A Mantel with a Mission
Arts andCrafts-style overmantel beautifies a tract-house fireplace
Synopsis: Mario Rodriguez designed an overmantel that’s simply built with four panels and a 2-1/4-in thick mantel shelf. The shelf rests on five brackets that are all directly in line with the stiles on the overmantel. The article includes instructions on building a complementary wooden skirt around a raised hearth, which Rodriguez topped with slabs of bluestone. He sped construction by making a single groove to serve as both the mortise for the tenons and the groove to hold the panel. Rodriguez used plywood with a solid frame for the overmantel, which helps reduce its weight, and he cut all the pieces and finished them ahead of time. A detailed project plan helps clarify all the parts and assembly. The article details three steps in placing a mantel and how to cut and install the brackets. Side information describes how to use glazing gel to make the wood look old.