Definition of a Wood Corbel:
An architectural member that projects from within a wall and supports a weight.
Wood Corbels have long been used in architecture as a structural piece jutting from a wall to carry a resting weight. A console piece applied to a structure. Large weight bearing corbels carrying balconies in Italy and France were great in size and richly carved. These are classic pieces of corbel history.
Design of Wood Corbels
As mentioned in the definition, traditionally a corbels design was projecting from within the wall to provide support. However, times have changed and so has the corbel. Today, wood corbels are fastened on as a simple decorative element with no weight bearing capacity considerations.
Today’s wood corbels can be very plain or ornately carved just as long ago, but are almost exclusively used as a decorative element. The majority of wood corbels available on the market have a keyhole mount on the back, non-visible, side of the corbel. The keyhole mounting format provides very limited weight bearing capacity and is most often only sufficient for carrying the weight of the corbel itself. This keyhole also makes for a difficult mounting process and can result with the wood corbel not lining up properly under the desired element.
Weight Bearing Wood Corbels
When weight bearing wood corbels are required there are several options for the installer. In some instances a block of wood may be used and tied into the substructure, then a thinner carved overlay is placed on the wood for a faux wood corbel.
Another possible option is to use a steel support bracket installed to support the weight. In this application, the wood corbel requires a routed cavity to cover the steel support bracket providing the beautiful wood decorative element desired.
In all cases, it is necessary to be sure the portion of the corbel that is carrying the load is installed into stud framework that runs into the floor to disperse the weight and let the sleek or decorative aspect of the wood corbel be the facade to disguise the support.
Consider Using Corbel Converters or Corbel Mounting Systems
Federal Brace has designed a revolutionary mounting system for wood corbels for both types of applications; weight bearing and decorative. You can view both styles at the following links: