Making a Carved Fireplace Mantel #1: Getting Started

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Blog entry by Dick, & Barb Cain posted 11-14-2006 01:38 AM 2983 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Making a Carved Fireplace Mantel series Part 2: Applying Brazilian Cherry inlay on the top »

This is my first attempt at Blogging.
I’ve been planning on building a fireplace mantel for quite a few years now. So late this fall I started on this project. The cold weather got an early start this year , so I couldn’t finish it, so I brought it to town to work on it this winter.
My sweetheart has been snapping pics. of my progress. They turned out pretty good, so I’d like to share some with you.

The shelf is made of 3/4” Birch plywood, with a Black Ash fascia board. I like Black Ash for carving. It looks similar to Oak , but is softer, almost the same as Basswood.

This is one of the patterns transfered to the board. Their will be a total of about 5 separate relief carvings on this project. I scaled these patterns down from patterns shown in Wood Carving Illustrated magazine, by Lora S. Irish. You can also download patterns from her website. She also is a moderator on

If you wish, you can view my Gallery at

There will be a slight delay before I get to working on this again, because I’m in the process of reorganizing my workshop. I’ll add some more pics. when I start working on it again.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

5 comments so far

View Thor's profile


110 posts in 4240 days

#1 posted 11-14-2006 06:17 PM

Hi Dick,
This will be fun to watch. That black ash looks like it has a lot of grain in it and will make a beautiful finish when you’re done.
I couldn’t help but notice your outdoor workshop area and the cool log benches you made for yourself. True rustic going on there.

View pat sherman's profile

pat sherman

621 posts in 4335 days

#2 posted 11-16-2006 04:44 AM

dick. nice mantel.

i like the view from your work area. nice.

i bet you hate to leave that to go back to town. iwould.

looking forward to watching the carving progress.

-- pat,ohio...

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4263 days

#3 posted 11-17-2006 02:30 AM

Thanks Pat,
You got me thinking, & I changed the spelling of (mantle) to mantel. Some sellers ads use it both ways, but mantel is the architectural spelling of it.

Although when you say the word, it sounds the same.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4200 days

#4 posted 02-05-2007 04:54 AM

I was hired to build a Mantel for a friend of mine and he wanted it to look like one giant beam, so I 45’d all the joints. I’ll post it when I’m finished. It looks a lot like yours without the carving.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4124 days

#5 posted 02-05-2007 01:23 PM

I love watching the projects in progress!! It’s kinda like being involved in the birth of a baby.

Thank you so much for taking the time to blog this and thanks to your special lady for taking the photos!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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