Wood Corbels

Wood Corbels

Decorative wood corbels have long been a staple in home design. Federal Brace innovated the beloved wood corbel with our mounting system that adds a weight-bearing function. Expanding on the weight-bearing design, we developed wood corbels with a rib mount system, which gives each corbel a carrying capacity of up to 375 pounds when installed in a stud or blocking. Read more...

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Wood Corbel Product Info

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Corbels are known as architectural members that support 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.

Corbels are a staple throughout architectural history, dating back to ancient Babylonian times. Large, weight-bearing corbels were commonplace under balconies in Italy and France were great in size and richly carved.

decorative wood corbels

Wherever 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 possibility 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, which provides the desired decorative element.

Wood corbels supporting a countertopIn all cases, it is necessary to be sure the portion of the corbel that is carrying the load is installed into a 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.

Federal Brace provides two mounting systems: our original corbel mount system, which is light duty and can be retrofitted or installed after final millwork completion, and the corbel rib system, which gives a weight-bearing capacity to a light-duty wood corbel. Whether you select one of our pre-routed corbels or select a mounting system to use on your corbel purchased elsewhere, you'll enjoy the traditional wood corbel look with the strength of metal.

Maple wood corbelTraditionally, a corbel’s 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.

We have several different rustic wood corbel designs available for you to choose from. Whether you’re looking for corbels to accent your mantle, countertop, or other applications, we have a decorative wood corbel to meet your needs.

rustic wood corbelToday’s wood corbels can be simple in design or ornately carved but are almost exclusively used as a decorative element (without significant weight-bearing ability). 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 in the wood corbel not lining up properly under the desired element.

Federal Brace has wood corbel systems available in many designs that are routed and pre-fit with our corbel mounting systems. This makes mounting your wood corbel easier and eliminates the risk of splitting the corbel or matching stain to cover the mounting hole. These mounts also allow you to install your decorative wood corbel at the end of the project, which can protect them from potential damage during construction.

Corbel Rib Support - 375 Pound Carry Capacity

Similar to the rib cage, which helps to hold the body’s organs in place, Federal Brace’s corbel fib support functions on the same principle. The corbel rib support maintains stability to prevent a flimsy, loose corbel installation. Wood corbels have long been attached using a screw installed through the corbel or inserted in a keyhole mount in the back. Both of these options have considerable flaws:

Screw Inserted through corbel
Keyhole mount
Risk of busted or split corbel
No weight-bearing capacity
You must fill the hole and match stain
Leaves a loose corbel
All of the weight is on the screw
Difficult to properly align

The corbel rib increases the support of a standard wood corbel by over 200 pounds, allowing it to be more than a mere decorative element. Each wood corbel installed with the corbel rib has a carrying capacity of up to 375 pounds when installed in a stud or blocking tied into the structure. Previously wood corbels could only be used for a fancy shelf, decorative mantelpiece, or under counter decor with little support, now using rib supports, they are significantly more functional, stronger, and more durable - even in high traffic areas.

Determine if you are hanging or hard mounting. This will determine the next steps.

  1. Hanging will need to be completed pre-countertop, using keyhole mounts with no weight capacity.
  2. Hard mounting can be completed after the countertop is installed using various methods. Attaching from the back or using a fastener through a pre-drilled hole from the front, filling the hole with putty and finishing.
  3. The connection between the corbel and the wall. While fasteners are provided with the Federal Brace corbel rib if you are using your own corbel and hard mounting you will need to make sure the fasteners are long enough to get a good “bite” through all the material and into the corbel. Check the material thickness of the wall and blocking for appropriate length.
  4. Wall material should be more than sheetrock or ¼” cabinet plywood. Locate the stud in the wall for a shelf or install blocking inside your base cabinet from top to bottom to provide a strong support structure.
  5. For weight support, the size of the wood corbel is important. Be sure your corbel is within 4” of the end of the shelf or countertop.
  6. Apply your finish to your corbels prior to installing. This will prevent staining or painting on the area adjacent to the corbels. Touch-ups can be made once installed if needed.

Important to Note:
When weight capacity is important, using a corbel rib support with your wood corbel is the best option. The metal corbel rib will carry the load, while the wood corbel provides the decor, giving you the traditional look of wood with the strength of metal.

Scalloped Mission CorbelHave you ever wanted a classic support look in your home but never really knew how to accomplish it without spending a fortune? Wood Corbels just might be your solution. A corbel is a structural piece of stone, wood, or metal protruding from a wall to carry the weight of an overhang; in short, a corbel is a bracket. Wooden corbels can be used on overhangs, in the corners of a room with crown moulding, under range hoods or shelvings, and under your kitchen island top, among other areas. They can also be painted or stained to match the decor within your home, giving the look a more modern touch.

Which wood species is best for different applications in everyday life and which is best for different functions? There are 3 different types of wood: hardwoods, tropical hardwoods, and softwoods. Trees such as oak, cherry, and hard maple are hardwood trees. They produce a fruit or a nut and typically go dormant in the winter, shedding their leaves. Any species of hardwoods can be crafted into durable, long-lasting furniture, cabinetry, flooring, and millwork. Softwoods, such as cedar, pine, and fir, do not have a high density, which makes them softer or more pliant than a hardwood. They are primarily used for structural lumber such as 2x4s and 2x6s, though they can also be used for flooring, panelling, and in other home decor elements. Tropical hardwoods such as mahogany and teak are not indigenous to North America and are generally more expensive due to their exotic locales and transport costs. While tropical hardwoods can be used for applications such as flooring, they often differ from American hardwoods in color, grain pattern, hardness, and luster.

When determining which wood species is best for your home remodeling or commercial job, analyzing the qualities of different types of species will help you decide what works best for your project. Referring to the below guide may be a good bet to achieve the finish and look you most desire:

Different Woods 

OakOak - Oak wood is very strong and durable. It is naturally an attractive lighter color, but has large pores which allows it to take stain very well. Oak wood has straight, prominent grain and is commonly used for making long-lasting furniture that is often passed down for generations.

PinePine - Pine is a softwood that is often white or a pale yellow in color. It’s straight grain will take stain well, as long as the wood is first sealed. It is very easy to work with especially when carving, and resists shrinking or swelling, so it’s great for locations where temperature fluctuates.

MahoganyMahogany - Mahogany has long been a favorite for crafting furniture and cabinets, given the large girth of its trees. It is durable and strong, and is a reddish-brown color than shines well when polished. Some homeowners opt to stain their mahogany, but most prefer leaving it natural, as the wood tends to naturally darken over time, leaving a gorgeous patina.

CherryCherry - Cherry heartwood varies from a bright, poppy red to a darker red-brown in color, and, similar to mahogany, darkens with age. However, the sapwood of the tree is a creamy white. Both parts of the tree have a very uniform grain with a smooth texture, and can contain natural variations. Cherry is commonly used in furniture making and, like mahogany, finishes to a natural, beautiful sheen through polishing.

FirFir - Douglas fir is used mostly in 2x4s or other construction materials, however its stiffness also makes it an excellent candidate for flooring. It varies in colors from light yellow to reddish brown, and is largely left unstained with a simple varnish to enhance natural beauty.

BirchBirch - Birch is often mistaken for maple due to how hard it is, and is generally used as structural support only when a unique amount of force will be placed on the structure. It is hard to cut, and even harder to finish, so it is kept for special applications, such as butchers blocks and specialty furniture. However, birch plywood is largely used throughout the cabinetry industry, even to create complete sets of cabinets, removing the need for a lumber face-frame.

Poplar and MaplePoplar and Maple - Poplar and maple are both smooth feeling and won't warp or shrink. Neither one of these woods stain well, and it is more likely that one would find them merely finished or painted. Poplar is commonly used in upholstered furniture framing and in plywood, but it’s softness keeps it from being used elsewhere in the home. Maple, on the other hand, is used throughout homes in flooring, various kitchen utilities, and even recreational things such as bowling pins and musical instruments. The sapwood has a fine, even texture, often with an off-white color, sometimes with a gold or red hue.

Regardless of your installation or design needs, rest assured, there is a wood species that fits it perfectly! With a variety of densities, grains, hues, and textures, wood is a great resource for any home or design theme, and incorporating it in corbels, flooring, or cabinetry is as easy as doing a bit of research or asking your designer. Contact the design specialists at Federal Brace with questions on our line of Wood Corbels by emailing - customerservice@federalbrace.com or calling toll-free at 1(877)353-8899.

Customer Reviews

We built a new mantle for our fireplace and this finished it off perfectly! I've used other corbel products from different companies. They are all junk compared to THIS high quality corbel.

- Jim B.

This was delivered well packaged and protected. The dimensions were accurate. I would order these again if I see the opportunity to use them again

- Trey H.

I love these! I bought them for some shelves someone asked me to make for them. She had a specific way she wanted them painted and they were easy to work with and a good deal.

- Rick G.

Customer Reviews


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