Laying Up a Giant Corbel
One craftsman's suggestion for building up a huge mahogany corbel out of multiple solid wood pieces. February 8, 2008
That's right, an 8' x 6' mahogany corbel. We have been asked to build several corbels with a 4" x 6" x 8' vertical piece on the wall and a 4" x 6" x 6' top (horizontal) piece. The curved portion of the corbel that connects the bottom of the vertical and the outer end of the horizontal is 11 1/2" wide by 5" thick. This is really going to look like a substantial corbel from the side where you will see the 11 1/2" wide part. We have been bouncing around ways of building them, as the architect does not specify any particular method. Any suggestions on the fabrication?
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor R:
I would do this on the CNC. Three layers of 1-1/2" mahogany could be cut into any profile and drilled with alignment dowels (stopped on the two outer layers, and through in the middle). With proper grain-matching, this would look good. You could also machine a tenon on the middle piece, and mortise it into the top and bottom, along with lag bolts from the back. The two "beams" could be either box-beam construction or solid (same layered technique). If they are box-beams, they could have mitered corners, but I think butt or rabbet joints would look fine also. In my experience, most architects and designers go for darker finishes on mahogany, so a lot of fussing on joint selection becomes moot after they put shoe-polish on it.
From contributor D:
Contributor R described the exact way I would build these. Scary!
From contributor R:
It's encouraging to know that there are other people out there who think like I do. When I design stuff, I hear a lot of "why don't we do it this way?" or, "what if we did this?" instead of "that makes sense, let's do it that way."
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