Diamantes De Madera

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Project by MarkTheFiddler posted 11-03-2014 03:18 AM 1202 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch


This is the one that kept giving me finishing fits as I tried an unfamiliar technique. I went back to my tried and true method and finally finished it.

I had this project stuck in my head for a while. When I found a sweet sale at Rockler for a bunch of Peruvian Walnut, I grabbed it. All the stock consisted of narrow short pieces. I made it fit.

The Diamantes de Madera means Wooden Diamonds. It just sounds more elegant in Spanish ;) The diamonds consist of Purple heart, Padauk and Poplar. I ran the grain in opposite directions to make create a little extra interest.

I added a stripe of curly maple to the top and I’m not sure why. In fact, after seeing it, I’m really not sure why at all. Sometimes the brain gets clouded. I was thinking the curly maple off-cut wanted to be used. It just didn’t have to used there. But there it is. You can join me in asking Why Mark Why? ;)

The substrate is 1/2 inch Baltic Birch. I got a lot of it really cheap so using 2/3 of one small sheet didn’t bother me.

I had a big fear. This thing is fairly heavy and the fireplace hearth is surrounded by an arch of relief bricks. The arch is not centered. There is 2 inches more on one side that the other. It only gave me room to make a 4 inch corbel. No way was I going to put a measly stick under that beefy mantle. Even if I did, it would accent the off centered hearth arch. I was really kind of scared about hanging it without corbels.

Here was my solution:

Notice the beefy corbels…

And those all-business masonry crews on each end.

By now you’ve noticed it’s all Oak. The only other thing I needed was a cleat.

That 60 pound mantle sits snuggly over the cleat and corbels. No scews, no nails, no hidden hardware. All I have to do is lift it up then off to remove it. When that mantle settled into place, I let out a huge “YESSSSS!” Sometimes things work out the first time. By the way, The top and bottom substrates are secured together with several spanners of oak. It won’t be bending out of shape.

Something dawned on me before I made a huge mistake. Lets say I have a six inch tall opening in the back of the mantle. Lets also say that I will cut the cleat at 45 degrees and my board is 2 inches thick. If I start with a 6 inch board (assuming the blade kerf = 0 thickness) then I’ll need an 8 inch opening. The thickest board I can start with is 4 inches or I would never get the mantle on. This picture should help with the understanding.

That’s exactly the kind of mistake I would have made. I had a moment of clarity that saved my rear-end.

Thanks for reading. BTW: I showed a neighbor and he is now checking his pocket book and with his wife. Maybe I get a job out of this.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

13 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16809 posts in 2528 days

#1 posted 11-03-2014 03:56 AM

Nice mantle, Mark. Good thing you did that beforehand thinking! You saved yourself a lot of rework!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2356 days

#2 posted 11-03-2014 03:57 AM

Well Done Mark.

It looks rally neat and nice.

I like the masonry crew :)

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 1714 days

#3 posted 11-03-2014 04:01 AM

Very nicely done with that signature “Mark the Fiddler” touch and design.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2089 days

#4 posted 11-03-2014 04:33 AM

Nice design Mark and a great improvement to the fireplace look .
The support system should be more then sufficient to hold that 60 LBS mantle and some Christmas stockings full of goodies .


-- Kiefer

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9329 posts in 3474 days

#5 posted 11-03-2014 05:29 AM

COOL cleats…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#6 posted 11-03-2014 10:24 AM

A perfect and much safter solution Mark. Much stronger that just screwing onto the supports. I read about a small child being killed by a falling fireplace mantle installed by her father, so the safer the better.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2053 posts in 1610 days

#7 posted 11-03-2014 12:20 PM

Thank you my friends. Martha loves it. That’s the best part of it for me.
I appreciate the vote of confidence on the support structure. I can see there wont be any accidents. That’s very reassuring.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View CarverShavings's profile


32 posts in 1226 days

#8 posted 11-03-2014 01:04 PM

I like that. I have a cheap mantle that came with the house. It looks like I can use your technique to install mine. I love your design as well.

View majuvla's profile


8714 posts in 2290 days

#9 posted 11-03-2014 01:23 PM

Beautifull stuff! This pattern is verry nice.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View GrandpaLen's profile


1643 posts in 1694 days

#10 posted 11-03-2014 04:16 PM

...well Mark, you’ve done it again.

Great design, beautiful contrast of wood species, nice tight glue lines, a solid build and a concise tutorial.

...and the highly functional Cleat ;-) Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Well executed and a great ‘Fit and Finish’.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2053 posts in 1610 days

#11 posted 11-03-2014 05:01 PM

Thank you very much my friends!

Len, I’m almost embarrassed when I put a tutorial up. There are some master woodworkers and remodelers on this site. Still I hope someone gets use out of it.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View ralbuck's profile


1804 posts in 1688 days

#12 posted 11-03-2014 10:26 PM


-- just rjR

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3128 posts in 3135 days

#13 posted 11-04-2014 07:36 AM


Good thinking! And a very nice looking mantle.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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