|the completed mantle|
Our house has a HUGE fireplace. So big that we actually thought about having it removed to free up some room. It sticks out into the room about 4.5 feet and is 5 feet wide. To make things worse, it had a big colonial mantle that just didn't match our style. So I tore it off and left the fireplace bare for a while.
In November 2010, we realized we had nowhere to hang our Christmas stockings. So it was time to make a mantle. The house came with a bunch of nice 2” x 10” x 8' pine boards. I glued two together to get the thickness I was after and carefully cut it down to size with a circular saw. Then I glued a thin pine slat on the front and sides to get a nice face grain. I planed the ends of the slat even with the surfaces of the mantle. Finally I sanded and finished with several coats of dark walnut stain and tongue oil. There were expanding concrete anchors already in the brick from the old mantle. I bored some large holes in front of the mantle and secured it with lag bolts to the anchors. Holes were covered with wood plugs.
I hung it on December 20, just in time for Christmas so Santa had no problem finding our stockings. I'm not crazy about the round hole plugs. One of these days I'm going to make mission style pyramid-shaped plugs to make it just right.