Custom Double Mantle - Rustic Cherry

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Project by James Dunn posted 01-17-2009 08:58 AM 5280 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a double mantle that my customer wanted made to match the rustic cherry kitchen cabinets in their home. This mantle was made completely from raw wood – kiln dried, planed to 13/16”, and straight line ripped from the supplier. We then made every piece of the mantle on the job site.

The crown under the upper and lower shelf is 5 1/4” crown made with my Shop Fox molding machine. The beadboard in the upper mantle inset is actually 5” wide boards, tongued and grooved with a bead in the center of the face of each board and the partial bead on each side so that they matched up just like production T&G boards. The trim inside of the recessed panels was made on the router table using a 1/2” roundover bit set to leave a square edge to each side of the roundover. The face of the two mantle shelves is the same roundover configureation on 1 1/2” wide stock. Finally, the “baseboard” pieces were made about 8” tall with the same detail at the tops. We made cherry quarter round to match the oak quarter round that we made for the house.

The inset panels in all the recessed boxes are the rustic cherry, resawn to about 3/8” thick (to conserve materials). Since we were on the job side, we had to create a way to resaw the material. We ran it on the table saw first on each side along the long edges, but since the material was wider than 2X the height of the table saw blade, that left about 1 1/4” to be cut. We cut that with a handsaw – and a lot of sweat. Traded off many times to get that part completed.

About 85% of the mantle was assembled without any visible fasteners. The only visible fasteners are the 18 ga brads that we used to attach the 3/4” molding in the inset boxes.

The finish is a clear varnish/poly (about 3 coats), and then a VanDyke Brown glaze was applied and wiped off – leaving it in all the crevices, bead recesses, and a light wiping of it on all surfaces to tone down the red of the cherry. Then a final coat of clear was applied to it to seal it up.

The customer was very pleased with the results.

10 comments so far

View isetegija's profile


763 posts in 3513 days

#1 posted 01-17-2009 09:41 AM

A nice job. Looks very well made.

Thanks for sharing with us and welcome to Lumberjocks community.

-- Not my woodworking

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3820 days

#2 posted 01-17-2009 02:09 PM

This is a gorgeous mantle. And I enjoy the look of the cherry as well. The “imperfections” in the wood add visual interest to the piece. I have one of these on my to-do list (I keep getting reminded that it was promised as a Christmas gift several years ago) so this post does give me some ideas for my next “assignment”.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3722 days

#3 posted 01-17-2009 04:33 PM

James, you’ve done a beautiful job on this…no wonder the customer was pleased. This is something to be very proud of.

Thanks for posting it…and for the description of the process.

-- Martin, Kansas

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3686 days

#4 posted 01-17-2009 05:27 PM

Amazing details and superb craftsmanship ! This is , without a doubt , the best mantle that I’ve ever seen…Everything about it came out perfectly : ) Congratulations and welcome to LJs !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 3879 days

#5 posted 01-17-2009 06:01 PM

exellent work and design as well !

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3671 days

#6 posted 01-17-2009 07:16 PM

Thats a nice mantel.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3584 days

#7 posted 01-17-2009 08:55 PM

Beautidful work theres a nice peace well done god Bkless Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3772 days

#8 posted 01-18-2009 03:36 AM

Equisite detail and design. You did a beautiful job on this piece. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 3786 days

#9 posted 01-18-2009 06:37 AM

I am always amazed at guys like you who can produce such beautiful work onsite. I am lost as soon as I leave my own shop and completely useless. They should hang a big picture of you in the top section!

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View jim1953's profile


2735 posts in 3840 days

#10 posted 01-18-2009 07:27 AM

Great Job Looks Beautiful

-- Jim, Kentucky

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