How to Cut Mantel Shelf Corbels

What You'll Need
Wooden plank around 4 inches thick
Hand Saw
Wood file
Tape Measure

If you have an old mantel shelf at home which needs brightening up, then you can do much worse than cutting some mantel shelf corbels. These are designed to be placed over the edge of the wood, and can help to cover up any problems with the cut of the wood being used in the shelf, or with any irregularities in stone. The material that you choose to make the mantel shelf corbels is entirely down to you, although cutting stone to suit the mantel will probably be more difficult than making corbels made of wood. Corbels are a great way of adding to the appearance of your mantel shelf, and this project can be completed by anyone with a basic grounding in home improvement skills. Fitting the corbels might be slightly more tricky, but can still be managed.

Step 1 - Prepare to Cut the Wood

Before you make your first cut, you will need to make a few measurements of the mantel shelf where the corbel will go. You will need to measure the length from front to back of the shelf. You will also need to measure below the shelf to the size that you want the corbel to be, as you won't want any obstacles getting in the way when you come to fit the corbels. There isn't anything more annoying than cutting something to a good shape and then discovering that you've made it too large.

Step 2 - The First Cuts

When you come to make the first cuts, start by sawing a small line where you want the cut to go. You should first mark out this line using a pen and ruler, and then make a few slices into the wood. This will help you to keep the line straight when you are deeper into the wood. When the cut is large enough for the saw to fit into the wood, cut down until you reach the overall angle that you want. Repeat for the other side.

Step 3 - Cut to Decorate

Once you have the general shape, you can start cutting out features. Most traditional corbels are curved, so you might choose to make the shape like a wave. Cut roughly using the saw, and then file down into a better shape. Use the sandpaper to make the shape even clearer. There are a number of woodworking books that can help you with ideas for the cut.

Step 4 - Finishing

When you have cut the shape, you will need to make some small holes in the back for the screws to fit. You should start this using the file, and then finish with the sandpaper, although don't sand too smoothly, as the screws will need someplace to fit onto. Sand the back thoroughly so that the edge is straight and will lie flat against the wall.