Help with a mantle

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Forum topic by David1982 posted 05-28-2015 03:54 AM 856 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1461 days

05-28-2015 03:54 AM

Im going to be making a mantle to sit over top of the current mantle on my fireplace. It will be a 8” x 10” beam 7’ long that I want to cut a large rabbet into. 6 1/2” x 6 1/4”. Im just getting back into woodworking and I need help. I don’t want the rabbet to extend all the way to the edges of the beam. I want it inset 3” from either end so as to hide the cut from the side. My problem is my table saw won’t cut deep enough, and I’m unsure of how to finish the cut on the inside corner of the rabbet. I tried attaching some photos, hope they load. If anyone can give me some advise I would appreciate it. I can email the photos of what I’m trying to do if they didn’t load here. You can also reach me at

Thanks guys in advance for the advise.


10 replies so far

View esmthin's profile


77 posts in 1150 days

#1 posted 05-28-2015 04:59 AM

The only thing I can think of is to cut what you can with the table saw, then finish the rest with a chisel. That’s what I would do.

-- Ethan,

View David1982's profile


5 posts in 1461 days

#2 posted 05-28-2015 01:13 PM

That would be fine, however my ts only cuts to a depth of 3 1/4”. The two cuts I need to make are 6 1/2” and 6 1/4”.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4909 posts in 3929 days

#3 posted 05-28-2015 02:04 PM

Router and chisels.


View TheFridge's profile


9252 posts in 1455 days

#4 posted 05-28-2015 02:22 PM

use a table saw to cut an inch of depth at a time on each side and a multi tool to finish the saw cuts and cut the ends to release the waste piece. I say only an inch at a time because a multi tool has only so much reach with its blade.

Once you get to where you only have a 1/4” or so left the. Make your final cut with your table saw, be careful with the multi tool, and use a wide chisel to clean up the rest.

I’d prob make a spline cutting jig to crosscut the ends clean then finish up with a chisel.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Kazooman's profile


1001 posts in 1921 days

#5 posted 05-28-2015 03:15 PM

I have a thought on how to do this, but it is potentially dangerous. So…... Don’t this on my say so, but it might jog someone else’s thoughts for a safer solution.

Use your table saw or a good circular saw to make the cuts as deep as you can right up to your layout lines. This will give you clean edges where the ends and front of the piece meet the existing mantel. Then CAREFULLY cut inside these lines to the required depth with a small chain saw. The bulk of the waste should pop right out. Then clean up the interior with a chisel. It will never show so it doesn’t have to be perfect. The clean edges from the table saw cut will keep the piece in place with no problems.

View Daruc's profile


460 posts in 1102 days

#6 posted 05-28-2015 03:18 PM

I would do it with a sawzall.

-- -

View madts's profile


1855 posts in 2309 days

#7 posted 05-28-2015 05:50 PM

Make it out of 4 pieces of wood, all with 45 deg. angles. If done right it will look like one piece of wood.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View jerryminer's profile


917 posts in 1410 days

#8 posted 05-28-2015 06:22 PM

Looks like a chainsaw project to me. Tablesaw and router won’t even get close.

If it were me, I’d cut close with a chainsaw, breaking out chunks as I went, then finish with an angle grinder with a carving disk, and probably a chisel to clean out the inside corners.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View pintodeluxe's profile


5624 posts in 2782 days

#9 posted 05-28-2015 07:16 PM

You can make a built-up beam, and either miter the corners or else cover the glue lines with a thin veneer piece of matching lumber. That way the TS will be able to make the cut with a 8” dado set.

This Mantel beam is a glueup of 4 pieces, and even up close I can’t see the jointlines.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2297 posts in 2339 days

#10 posted 05-28-2015 07:39 PM

I second the opinion of making it out of more manageable pieces. I wouldn’t attempt to do that on a table saw. That’s about 47 board feet of material, assume its dry and comes in around 4lb per board foot, that’s almost 200 lbs. If you already have the wood, I agree with roughing it out with a chainsaw, and then cleaning it up with chisels.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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