Welcome back. After showing you my painted fireplace earlier in the week I promised I would return to show you the DIY mantel that finishes off my makeover.
Looks a bit like a railroad tie doesn’t it? Well, it has all the beauty of a railroad tie without the weight and without the creosote.
My faux railroad tie is actually made from 3, 2×8’s that I picked up from a local salvage yard. The one on top has more knots, more splinters and more flaws than the other two and that is why it is perfect for my face board…the board everybody is gonna see.
Measure and cut your three boards.
These screws are just temporary, just holding my boards together while I work on the other holes.
Find a dowel and a drill bit the same size as your dowel.
On the front board of your mantel, drill holes about 1/4 – 1/2 inch deep using a tape measure to evenly space your holes. These holes will eventually hold the screws that will hold all three pieces of the mantel together.
Use wood screws at least 3 inches long to attach the mantel pieces together screwing through the dowel holes you just drilled.
Cut pieces of your dowel to plug up the holes and glue into place.
With any leftover wood, fill in the ends of your mantel and screw into place.
You don’t really have to hide these screws since they will be on the topside and underneath the mantel and they will eventually get a coat of wax/paint.
Sand off any splinters and any dowels that stick up.
If your front facing board is in need of a little aging here are a few tools you can use. Dent it with a hammer, prick it with a nail, stick a screwdriver into the wood or just pound it with a meat tenderizer.
I’ve used this technique before, but to get a nice aged brown/black railroad tie look, use vintage wax and black chalk paint.
Paint on a nice layer of the vintage wax and before it is dry add a few brush strokes of black. Rub it in and blend with a rag.
Finish the mantel with a coat of clear wax.
This board is exactly the width of my mantel. Mark the top of the mantel making sure it is level.
The top line is where the top of my mantel will sit. The bottom line is the width of the top mantel board.
Also mark where all your studs are.
Cut a piece of 2×4 long enough to sit inside your mantel. About every foot screw on extra pieces of 2×4 bracing short enough so that the entire piece will fit inside the newly built mantel.
Center on your wall and using the stud marks you just made, mark on the 2×4 where bolts will go.
Predrill these holes.
Line up your 2×4 brace with the lower line you made and bolt to the wall going thru all the marked studs.
Get some strong handsome young man (thanks Nathan) to help you slide the mantel over the 2×4’s and use long wood screws to screw in from the top attaching to the 2×4’s.
Sorry no pictures of that, all our hands were busy.
Just wanted to show you a picture of the finished plugged screw holes.
The old mantel had covered the top two rows of bricks but this mantel sits on top of the brick so a simple piece of trim hides the rough edge of the brick.
After 25 years of the same old fireplace, I am loving the new fresh look.
While the mantel makes a big impact, it’s a fairly easy build. I hope I’ve inspired you to take it on.
Shared at Salvaged Junk Projects,