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A Cabriole Leg Cat Bed !?!?


I'm calling this a cat bed, but it is functionally identical to a foot stool. Perhaps that might make this a bit more interesting to more people...

I've had this set of Cabriole legs for ten years or more. I didn't make them! They were given to me by my wife's cousin because he was getting out of woodworking.

Here's the thing, though: They're not really my style. I tend to prefer Shaker or Mission type furniture. I can admire the work and skill that went into these, but I'm not currently that interested in trying to build anything like it.

And so, these have sat around in a cupboard in my shop for 10 or so years. Every now and then I would come across them, and think that I should build something with them, but I just never could work up the enthusiasm.

Until now.

We have a cat that likes to look out the window. He has a sort of cat bed on top of some cardboard boxes. My wife asked if we could come up with something better, and I remembered these Cabriole legs. I don't want to go through a huge amount of work for "just" a cat bed, so this seemed like an ideal way to have fun in the shop and make a quick project. It also appealed to my sense of humour to make such a ridiculously fancy and pretentious piece of furniture as a cat bed with cabriole legs.

Here (left) is the final design that I settled on. Just FYI I also present (below) the first two designs that I worked through before settling on this one. I decided to make the whole thing out of cherry, but I would keep the construction fairly basic: Glue + screws + plugs and a plywood bottom.

I wanted to keep this cheap, so I was just going to build this materies that I already had on hand in my shop. I had a scrap piece of 3/4" plywood that was not quite large enough. So I used my dowel jig to drill dowel holes and connect this to another piece of plywood to make it large enough for my needs. I am looking for something that is about 20" long by 15" wide.
The top section of the cabriole legs is 4-1/2" long, so I ripped some cherry down to match that width. I want to have the cherry sides wrap around the top section of the legs.

I used the dado blade in my tablesaw to rip a 3/4" wide rabbet along the bottom edge of the cherry sides to receive the plywood bottom.

I'm using a sacrificial fence with the dado blade. The blade is partially embedded in the fence. In this photo I am making a test rip to make sure it is the right thickness for the plywood.

Here is a view of the dry fit. Take note of the notches in the corners. I used the dado blade to also make those. This was purely an aesthetic decision; I wanted to have the legs partially embedded in the sides of the box, as I thought it would look nicer.
I cut the corners off of the bottom, to accommodate the legs, added glue to the box and then fit in the plywood bottom. I first tacked it in place with some 23 guage pins and the followed up with drilling holes and inserting some screws from the bottom.

Here's where I made a small design change from the original sketchup plan. In the computer everything fits perfectly, but in reality the tops of the legs were actually a bit rough and imperfect. It looked a bit ugly, in all honesty.

What I decided to do was make up some L-shaped pieces in maple and install then inside the corners, to wrap around and hide the rough tops of the legs. I then would also add a maple cap on the top of the corners to cover it up.

In the next photo the corners are being glued in place and then I used a palm router to round over the tops of the caps that were added.

The legs were then simply screwed into place. However, I wanted simple construction, not ugly construction! Therefore I plugged the holes with cherry plugs.

I made the plugs using a plug cutter and then cut them out of some figured cherry. I was wondering how the figured cherry would look, but in truth the plugs were too small to really make much of a statement.

I used a simple finish of wipe-on poly. The results were quite startling. On the top we have a simple cherry box, built with wood that I purchases about a month prior. On the bottom we have cherry feet that are ten year old. The feet were shaped but had never had finish applied. They even spent most of those ten years in a basement cupboard. But they are still incredily rich and dark as compared to the "new" cherry. It will be interested to revisit this photo in a few years to compare the colours at that time.

Some of the Tools/Supplies Used In This Project: (Affiliate Links)

Veritas/Lee Valley Tapered Plug cutters (I used these)
More plug cutters on amazon
Minwax Wipe-on Poly
Dowelmax Company
NOTE: at the time of publishing (May 2023) Dowelmax is not currently available on amazon. It has been in the past, so I am keeping the following links, but right now only the link above to "" is known to work.
Dowelmax Dowel Joinery Kit
Dowelmax Drill Guides for 1/4" Dowels
Dowelmax Dowels

SensGard ZEM hearing protection
Stanley Leverlocks -- love these tape measures
Other auto-locking tape measures
Hitachi 10.8V Tools
Ridgid compact 12V drill

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases you make using my affiliate links.


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See Also:

TV Gear Cabinet

Harvest Table (Part 1)

Writing Desk in a Weekend

Mission Nightstand with a twist