To truly become the focal point of a room, a fireplace needs a mantel. And whether the end product is simple or elaborate, all of Mario Rodriguez's mantel installations start with the same foundationsections of plywood joined to surround a fireplace opening. This foundation serves as the canvas for a multitude of mantel styles, from Arts and Crafts to Victorian. Rodriguez explains the essentials every woodworker should know about building a fireplace mantel, from surveying the site, to cutting and shaping the components in the woodshop, to final assembly.

From Fine Woodworking #184