Mantel from Reclaimed Wood
Photos by Forrest Anderson
Our goal was to use a large reclaimed beam for a fireplace mantel in our house.
Our problem was that the beam was very heavy, and the fireplace enclosure was just a frame made of regular construction studs and covered with dry wall. The studs, we feared, wouldn't support the weight of the beam. We needed to figure out a way to either strengthen the studs or lighten the load. Here was our solution:
Step 1 - Our photographer and carpenter, Forrest Anderson, drew several rectangles along the inside surface of the beam on the side where it was to connect to the fireplace enclosure. He then used a 3/4-inch drill bit to drill holes down into the rectangle.
Step 2 - He used a King Arthur's Tools Lancelot carver, which is a small circular chain saw attachment to a side grinder, to chip out sections of wood as far down as the tool would cut.
The result was a beam that was at least a third lighter than it was in its original state and well within the load that the studs would comfortably carry.
Step 3 - The log was stained and finished.
Forrest then used ten-inch lag screws which he ran through the studs in the wall into the beam. The mantel sttaches to the fireplace enclosure invisibly and strongly.
Check out these related items
Reclaimed Wood Gets A New Life
Japanese carpenters say that wood gets a new life when it is made into a new form. See some new of these new lives.
The Thoughtful House will use some recycled timber from a pioneer cabin.
Building an Arch and Cabinets
To carve space for our office out of a larger living space, we built an arch and cabinets out of old reclaimed beams.
Making a Japanese Gate
We were charmed by the beautiful gates that are the entrance to homes in Kyoto and Nara, Japan, so we decided to make our own.
Nails had to be extracted from reclaimed timbers to be used in constructing The Thoughtful House.
Mortise-and-tenon timber construction, one of the most ancient forms of construction, is today a specialty craft.