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Oak Corbels

Oak corbels offer solutions to a broad range of design problems.  Finished with a dark stain and hand-rubbed finish, oak corbels can contribute to creating associations where classic corbels are called for with styles ranging from Tudor to Gothic Revival.  One typically thinks of using these corbels as shelf supports.  A variation on the usual shelf support idea, however, would be to consider surround the perimeter of a room with a ledge that sits about seven feet from the floor.  This is known as a plate rail and it is a feature that is strongly associated with Tudor and Queen Anne cottages.  Supported on oak corbels, these plate rails were traditionally used to show off collectable blue and white platters and plates.  An abbreviated but equally effective version of this idea is to flank door openings with brackets that support a ledge directly over the opening.  

Another traditional use for oak corbels is to dress up and support exposed ceiling beams.  This is a very attractive way to embellish beams.  This a historically appropriate use of oak corbels that began during the transition from exposed ceiling beams to plaster ceilings.  The first ceilings were merely the floors of the next story above and the beams supporting these were necessarily exposed.  Eventually this necessity became embellished: the beams were more finely finished at the wall terminations were decorated with corbels.

In England, these were often as not oak corbels as it was a favorite wood of the period.  This same effect can be replicated today with our oak corbels.  Depending on which style of corbel is chosen, these brackets can either dress up a simple room or merely contribute to a higher level of finish while maintaining an essentially rustic appearance associated with Tudor or Tudor Revival styles.  This is true even with our hand carved corbels where a large amount of the level of formality is controlled by the finish that is selected.

Of course, oak corbels may be used for more usual purposes and are not restricted to traditional applications; contemporary wood brackets in oak are very useful in modern room design.  A kitchen with oak cabinet work will benefit from using these as supports beneath counter ledges.  The larger scale of oak corbels may also provide visual reinforcement to large structures such as range hoods or overhanging ledges on kitchen islands.  Oak corbels may also be used to support the ledges of mantelpieces or wall mounted shelving.