Mantle Shelf with Carved Panels

  • Advertise with us
Project by AndyB posted 02-03-2012 02:24 PM 1510 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This mantle shelf was built from a salvaged water oak. Not the first choice of wood among woodworkers and often viewed as a ‘trash’ wood. But I had a decent sized log milled into slabs and despite a fight with twisting which cost me more than half of the 2” slab thickness, it ended up being worth the hassle. The entire front is a single piece of wood that was sliced up to create six panels and then glued back together. The panel design was inspired by one of the 200 year old live oaks that grace our property here in Brenham,Texas (see picture). I digitized an outline from the photo and transferred it onto each panel using carbon paper. I then ‘carved’ each panel freehand using a small router and a 1/16” straight bit. The most difficult task was shaping the top and bottom to fit against the stone fireplace. I don’t generally use stains but the water oak needed something to pop the grain so I used a Miniwax Colonial Oak stain and finished it with four coats of satin varnish.

-- Andy, Texas,

7 comments so far

View Doug McPherson's profile

Doug McPherson

114 posts in 3354 days

#1 posted 02-03-2012 02:50 PM

Looks great. Love the inspiration and the outcome. Please add pictures after you’ve applied your finish. It’s difficult to see and appreciate it as fully with the current pictures. I’m sure it’s going to look fabulous.

-- DullChiselDoug,

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3776 days

#2 posted 02-03-2012 04:22 PM

Very nice mantle the carving ads that something extra, super job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Buckshot10's profile


20 posts in 2505 days

#3 posted 02-03-2012 07:02 PM

Thats nice. The carving really sets it apart from others. It looks like it is a good size as well. And I agree shaping to fit against a non flat wall can be a pain.

-- -------Justin, Duncan, OK

View Slackk's profile


9 posts in 2507 days

#4 posted 02-03-2012 07:27 PM

This is really cool. Great job!

-- "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything."

View AndyB's profile


12 posts in 2820 days

#5 posted 02-03-2012 08:18 PM

Thanks for your comments guys. I added a couple of images showing the finished mantle. Another learning curve – when applying varnish to a vertical carved surface, use a small artist paintbrush to prevent the varnish from pooling in the crevices. Takes a bit longer but not as long as removing varnish drips!

-- Andy, Texas,

View Davoak's profile


15 posts in 2507 days

#6 posted 02-03-2012 11:04 PM

Nice work. Turned out very well. What is water oak? It sounds similar to the oak i used in one of my projects (Bog Oak).

View AndyB's profile


12 posts in 2820 days

#7 posted 02-04-2012 03:48 AM

As it’s name suggests, Water Oak grows in sandy riverbanks and swamps in the SE of the USA,particularly along the Gulf Coast. I don’t have a reference to Bog Oak. It may be the same but I’ve just noted that there is also a Swamp White Oak (aka Overcup Oak) that grows in the same region and conditions, and is used for cabinetry among other things. Water Oak is a very heavy wood and as I indicated earlier it’s quoted uses are solely limited to firewood! Unfortunetly we are losing a lot of these trees in Texas due to the severe drought.

-- Andy, Texas,

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics