Eric’s Cedar Mantel

This week’s project comes from Eric in Atlanta, GA. Let’s see what he has to say:

“First off let me thank you for all that you do. Your website has been an invaluable resource for me. I got into woodworking about a year ago when I decided to build my own custom kitchen cabinets for my house remodel rather than pay someone else to make them. I found your site on a woodworkers forum, and I’ve seen all your pod casts and check your blog daily.”

“Here are some pictures of a recent cedar mantel I built for our new fireplace. I started this project looking for inspiration on the web. I wanted a big beefy mantel that would fit our family room that has 22′ ceilings. After looking at a number of pictures from various sites and taking some initial measurements, I fired up Google Sketchup and began designing the mantel. As a novice woodworker I find that Sketchup is as important as my table saw or router. Investing the time to get over the learning curve will reward you with improved project design and a significant reduction in the frustration you might experience taking on a project with only the plans in your head.”

“The mantel was made from 6X6 and 6X12 rough cedar that I planed using an electric hand planer. I used traditional post and beam construction and relied on a drill, chisel, and handsaw for the mortise and tenons. The mantel was finished with a wiping varnish made from equal parts of mineral spirits, boiled linseed oil, and varnish.”

“This was a very fun and rewarding project and instilled in me a deep respect for carpenter’s of old who had to build post and beam houses with the same precision that is now almost exclusively used for furniture construction.”


  1. Claude Stewart October 24, 2008

    Sweet looking mantle. Claude

  2. Jason October 24, 2008

    Excellent results Eric! I’m also impressed with your shop for only being into woodworking for about a year.

  3. AMarshall October 24, 2008

    Great looking mantel and shop! I’m in Atlanta too and there must be something in the water – I have an exact clone of that cutting table in my shop! I don’t have that little pink bike, though…

  4. james August 29, 2010

    Did you, or do you think cedar is to soft of a wood for a mantle?

    Did you consider fir, or any other alternatives?

    Thanks for sharing, looks great!

  5. John Vincent September 14, 2011

    I am in Atlanta as well. Where did you source that Cedar?
    Beautiful job on the mantel, it looks fantastic with the stone. Very nicely done.

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