Custom-Built Fireplace Mantle
My brother Andrew has built a stunning fireplace mantle. He saw an example he liked and basically made the entire thing with just a photo as a reference. It’s quite large, probably 6′ x 6′. There are layers of trim stacked on top of each other, giving the mantle many depths.
I’ve never built a mantle. Watching him piece it together this summer has given me the confidence that I can do it…and also makes it clear that mantles require a long time to build from scratch.
He chose MDF and poplar for the wood. MDF was a good choice because of how well it takes paint. Poplar gives the mantle added stability and also finishes well.
He made a jig for some of the custom trim (see picture below). The jig allows him to cut exact strips of wood every time without the need of measuring. I’ve seen similar examples of this jig in some of the woodworking magazines, so check there if you want to know how to build one.