Final Home for our Mantel

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Project by Thumper posted 02-09-2010 08:47 PM 1788 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Back in the early 1980’s my wife would get migraine headaches that would last for several days. Once she got rid of a headache, her shopping gene would kick in. After one particular bout, we went out to let the shopping gene run its course. On this particular trip, my wife found this mantel in the front yard of a neighborhood house. At the time it was painted a rather ugly yellow and I thought to myself that it would probably be better as firewood. However, thinking that it would be most unwise to express my thoughts I kept mum on the subject. After hauling the 7 foot tall mantel to our rented duplex, I tried to get the ugly paint off and discovered that there was at least eight or nine layers of paint. This discovery led to nearly three weeks of stripping and cleaning (I was a very happy camper during the period of time :-) ). After many rags, quetips and gallons of stripper, we discovered that under all of the paint was a 1862 vintage oak mantel. To make a long story even longer, we moved to our first house and the mantel followed and was used to surround a wood stove insert. A couple years later we moved the mantel to our new house (with no fireplace) and it stayed in the living room for the next 27 years. When we retired last October, we moved to our house in North Carolina and of course the mantel came with us. With all of the space we had in the new addition (see previous project) we decided to put the mantel to good use and built a library around it and installed a vent free log set to complete its new home.

-- The major stress in retirement is choosing what t-shirt to wear

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4585 days

#1 posted 02-09-2010 08:58 PM

Wonderful fireplace surround super job.


View shopmania's profile


702 posts in 4190 days

#2 posted 02-09-2010 09:36 PM

Beautiful mantel, and library! Well done!

-- Tim, Myrtle Beach, [email protected] Just one more tool, that's all I need! :)

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4058 days

#3 posted 02-09-2010 10:17 PM

That’s something you definitely want to take with you when you move, especially after all that elbow grease!

You probably spent more on paint stripper, etc. than you paid for the mantel!

Did you find a production date on it dated 1862? Also, is that the original mirror, or did you replace it?

I’m sure it’s something you both treasure, both for it’s beauty, and it’s history (with you).

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View crosseyedcarver's profile


228 posts in 4045 days

#4 posted 02-09-2010 10:35 PM

Memories are worth the hassle. The stories we share together are priceless. You should be glad your wife likes holding on to old thing.

-- Tim, Tallahasse FL

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