Walnut Mantle

Additional project details can be found in the Gallery section of this web site.

Designed by Ed's Woodwork, LLC - Pleasant Prairie, WI

Work begins on the columns.

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A pair of columns and soon-to-be walnut corbels.

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I had an internet source that was going to provide walnut corbels for this project, but they could not guarantee the absence of sapwood.

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The sapwood (the part of the tree that is right beneath the bark) in walnut is very light in color, and I was going to be very particular about color matching in this project, so any sapwood would be unacceptable.

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As a result, I decided to attempt carving these corbels myself.  They were extremely time consuming, but I'm proud of how they turned out.

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Here, I was experimenting with the distance between and how it looks.

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In pictures 2 and 4 you can see the African ebony blanks I eventually made into the moldings that were used for the tops of the corbels, and later for the bottoms of the columns.

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Once the distance between the columns was decided, I started working on the mantle piece.

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The shell of the mantle is made of white aspen.

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Early morning glue up.

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Little Benjamin seems to approve of Daddy's craftsmanship thus far.

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Most mantles are made by layering different profiles together to make it look like a single massive molding piece, and this mantle is no exception.  Here is the actual top piece (upside down) with one additional profile - in seven different pieces - meticulously mitered onto it.

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Now that the top is in place additional crown molding will span the gap later.

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With the crown molding added, we are nearing completion.

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These photos don't even come close in illustrating the crazy wood grain in this figured black walnut.

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In 150 years when this mantle is donated to the "Ed's Woodworking Art Gallery and Museum" this wood burned stamp will be proof of my craftsmanship.

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Ready to install.  On the chalk board you can see all my vital measurements in constructing this masterpiece.

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The natural sunlight makes those columns dance.

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Essentially, this is the "before" picture.

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I like using a hanger cleat like this one for this type of installation.  The mating piece is affixed into the back side of the mantel and the whole piece basically hangs itself on the wall.  Two small lag bolts at the bottom of the columns secure the piece.

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Me and "my" walnut mantle.  Obviously I can't claim ownership, but I take a lot of pride in my work, so all of my pieces are "mine", so to speak.

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After adding the arched details and the ebony moldings at the column bases, the fireplace surround is complete.  Incidentally, I also was part of the three man crew that laid the travertine tile flooring in front of the fireplace - approximately 1500 square feet in this space, whew.

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Nice detailed close up.

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And the other side.

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Thanks for visiting!

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