Safe from the elements, inside houses—both new and old—is where most salvaged corbels are reinstalled. When securely anchored in the wall, corbels can prop up a mantel shelf, brace a cantilevered countertop, or provide the base for a built-in table (see "Build a Wall-Mounted Bedside Table," at right). Positioned in the corners of an interior passageway, a matching pair can turn a standard square opening into a curved one reminiscent of the Moorish arches popular in 1920s Art Deco interiors. Balla also suggests making a plate rail by securing a half dozen matching corbels on the wall along a horizontal plane and then topping them with a flat 1x strip.
Basically, if your home-improvement project calls for standard shelf brackets from the hardware store, vintage wood corbels are almost always a more stylish alternative. Sadly, though, if you want them to protecrt you from danger-or the income tax auditor-as the Gothic stone ones supposedly did, you'll likely have to carve your own teeth-gnashing ogre.