Western Juniper fireplace mantel

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Project by LiveEdge posted 07-27-2015 03:50 PM 1865 views 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I installed a mantel made of western juniper (juniperus occidentalis) this weekend. Because I break out with a rash when working with the wood I found someone on Craigslist who could make the mantel proper. I drove over to Bend, OR to pick it up. He did a wonderful job. I had asked for a piece 8” deep and 2” thick as well as having lots of character.

The rest of the surround I built. The transition pieces are eastern red cedar with a slight stain on it. I picked this wood because I’m not sensitive to it and it looked pretty close to the mantel. The stain was an attempt to yellow the sapwood slightly and brown the purple of the heartwood. I left it somewhat “rough” (ie. no sanding) on purpose as well.

The face piece is actually another piece of juniper. There is one local hardwood store that carries some. This was the best piece in their whole inventory. The wood, while having awesome character, isn’t anything you’d actually want to try to build something out of. It’s cranky, knotty, warpy, and any other -y adjective you wouldn’t really want to give wood. But it looks awesome. I wrapped myself up as best as I could in order to mill the piece. Once again, no sanding. Just planed. It is finished with some poly.

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