A friend cleans out old buildings and sells the metal for a living.  As you might guess, he is also a collector.  You never know what he will be up to.  A real one of a kind person, he is gruff on the outside and an artist on the inside.  He has commissioned Glenn and me for several works of art.

He called us the other day saying that he had some old windows for me.  We jumped in the truck.  Came home with windows and the following: an old mantel with gorgeous texture.


We recently had a kitchen fireplace mantel accident and hoped this would work as a replacement.  It did not.  We worked on it anyway.  I took off all paint that was flaking off, intending to preserve the rest.


A long slit on the backside of one of the columns needed repair.


A simple box made the base for the column.  All that was needed was to nail them in place.



As a piece was sufficiently sanded, layers of varnish were applied.


This board, which supports the top shelf of the mantel had its original moulding.  Glenn had to recreate the rest.


Good that he didn’t have to recreate details the way this old mantel was made in the first place.


Here the mantel is reconstructed, with new moulding at the right and left of the opening, and a new (old) board chosen to connect the columns.  We brought the mantel into the kitchen to compare the two openings.  Not a match in any way, we had to hesitate for a second.  We already have one fake mantel in a bedroom, used with a big mirror over it to expand the room, and two fireplaces, each with two faces, in the round, so to speak.  All but the one in the kitchen have a hearth, so this kind of mantel cannot be used.  What to do?


Our bed angles to the middle of our big bedroom.  It faces two windows so we can watch our birds.  The large head of the bed partially blocks off vision into the room, provided by a set of French doors.  This would be a perfect place for this mantel, but there wasn’t enough of it.  The mattress and wire are flat out ugly.  The mantle needed something more.


Glenn glued together two boards he rescued years ago from an old wooden boxcar.


He found two more old boards, one for a shelf, and another board for the top of the mantle to make it weightier visually.


He cut the second shelf board to account for moulding.  It adds a nice bit of interest.


The edge of this board had some writing on it.  We preserved it with varnish.



Voila!  Would love to put more stuff on the very top of the mantel, but the cats are finding this place very inviting.  Pretend you don’t see that wire.  It’s gone now!

3 thoughts on “THE STORY OF A MANTEL

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