Wood has long since stood as a central part of human craftsmanship, from weapons to vehicles to furniture to toys of all kinds, around the world, and well before written history started. In fact, wood carving is among the oldest human works, dating back nearly 400,000 years. In a more modern world, wood has allowed the construction of galleons, horse drawn carriages, bows and arrows, cabinets, armoires, and log cabins, among many other things. This incredibly versatile construction material can come from numerous species of tree, and even smaller decorations or devices can be as easily made as great ships or log cabins. Traditional corbels are among those things than can be crafted from wood, and large corbels can be made for bigger jobs while mini corbels support smaller projects and fireplace corbel designs can vary wildly. Traditional corbels can add old fashioned charm and personality to nearly any room or piece of furniture.
The Uses For a Corbel
What is a corbel? A corbel is a piece of architecture that extends from a wall and acts as a resting shelf for another unit, whether interior or exterior. Traditional corbels are often used in churches and similar buildings, and are made of stone, as are the walls themselves are. Often, these corbels were carved to fit the theme of their structure, and this was popular in France and Italy in the Renaissance. Angels, saints, and other Biblical figures were popular, and on other buildings, elements of folklore and other imaginative works could be carved into corbels.
For interior work, wooden corbels are much more common, and fireplace corbel designs may rank among the most popular and varied of them all. A fireplace in someone’s living room or study can add to a rustic, studious charm to the room, and they can be either plain or elaborately carved according to the homeowner’s taste. Natural designs such as leaves, vines, wolf heads, the sun, and more are among the nearly infinite variety of designs that traditional corbels can take, and in public buildings, an interior designer may be in charge of how a room’s decor is handled, which will include wood carving designs. Any shelf unit can make use of corbels, and the color, material, and size of the corbels can artistically contrast with the wall, shelf, or the shelf’s contents according to the owner’s taste. Potted plants, framed photographs, mirrors, decorative china, and books are just a few among the many rustic, classic decorations that can be put on a shelf supported by corbels.
Different species of wood may go into corbel construction, and some kinds of wood are harder or more common than others, depending on the area. In North America, for example, around 52% of all hardwood is in fact oak, so this can be an inexpensive and conveniently acquired type of wood to carve into corbels or similar interior designs. And despite being organic, wood can be surprisingly resistant to wear and tear. If treated well, a piece of wood in furniture or as home decor can last a few hundred years without significant wear and tear or rot, making it an excellent investment for a long time to come. And for today’s pleasure, older, authentic designs from centuries past are still standing, and if taken care of, can be appealing and sentimental to viewers or the owners of homes or furniture. Wood can act as living history of architectural and artistic design in this way, and that includes traditional corbels for the fireplace and beyond.