Fireplace Mantle #1: Fireplace upgrade

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Blog entry by Lee A. Jesberger posted 03-22-2008 06:22 PM 4901 reads 4 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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When my step daughter wanted to upgrade the fireplace mantle in her family room, we worked from a picture in a magazine she had, to come up with a design that was similar but would work in her room. We also added some crown molding and then repainted the room.

Since all work was to be painted, we were able to fill screw holes and the saw kerfs we used to curve the crown molding. For filler we used Bondo, which while designed for the automotive industry, it is a great product for woodworkers to use. It’s easy to work with, tough, and permanent.

I’ll try to get some more pictures showing the finished mantle from a closer position. I keep forgetting to get them.

Making the mitered pilasters, using blue painters’ tape. This is an excellent way to make long miter joints easily. This is surprisingly effective, and very dependable in getting perfect results.

When laying out the flutes try to use odd numbers of flutes. The same holds true for many woodworking designs, including building entertainment centers, an odd number of components looks best, carving shells and much more. I used to know why that holds true, but at the moment, I can’t recall. I’ll probably wake up at two in the morning with the reason.

Dry fitting the upper mantle is a good idea as it allows you to make changes as you work. If you don’t like something about how it’s starting to look, you still have the opportunity to make changes without too much trouble.

Notice the saw kerfs on the crown molding. The molding was cut almost completely through to allow for bending. This was done with a chop saw and thin kerf blade. All of the kerfs were easy to hide with the bondo.

Hope you enjoyed this post.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

24 comments so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4323 days

#1 posted 03-22-2008 06:44 PM


What an astounding upgrade, you turned a plain looking room into what’s now fit for a palace.

Thanks for the reminder on using Bondo. I always makes me think auto body work.

Are you sure you have enough clamps? ;o)

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

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4012 days

#2 posted 03-22-2008 07:41 PM

Great blog and end result, Lee!

Also a great idea about the bondo in the kerfs of the moulding!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 4018 days

#3 posted 03-22-2008 08:15 PM

That’s an amazing transformation, Lee. You are a MASTER craftsman! Thanks for the great tip on the “Bondo” too. I’ve used it on cars, and you’re right, it is easy to form and sand, and is very permanent.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4338 days

#4 posted 03-22-2008 09:57 PM

Good looking job!

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

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#5 posted 03-22-2008 10:06 PM

Thank you guys.

-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 3904 days

#6 posted 03-22-2008 10:16 PM

great looking job lee ! i havent kerf cut any crown in a few years , guess im gettin lazy i usually use the flex mold now . you did a really nice job of it .

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

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#7 posted 03-22-2008 11:00 PM

Hi Verne;

Thank you sir!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4014 days

#8 posted 03-22-2008 11:06 PM

A couple of great tips here Lee! Bondo and placing an odd number of flutes. I also like how you hid the electrical (round covers) by going with one outlet. Another good idea.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4003 days

#9 posted 03-22-2008 11:22 PM

Thanks Dadoo;

Who’s Bob Vila?


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

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#10 posted 03-22-2008 11:46 PM

Wow, very cool, filling kerf cuts with bondo to bend crown is a great idea, one that I’ll be filing away :) The upgrades to the room look stunning.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4003 days

#11 posted 03-23-2008 12:02 AM

Thank you Damian.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Sparky977's profile


59 posts in 3744 days

#12 posted 03-23-2008 12:03 AM

What a transformation of that room! Very impressive.

I think the reason that an odd number is best is because its more pleasing to have something in the center. Our eyes and brains can pick that out. This is also a good guideline for balusters in a stair railing or balcony.


View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4003 days

#13 posted 03-23-2008 12:09 AM

Thank you sparky;

Both for the comment and explanation.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4424 days

#14 posted 03-23-2008 12:24 AM

Ah Bondo to the rescue. I’ve filled many a chip and knot hole in something to be painted.

The room looks fantastic Lee. Great job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3986 days

#15 posted 03-23-2008 01:14 AM

Great stuff Lee. I have used Bondo to repair saddle trees and fill knot holes and who knows what all else. Wouldn’t be without it. I think if I remember right, the odd number is to keep the eye from trying to divide the piece. I just know it holds true in a lot of areas.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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