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Rebuilding the Fireplace Mantel

April 30, 2012

We worked on a lot of random things this past weekend, but most of our time was spent on the fireplace mantel.  About 2 years ago, before we even had a gas fireplace, my dad picked out loads of gorgeous walnut from a specialty hardwood store, including the huge slab below, and designed a craftsman-looking fireplace mantel.   About 1 year ago, we finally  bought and installed a gas fireplace, but unfortunately, the dimensions didn’t match my dad’s design for the mantel.

So now, finally, we’ve gotten around to re-building the mantel.  This required buying some new walnut, rearranging the design slightly, making a bunch of cuts, and carefully joining everything together.  Then we had to sand everything really really well, and then we applied a first coat of danish oil.  Below are photos of the mantel top and surround before and after applying the oil.  It makes a huge difference in the color of the wood – in a good way!   In a few days, we’ll be able to sand everything lightly, and then apply another coat of danish oil.  It may need a 3rd or 4th coat too before everything has a nice uniform sheen.

Alex also got around to replacing the vents leading to the crawlspace under the house.  Previously, any old skunk, rat, or cat could stroll freely in and out of our crawlspace.  Now, not so much.   In the photo below, the new vent covers the opening, and the old vent is lying in a pile to the left.

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