How to Add Oak Corbels Under Kitchen Cabinets

By adding oak corbels to your kitchen cabinets, you can create a custom-built look on a budget. There are many different styles of oak corbels, ranging from the carved and ornate to simple timber frame styles. The first thing you would want to do is to establish whether the corbels are going to be structural or simply decorative. Traditionally, corbels have been used to support cantilevered countertops. In modern kitchens, they help support the marble countertops or other solid surfaces that overhang.

Materials You'll Need:

  • Oak corbels
  • Drill
  • 1/8-inch and 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Lag bolts, 3/8 inch
  • Construction adhesive
  • Measuring tape
  • Level

Step 1 -- Choosing the Right Oak Corbels

When choosing oak corbels, it is important to remember style and scale. Choose the style of carving or detail that coordinates with the cabinets and the rest of the room. It is also important to match the stain color of your cabinets or to pick a complementary color for your corbels. Choosing the right scale means examining the height and depth of the corbels in relationship to the size of the cabinet area and the overhang. Choose a skimpy corbel, and it might look like a cheap bracket. Choose an oversized corbel, and it might seem bulky and out of place.

Step 2 -- Placing Your Oak Corbels

If you are using your portables to support the weight of a countertop, make sure you space them accordingly, normally every 16 to 20 inches. If your corbels are decorative, then you can hang them wherever they are visually pleasing.

Step 3 -- Securing Your Oak Corbels from the Inside of the Cabinet

Corbels are often attached to an existing cabinet. In order to create a hidden or floating corbel, predrill a hole on the inside of the cabinet and into the back of the corbel using your 1/8-inch drill bit. Then secure the corbel with wooden screws and a washer. If the corbels are to be weight-bearing, use wooden screws with lag bolts. To help avoid errors, first mark where to drill your holes on the inside of the cabinet. Then drill small pilot holes as a reference guide. Have a helper hold the corbels in place while you drill the pilot holes from inside the cabinet.

Step 4 -- Securing Your Oak Corbels from the Front

Sometimes it is not possible to get to the back of a cabinet or wall in order to hang your corbels. In such a case, you can drill through the front of the corbel and install a long wooden screw into a stud or use toggle bolts to attach the corbel to the wall or cabinet. Oak plugs are available at hardware stores and can be stained to match any color oak corbel you may have. Be sure always to predrill oak. Never try to nail or screw in oak. Use your 3/8-inch drill bit to pilot a quarter inch deep in order to accommodate your plug.