Build a Fireplace Mantel
An easy installation begins with a flat foundation
Synopsis: 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 foundation—sections 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.
A fireplace without a mantel looks naked and lacks character. Adding a mantel gives the fireplace an elegant frame, which becomes the room’s focal point. This frame can be as simple as two brackets supporting a shelf or a floor-to-ceiling extravaganza dripping with carved gargoyles and yards of molding.
Whatever the style, I’ve found that the secret…