Basic Oak Fireplace Surround - When an English Library is just a little too much!

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Project by Eric M. Saperstein posted 09-24-2009 08:39 AM 5500 views 5 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When I reached a stage in my apprenticeship where “case” products were my specialty, I began the task of turning my house into a home by taking advantage of my skills as a furniture maker. The task of installing an array of custom pieces including an oak fireplace surround, a home theater, a fully functional walnut bar unit, a customized quarter sawn oak commercial kitchen.

Starting in 1999 these projects ended up spanning over three years. Time resources conflicted with Artisans of the Valley coming back online; my father declared he may just retire and drastically slowed the operations. This rebirth and transition into the internet world pretty well drained all my available time resources and life out of me for home improvement. THUS many of these remain just slightly short of finished to this day! (This was posted over 3 years ago … and yeah still not done circa December 2012!)

This oak fireplace surround is actually as close as it gets, I think all that is left is I need knobs and latches on the doors! The installation includes two full size bookcase units with solid oak raised panel doors, and a single connecting unit above the mantle. A solid two-inch thick mantle tops the brick fireplace. Carving accents include a traditional Bi-centennial eagle flying a banner saluting New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die” slogan. This accent is located in a panel above the mantle, and detailed using a wood burning tool and an acrylic wash for coloring. The unit houses my collection of leather bound books, and various “shiny brass objects,” as I prefer to call them. Likewise – it became a safe haven to display keepsakes and collectibles that I have accumulated.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

16 comments so far

View webwood's profile


626 posts in 3882 days

#1 posted 09-24-2009 08:46 AM

excellant work dude – my home gets so neglected

-- -erik & christy-

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3880 days

#2 posted 09-24-2009 08:58 AM

Thanks …

Some of my friends used to do the “unfinished pointers” tour of my house at each major event. As I would be giving the grand tour it was usually Tom or Andy who would trail along.

We did some major events here years back – one before the kitchen was even redone – that was nuts … now cooking for 300 people is really no big deal I have all the commercial gear in play. Six burner stove, backed up w/ a grill/griddle inside. Big double oven, a nice RobotCoupe processor, a VitaMix, an assortment of Wustofs knives, and over 100 square feet of corian counter space. Two sinks, pot filler, etc. Plus outside the professional grill, a couple turkey cookers, and a full size 275 gallon pig roaster.

So with everyone planning to come I kinda had to rush through a lot of improvements to show off what I did between events.

And yes – moldings in … THIS molding he ran out of nails in the gun, got lazy and didn’t finish watch as it flapps on/off the wall.

Oh this post – NOT in place yet see it’s just sitting there pull on it the thing will come RIGHT out …

Drawers – yes now – how do we get them out??? NOOO Pulllls!

I’ve had a fixture in my bathroom hanging from wire nuts for the last 8 years … just happens when you’re this busy.

That reminds me – my stereo blew up – need a new one already this is getting stupid … but I do need a few more guns first anyway so still that project is on hold!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18815 posts in 4308 days

#3 posted 09-24-2009 09:21 AM

Great looking job. My projects seem to have a few minor detail left too ;-)) I finally decided I had too many guns, didn’t think it could ever happen, but there comes a day when you have to decide what events to shoot and which ones you will never get the time to do. Of course, the Golden Years have an effect on how you can see the crude sights on a flintlock barrel:-(( The days of hitting a silver dollar with it offhand at 50 yds are gone! :-(( No more splitting a ball on an axe blade at 25 yds ;-(( Guess that’s why they invented scopes for schuetzen rifles; so one can shoot at the 1 1/2” diameter 25 ring at 200 yds offhand ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4305 days

#4 posted 09-24-2009 12:39 PM

Nice work!

View griff's profile


1207 posts in 4394 days

#5 posted 09-24-2009 12:45 PM

Looks great Eric, You did a great build here. I really like the carving and the gun hanging there .

-- Mike, Bruce Mississippi = Jack of many trades master of none

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3935 days

#6 posted 09-24-2009 02:46 PM

eric, do you ever feel you were born in century too late…...when you could have spent time with willaim cody…..ha…..have you gotten yourself to alaska yet… might not want to come back when you do….but then again , where you live is a pretty nice place also…...i love your work…..i wish i could change my mantle….but others live here as well… compromise comes into play… your top knot…...

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3827 days

#7 posted 09-24-2009 04:24 PM

Beautiful, I love the carving and the placement of the gun.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 4159 days

#8 posted 09-24-2009 04:53 PM

Really nice! I like the light wood, brightens the room. Great details, very pleasant….............

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Dudley's profile


742 posts in 3892 days

#9 posted 09-24-2009 09:04 PM

Absolutely beautiful. Great job. BZ

-- Dudley Young USN Retired. Sebastian, Fl.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4406 days

#10 posted 09-25-2009 02:29 AM

Another nice unit as always. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View a1Jim's profile


117948 posts in 4209 days

#11 posted 09-25-2009 05:45 AM

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3880 days

#12 posted 09-28-2009 05:52 AM

Haven’t made it to Alaska yet – it’s on the list. I flip/flop on the time being born theme. I like technology and gadgets and toys – yet it’s often just that that turns our life more complex.

Too many guns? Not so sure I understand that concept … the answer to the question how many guns do you own should always and forever be “Not enough …”

I don’t get to shoot as much as I’d like to, time just isn’t always available.

Hoping that some more compromise actually does come into play around our place. Working on making this place into less of my place and more of a home for Teri and I. All and all it’s probably time to move and find ourselves a new place in general with more land, etc. We shall see, lots of factors that influence that decision.

Thanks for the feedback!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18815 posts in 4308 days

#13 posted 09-28-2009 08:10 AM

Muzzleloading pistols, rifles , shotguns for me and kids, hipower Hunting rifles for the same, Cowboy actions guns, Schuetzen rifles for me and grandson, 1/4 bore schuetzen rifle, .22 rimfire schuetzen for bench and offhand, Silhouette rifle for high power and small bore, hunting and trap/skeet shotguns & a few antique collectables = too many:-)) too many shooting sports that take specialized equipment.

Good luck on moving and more land!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3880 days

#14 posted 12-29-2012 05:49 AM

So I figured I would post some updated photos … got the “marketing money shots” out of this years holiday. The current female inhabitant decided I was going to have a tree … so … well I got a tree! (Ya’s all know how that works)

This is the blurb I’m posting up on our blog with the new photos:

Here’s your traditional Christmas scene bellowing with the warmth of custom woodworking. This oak fireplace surround includes hand carved moldings, raised panel doors, a mantle, and a hand carved “Live Free or Die” eagle.

Colorful leather bound books, shiny brass, momentum, keepsakes, and awards and photos. Bookcases offer storage and display for your family treasures as well as your library. A comfortable recliner and obviously gifts at the ready for this scene to turn to utter wrapping paper carnage.

Now you may notice a fellow hanging out, not so much hiding out he’s obvious! His name is Smirnoff – the radioactive reindeer.

See it’s a much kept secret that the reindeer like many super heroes were forged in a nuclear accident. In his case, Smirnoff was a bit closer to the blast as compared to say Rudolf … only Rudolf’s nose glows so bright.

Now Smirnoff on the other hand is bright orange with glowing green eyes. He’s just too bright to pull/guide a sleigh or Santa would have to be wearing a welding mask and the other deer would get a sunburn.

So Smirnoff hangs out w/ his four ducky friends – all of which are always wearing sunglasses. Now Smirnoff’s job to be part of the radioactive reindeer brigade, and apparently it is their job, along with the yellow ducks, to drop off these crazy deviant elves that keep appearing all over the world.

Elves are apparently immune to radiation and are not impacted by his orange glow. So the whole plan seems to play out quite well, as Santa has his army of intelligence gathering elves and the means to transport them.

If you’re looking for this kind of warmth in your home, a comfort in your office, or an accent to a cabin … let us know we can design and build an assortment of custom installations which will enhance the appeal and value of your home.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3935 days

#15 posted 12-29-2012 04:29 PM

gee it all looks really great eric, but what about the dog, is that the currant female in the house…lol…well its a great looking saint Bernard…male or female…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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