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How Do I Build a Corbel Return?

corbel large crown molding buildup

If you can cut a 45 degree miter you can build this corbel return.

Sean wants to know how I built this corbel return that I integrated into CROWN MOLDING-125.  It’s really easy, I’ll show you step by step.  I don’t have the installation pictures from this project, but I have something similar to illustrate how the moldings are stacked.


 

  1. Flat-Stock Shaft  In this case I stacked two 3/4″ pieces of MDF together to get this thickness.
  2. Architrave Molding  Wrap a piece of molding around the shaft.  This architrave molding was perfect for the job.  I also added a small panel molding at the top so it terminates properly.
  3. Corbel  This is just an inexpensive plastic corbel I bought at Lowes Home Improvement.  It butts up against the bottom of the shaft.
  4. Lower Detail  Wrap the lower molding around the shaft.  This large, three-piece crown molding is installed exactly the same as CROWN MOLDING-103, for which I have detailed installation instructions posted.
  5. Cornice  Install the flat-stock cornice/abacus.
  6. Crown Molding  Wrap the crown molding around the shaft and you’re all done!

[If you’d like to learn more about transitioning molding patterns between rooms, read this post Architectural Subordination.]

how to install moldings diy

I used a corbel return to terminate a picture rail molding on on an outside corner (left in picture).

And that’s all there is to it, Sean.  Good luck building your own corbel return.  And don’t forget to send us some pics when you’re all finished.

Cheers, Ken

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