|Project by pintodeluxe||posted 04-20-2015 06:11 AM||2073 views||18 times favorited||17 comments|
This is my Keyhole Mantel, so named for the walnut inlay modeled after an early 1900’s skeleton keyhole. I started with a Montauk black slate hearth, and added strong arts and crafts lines with quartersawn white oak. The posts are made with locking miter joints. If you’ve never had the occasion to use a locking miter bit I highly recommend them for strong, seamless joints. The inlay is from the nicest, darkest piece of walnut I have ever laid my hands on.
The panel is ‘frame and panel’ construction, and the whole unit slides into grooves in the posts. I thought that might be a good way to prevent visible gaps where the post meets the panel, and it worked just fine. The corbels are formed from solid 12/4 stock. Apparently 12/4 white oak is not a hot selling item, as it was buried under 6 full pallets in the back of a warehouse at my local hardwood retailer. I milled vertical dados in the panel for the corbels. Then I made a hardwood strip to fit the dado, and screwed it to the back of the corbels through slotted holes. This worked really slick because it securely registered the corbel during glueup, yet allowed adjustment in two directions. The corbel can slide up or down (hardwood strip slides in dado), or can tilt a bit thanks to the slotted screw holes. Basically it allowed me to pre-fit everything to make sure the corbels would meet the underside of the mantel beam, and that the corbels would sit plumb.
For trimming out the fireplace I considered buying pre-fab crown molding, however it can be difficult to find in white oak. Ultimately I decided to make a 3-piece crown molding set. It gave the mantel the traditional look of crown molding, but allowed me to finish the top of the posts a little easier. Two parts of the trim terminate at the post, while the small cove molding gets coped and continues to wrap around the post.
The fact that this is a corner fireplace added some complexity to the job. The top mantel board is a large triangle that had to be scribed to the walls. Actually I made a full-size template from scrap wood, and scribed that to fit the walls. Then I used the template to pattern rout the mantel top. The shoes that dress out the base of the posts were mitered to meet the wall, as were the cove moldings top and bottom. After the main components were installed, I think I counted 41 additional pieces of trim to install! The six walnut buttons are caps for 8” lag bolts that secure the mantel beam to the wall.
This whole project started because the old fireplace had some blue tape on it. Besides being a sad and plain little fireplace, apparently that blue tape really vexed my wife. Neither one of us could get it clean, so I declared “I can fix that” ...exit room to retrieve mini maul hammer…
-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush