Fireplace Mantel for my daughter

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Project by Tom posted 09-24-2012 08:09 PM 2371 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Seems like its been a forever since I posted a new project here, but I was recovering from back surgery which put me out of commission for a while. My daughter asked me if I would make a mantel for her fireplace, so I started looking around for an appropriate piece. Her home has quite a bit of natural cedar accents so I started from there. Found a nice heavy peice of mountain cedar (I believe its a Texas variety of Juniper, but not real sure about that) near my home. Found it on Craigs List. Guy has his own sawmill and had hundreds of pieces of all kinds of wood including cedar, pecan, mesquite, and oak. This piece was about 3” thick and was approximately 8 feet by about 30”. You can see how I marked it for trimming in the second photo. I wanted to keep the curves in it as much as possible and I wanted to experiment a little with some turquoise inlace that I had seen when visiting in Oregon. Took a while to shape it using a 4 1/2” grinder with a 20 grit heavy sanding disc. I used crushed turquoise and turquoise powder I found online. I first mixed it with a 5 minute epoxy, but went to a slower drying epoxy mixture because it went off too fast to work it into the areas I wanted to fill. I was very pleased with how the inlace turned out, but found that I needed to mix the powdered turquoise with the crushed to give it more color and for small cracks I used just the powder. For the supports I used some native mountain cedar that I have around. Took a while to find two pieces that had similar shape and size. To mount it, I first drilled into the mortar between the bricks in the fireplace and then into the back of each of the supports. Using heavy duty construction adhesive, I coated a 1/2” piece of threaded rod and the back of the support and stuck it to brick—did the same thing on the other side. I used the same adhesive to coat the tops of the supports and the back part of the mantel and gluded it in place. I debated on what to use to finish it and finally decided to go with several coats of satin polyurethane. My first inclination was to use System Three Mirror Coat, but felt it would be just too shiny. Because the mountain cedar supports were quite a bit lighter than the mantel piece, I used a combination stain made by mixing brown mahogany and golden pecan. It probably could have been a bit redder, but actually not a bad match. Sorry to be so long-winded, but I am pretty proud of it! Thanks for looking

-- Tom in Spring Branch

14 comments so far

View ybotyawnoc's profile


78 posts in 1109 days

#1 posted 09-24-2012 08:21 PM

This is beautiful!

View sawsister's profile


11 posts in 1110 days

#2 posted 09-24-2012 08:45 PM

Kudos to you! I like the inlays and the finish is perfect. You just inspired me to add another project to my to-do list.

View Granddaddy1's profile


181 posts in 1240 days

#3 posted 09-24-2012 09:40 PM

Beautiful work, Tom!

-- Ron Wilson - maker of fine firewood!

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2347 days

#4 posted 09-24-2012 09:45 PM

Very nice…your daughter will really enjoy it every time she looks at it…

View daves1's profile


166 posts in 1805 days

#5 posted 09-24-2012 10:25 PM

Tom, that is fantastic. I really like the color.

View Ken90712's profile


15847 posts in 2228 days

#6 posted 09-24-2012 10:41 PM

I like it, great color and design. I made one on here when I first joined Lumberjocks and still like looking at it. I bought my lumber from a farmer in the Dakotas and had him send it to us in Southern California. Im sure you little girl Loves it well done!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View woodcut's profile


165 posts in 1720 days

#7 posted 09-24-2012 11:12 PM

I’d be proud of it too, Tom! That is really cool!

-- Carl, Iowa

View Benboy's profile


104 posts in 1300 days

#8 posted 09-24-2012 11:58 PM

i love it.

-- If I can't make it, I probably don't need it.

View mloy365's profile


442 posts in 2169 days

#9 posted 09-25-2012 11:09 AM

That’s a beauty!

-- Mike - Northern Upper Michigan

View WDHLT15's profile


1404 posts in 1515 days

#10 posted 09-25-2012 11:27 AM

That is beautiful!!!!

The wood is eastern red cedar, Juniperous virginiana

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Lanaug's profile


186 posts in 1247 days

#11 posted 09-25-2012 12:32 PM

that is a beautiful mantle and great use of natural materials and lines, especially the supports. Looks awesome.

View Tom's profile


22 posts in 1588 days

#12 posted 09-25-2012 01:57 PM

Appreciate all the nice comments! Thanks, WD, I’ve always heard it called mountain cedar around here—good to know what it really is. Now when someone asks I can tell’em its Junieperous virginiana!!

-- Tom in Spring Branch

View Grumpymike's profile


1591 posts in 1354 days

#13 posted 09-25-2012 05:48 PM

What a great project, and you achieved it so well. I’ll bet that finding the matching suports was a real challange.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View WDHLT15's profile


1404 posts in 1515 days

#14 posted 09-26-2012 02:07 AM

Juniperous. Sound good doesn’t it!

Man, that is a beautiful piece!

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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