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Wood Corbels

Wood Corbels

Decorative wood corbels have long been a staple in the 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.



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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