Builder's Studio: Corbel Entryway Shelf

Learn how to create your own entryway shelf using corbels! This shelf can be utilized in any space, but when paired with a solid walnut top, it makes for the perfect entryway furnishing! Osborne has a huge variety of corbels to choose from in several different wood species so there are endless possibilities for shelving displays.

Products featured in this build:

See free assembly instructions for this project below the video!

Assembly Instructions

Materials Used:

Tools Used:

  • Reverse joint bit for router
  • Benchtop planer
  • Wood glue
  • Straight edge and clamps
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Circular saw
  • 3/8" plug cutting bit
  • Orbital sander
  • Wood stain

Our finished shelf had a 36" x 12" top.


  1. We used two pieces of black walnut dimensional lumber from Osborne to create our shelf. To join them together, we used our router table with a reverse joint bit. Since this router needs the material to be a certain thickness and the lumber was too thick, we first needed to use a benchtop planer to mill the lumber from 1 1/2" thick down to 1" thick.
    1. Please note: when using the planer, we only milled 1/32" at a time. Since we are using hardwood, this avoided any tear out or stress on the saw.
  2. Next, we needed to create the reverse joints on each board with our router table. Set up the router bit with the router table turned off and unplugged. We have a more in-depth video on this process here.
    1. When setting up the bit, we measured halfway on our board (which was 1/2") and lined up the tip of the carbide cutter to that halfway point. We adjusted our fence to be even with the back of the bit so an even cut could be made across the entire board.
    2. Run the first panel through the router, making sure to label or note which side is the top and which is the bottom. Do the same with the second panel.
  3. Once both panels have reverse joints, you can attach them with wood glue. Add glue to the joints first and then connect the boards. Attach multiple clamps on the wood (at least one on each end) to ensure a tight fit as the glue dries.
  4. Once the glue is dry, you can cut your top to the correct size, if necessary. Our top was already 36" long but still needed to be cut to 12" deep. To do this, we marked where we needed to trim and clamped the shelf to our bench top with a straight edge on top of the board. Make sure the straight edge is aligned with your markings, then use a circular saw to trim the boards.
  5. Since this is a larger shelf, we predrilled the holes where the corbels will be attached. First, we measured out where we would like the corbels to be placed on the bottom of the shelf. We wanted a 3" overhang and to have the corbels flush against the wall. These markings are made on the bottom of the board.
  6. Using your markings, determine where your screws will attach the shelf and corbels. Predrill the holes for the screws. Then, on the top of the shelf use a different bit size to drill holes for the wood plugs. Make sure you do not go all the way through the wood! These holes are only there to make it easier to insert plugs in the top of the shelf. We had a 3/8" plug cutting bit so we made 3/8" countersunk holes.
  7. Lay the shelf and corbels down with the backs flat against the table. Before screwing the pieces together, we used our drill to create additional predrilled holes in the tops of the corbels. By predrilling once more, you can avoid any cracking of the corbel when the screws were installed.
  8. Install your screws so that the shelf and corbels are assembled.
  9. Using offcuts of the lumber from earlier, we used a 3/8" plug cutting bit to create several plugs. Try to match the grain of the location of each screw hole. Use a band saw to cut the plugs out of the lumber pieces.
  10. Determine which plugs you would like to use in each hole and add glue to the bottom and sides. Insert them into the holes.
  11. Sand the top of the shelf using an orbital sander. This helps make the plugs flush with the rest of the shelf and provides a smooth surface for the top of your project.
  12. Now, you are ready to add wood finish (or paint if using a paintgrade wood) and attach your shelf to the wall! Attaching to the wall is much simpler thanks to the metal keyhole brackets on the back of our corbels. For more tips on installing corbels, visit our how-to guide!

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