Solid Walnut Mantel Shelf

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Project by KnotCurser posted 01-16-2010 01:08 AM 7460 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was done for a client late last summer. He had heard I had a supply of walnut and one of the pieces was fairly massive and nicely grained and wondered out loud if it would make a nice mantel shelf. “Sure!” said I!

The piece was so massive in fact that I had to cut it down to fit in my planer – I had enough left over to make the corbels out of and a few more longer pieces I’m planning on using as legs on a future table.

Seeing how heavy this is and the dimensions of 13” Wide x 63” Long and a little over 2.5” Thick, I kind of KNEW I wouldn’t be able to just “freehand” this beast through my portable bench planer! I just had to make a sled – and not just any sled either – the mother of all sleds! :-) It had to take 70+ pounds of wood on either side of it and be rock solid the entire time. Also would help if it were a little slick as the poor rollers in my planer needed all the help they could get! ;-) I found some shelving at Lowe’s pre-wrapped with melamine – the perfect size and the perfect slickness at a great price! This worked perfectly! As you can see it gave me great results!

The shape of the corbels were finally agreed upon and cut out of the reminder of the stock and also turned out very nice – I’m really happy with the shape and smoothness of them – reminds me of marble.

All the pieces were treated with around 5 coats of Danish Oil with sanding between each coat.

Well, the client finally saw the piece when it was all finished and was flabbergasted! Didn’t know what to say for nearly a minute and finally managed a muffled “Wow”. I guess he was impressed. ;-)

As soon as he gets the proper supports installed to hand the thing, I’ll post a pic of the finished mantel on the wall.

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

5 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3307 days

#1 posted 01-16-2010 01:50 AM

Nice work. It is really enjoyable to work with nice lumber and you seem to have found a treasure piece.
That is a big piece to put through a benchtop planer but your innovation seemed to have been successful.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3712 days

#2 posted 01-16-2010 07:04 AM

Beautiful wood and beautiful project. I’ll bet you won’t be holding it with one hand while installing it with the other

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1593 posts in 3251 days

#3 posted 01-16-2010 03:38 PM

Looks real nice, i love the wood.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3068 days

#4 posted 01-16-2010 10:36 PM


I DO agree that this piece was probably the maximum that my planer could handle, but that RIGID did a fantastic job – never bogged down, never sniped and pulled the piece through with no troubles! Given the choice to do over again…......... yeah, I would do it! ;-)


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3884 days

#5 posted 01-17-2010 06:24 PM

Beautiful wood! Beautiful job!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

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