This is a century old red oak fireplace mantel I bought off of Craigslist. It came out of a home in Louisville, KY. It was in bad shape as you can see in the photos. I stripped it and replaced the veneer that needed it. I had to modify it a bit to install it to my mother-in-laws brick fireplace. The mirror is mercury glass and beveled. I did add some red oak rope trim which I beveled to give a more formal look. I countersunk some holes along the sides that I covered with some red oak trim. This allowed me to attach studs to the brick and then attach the mantel to the studs. The very top shelf was rotted so I found some beautiful spalted red oak and rebuilt this. The former onlay on the front was beyond repair and I found the current salvaged onlay on Ebay for around $10. I am really happy with how it turned out.
$200-$40 initial cost and about $160 in improvements
Estimated Time Investment
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Type of Wood
The stain is Minwax Early American. I gave the old growth wood 2 coats and the newer wood and trim 3 coats. I used Minwax fast drying satin polyurethane. I used three coats throughout the project. I applied 2 coats of poly and then sanded with 220 grain sandpaper before applying the third and final coat.
Recommended Skill Level