Fireplace surround and mantel

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Project by Ray Irvin posted 03-25-2009 11:21 PM 1800 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just finished this surround and mantel for my mother-in-law. The finish is not as good as I would have liked, but overall I am happy with this project.
This is my first post.

-- Ray Irvin

10 comments so far

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3473 days

#1 posted 03-25-2009 11:30 PM

Looks very nice…good job

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View JimmyC72's profile


8 posts in 3400 days

#2 posted 03-26-2009 12:07 AM

Wow is that nice. I can’t stop looking at it

-- That tape was just here

View woodsman's profile


61 posts in 3453 days

#3 posted 03-26-2009 12:16 AM

Nice mantel, welcome aboard…

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4298 days

#4 posted 03-26-2009 12:17 AM

That turned out really nice. I really like the combination of the two woods. Great job.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View LesB's profile


1748 posts in 3468 days

#5 posted 03-26-2009 12:58 AM

Ray you have a nice design there and it appears to be well executed. Great work. I’m sure you mother in law is pleased.

I can’t tell from your profile what your experience level is but I would like to make come constructive comments. Please don’t consider them criticisms. Some people just give compliments on the work posted. I like to give and get useful information from their observations to improve my work and hopefully help others.

You commented on not being pleased with the finish. It may be the photos but the gloss finish is harsh and would be better if you toned it down a bit. You can still do this by rubbing it down with some 0000 steel wool and paste wax. Hand buff the wax to a more pleasing shine.

Also one of the things that sets off a well crafted piece is to paying attention to the wood grain patterns. In particular in this piece the section above the fireplace has a flat sawn circular grain pattern on the left of center panel that throws the appearance off. Again photos can make those things look worse than they are. Varied grain patterns are great but they need to compliment the work.

On the hearth section it might have been good to add another dark polygon (inverted maybe) at each end of the front to extend the pattern out. As it is the ends just sort of visually fade out.

You have the top mantle section built up in an nice cove shape and routing a similar cove to the bottom edge of the top board would have complimented the design and added more detail.
I hope you find this helpful.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3698 days

#6 posted 03-26-2009 03:25 AM

Nice Mantel.

View LSJ's profile


89 posts in 3377 days

#7 posted 03-26-2009 03:33 AM

This looks like a lot of effort for a mother-in-law project, just kidding.

This is a great looking project.

The finish looks ok from the picture, but I am hard on my projects too. What finish did you use on it? Sometimes finishes are like my turning projects, I stop just short of where it needs to be.

If you decide to work on the finish some more, set up a test piece.

-- I like to turn

View Ray Irvin's profile

Ray Irvin

2 posts in 3396 days

#8 posted 03-26-2009 10:28 AM

I have been doing woodworking all my life, but mostly home remodeling. This is my first furniture type project.
I really appreciate the input. The finish is spar varnish. I really dont have a clue as to how to apply a furniture quality finish ! In the past everything was a coat of stain and slap a couple coats of poly and done.
This project has been a real learning experience. I totaly agree about grain matching, but I had a very limited supply of cherry and used every piece I had.
I made the cove piece on the table saw, again a learning experience.
I hope to learn and grow on my upcoming projects.
Again, thanks very much for the input, and by the way, I think your turnings are beautiful.

-- Ray Irvin

View mrdull's profile


55 posts in 3405 days

#9 posted 03-27-2009 03:31 AM

I really like this mantle, I favor, Craftsman, or Green pieces, and this is very well done.

-- “Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less.” General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A.

View LSJ's profile


89 posts in 3377 days

#10 posted 03-29-2009 02:20 PM

Back in college I worked for Ethan Allen (furniture store). I also had a furniture repair business. The only thing I use for finish for my furniture grade projects is lacquer. You do have to seal it first with a lacquer sanding sealer. I have had gook luck with Deft in the satin or gloss finish. I use it on all of my projects unless they are going to be around water, like my lures and then I use polyurethane.

A couple words of warning do not shoot the lacquer over another type of finish I have seen it eat another finish. That is why I use a test piece to see how on finish will react with another. And most important of all this stuff can blow you up if you are working in an area with any type of flame including pilot lights.

-- I like to turn

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