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How to Cut a Corbel

Learn how to cut a corbel.
wood image by Marvin Gerste from Fotolia.com

A corbel is a decorative bracket that is suspended below a shelf, beam or ceiling. The corbel itself doesn't usually actually bear any of the weight it appears to support, but rather it provides decoration in the form of its shape and design. You can easily cut your own corbels by following a design of your making. You will need to use a specific piece of cutting equipment, but shaping the corbel is easy to do as long as you prepare the wood properly.

Things You'll Need:

  • Scissors
  • Clamps
  • Portable Band Saw
  • Work Bench
  • Wooden Beam
  • Graph Paper
  • Tape

Cut out a piece of graph paper with scissors to a square slightly larger than you want the corbels to be. If the paper is not big enough for the shape you want to create, tape several pieces together until you have one sheet large enough.

Draw the design for the corbel on the graph paper using a pencil. Make sure the upper horizontal edge and one of the vertical sides are perfectly straight and meet at a 90-degree angle.

Cut out the shape from the paper and trace the pattern onto the wood beam. You need to trace the pattern only on one side of the beam because you will be able to see only one side while cutting.

Set the beam on a work bench with the traced pattern facing upward. Clamp the beam down onto the bench with the entire traced portion of the beam hanging over the end of the bench.

Remove excess wood from around the pattern on the beam so you can get as close to the traced line as possible. Cut at least 2 inches away from the actual design on the beam, to avoid damaging the pattern.

Make any perfectly straight cuts into the wood first by moving the saw blade into the wood as far as the cut and slowly pulling it back out. These cuts are usually located at the top and bottom of the corbel where there are straight lines.

Hold the blade of the band saw directly against the beginning of the traced line. Angle the blade against the wood so it will enter the beam in the direction of the traced line.

Start the saw and allow it to move evenly through the wood. Gently guide the blade along the pattern line without forcing it.

Work all around the line until you have cut out the entire design from the face of the corbel. Cut off the corbel from the beam along the edge that is joining it to the longer piece.


You can copy the shape of an existing corbel by tracing the corbel onto the paper instead of making your own design.


  • Do not put your fingers near the band saw blade while it is running or you could injure yourself.
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