, meaning “to leap like a goat.”
Today, the cabriole leg must be fashioned out of a solid piece of wood, rather than laminate. A bandsaw is required to create the complex arc formation and the bottom of the leg can be in a bun, ball or a “ball and claw” style. The brackets are constructed from a separate piece of wood and affixed by either dowels or screws.