Fireplace Surround

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Project by SouthpawCA posted 04-09-2010 09:09 PM 2359 views 8 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Must be the year to upgrade fireplace mantels, etc. Anyhow, here is my contribution. One of the pictures contains something I did about 10 years ago which was an upgrade to what was there – basically just the brick. I also included a few pictures of the black walnut inserts. I did the inserts as raised panel and finished them to a french polish.

The surround is red oak and black walnut. The oak is finished with a few coats of garnet shellac. I think the garnet shellac gives new wood a bit of an aged and warmer appearance. Plus it is so darned easy to work with. I don’t do stain well at all.

The walnut is finished with 2 coats of boiled linseed oil (BLO) then left to cure for about a week. I then started the french polish process. In one of the pictures I put a quarter next to the piece of wood to show the reflection.

There were a number of design changes from the original plan – one of which was adding the lights. I had to figure out how to blend the lights into the design. I didn’t want the lights to look like they were an afterthought – which they were. I used paper to develop a few designs and put them up for a night to see how I liked it. I settled on the rectangle outlined with the walnut version (obviously).

The wall on the right is totally out of square which I took as an opportunity to get a new plane (Thank you Lee Valley). Believe me, planing a piece of wood to fit an out of square wall is totally easier than trying to cut something on the tablesaw.

The whole mantel slides out to provide access to the wiring if needed. The bumpout on the right serves as a cabinet to hold the components.

-- Don

7 comments so far

View sboyle's profile


34 posts in 3771 days

#1 posted 04-09-2010 09:27 PM

That is great looking. Very nice job, I love the contrast.

-- Hey, It will always make good firewood!!

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3822 days

#2 posted 04-09-2010 09:33 PM

Good looking fireplace surround. I recently did mine in cypress and it gave the area a completely different look.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14181 posts in 4496 days

#3 posted 04-09-2010 09:55 PM

beautiful design and execution … I like this very much

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3839 days

#4 posted 04-09-2010 11:23 PM

oh wow… really nicely designed.

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3564 days

#5 posted 04-09-2010 11:49 PM

An upgrade indeed!

Nice functional design, and I definitely love the french polished walnut.

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

View jcees's profile


1077 posts in 4312 days

#6 posted 04-10-2010 12:06 AM

Very nicely conceived and executed. Bravo.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View RichinsCarpentry's profile


44 posts in 3979 days

#7 posted 04-11-2010 11:37 PM

Very nice!!

-- See our blog at

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