Back in to the breach! As we approach ever nearer to Christmas day, my wife has been insisting that I return to the shop posthaste and build a fireplace surround for an electric unit we purchased last month so she can hang the stockings, etc. I figured that this project shouldn’t be that difficult. The fireplace itself contained instructions as to the opening size required. I already knew that I wanted to build a comprehensive unit based on a 1907 Stickley built-in design that includes flanking bookcases. I’ll downsize a little: About 48” tall and 42” wide. This is the idea:
The enclosure is made with 3/4” hardwood plywood secured to a 2 by 4 pine frame. I half lap jointed the 2×4s for extra stability. The mantel top was also constructed with 3/4” harwood plywood, but took a little more attention to detail. Since it overhangs the enclosure by 5” I had to cut 45 degree miters on 6 sides to complete the box. I used both my table saw and RAS and it came together better than expected. I primed it with a couple coats of Zinsser BIN and this is the result:
I also purchased a pair of corbels on line as I knew this was something beyond my present band saw skill set. Pricey at $75, but well worth it, I think. I secured them to the unit via bolts:
I painted the corbels a little later. Next step was to prepare the house for installation. I removed a portion of the baseboard trim using a new tool my wife let me purchase…a Bosch corded oscillating saw. This tool works like a dream; it’s easy to use and incredibly precise in tight corners. See the results:
I once again enlisted the help of my neighbors teenage sons to carry the enclosure/matel from shop to house. It was very awkward and heavy due to the overhanging mantel top. I secured the unit to the wall studs and the insert fit like a glove. My wife spent no time decorating. Here’s the final result:
I’ll likely start on the bookcases after the holidays, but I really like the way this project is turning out!
-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."