Reclaimed Wood Floating Mantels

I have always wanted to have a mantel over a fireplace.  So I made two – And here’s how!

I don’t like the idea of paying full price for anything or buying anything new.  If a tree has already been cut down, why not keep using it until it becomes termite food?  So that is what we did.  We took a trip to a green building store called Building Value on Spring Grove Avenue.  Building Value is a non-profit reclaimed building supply store that is pretty awesome.

In this case we were looking for a big wood beam.  What we found was a wood beam that had been salvaged from a late 1800’s house.  $40.00.

Cutting the beam into the actual mantels is pretty self explanatory…use a saw or 2 or 3 -whatever kind you have.  I used a circular saw, sawzall, hand saws, and hand planes.   Pull out all of the nails.  You can even use a metal detector to check for nails you missed (like I missed).  Luckily I found several nails with the sawzall and not the circular saw.  Make sure the back of the mantel is flat and 90 degrees from the top so it sits flat against the wall.

Once the beams were cut into the shape/size I wanted, I coated them with 3 coats of lacquer-just to give it a little more “finished” look.

Now for the fun part: Making them float.

To do this, I used a pretty simple technique.  The only parts I had to buy were six lag bolts (10″ or 12″ long lag bolts, depending on how thick the mantel is).  First, I decided where the mantels would be mounted.  Using an electronic stud finder, I found where three studs were behind each mantel.  I drilled a hole into each stud and screwed the lag bolt in (fairly deep).

Next, using a sawzall (now with a metal cutting blade), I cut off the heads of each of the six lag bolts.  You are now left with 3 metal “dowels” sticking out of the wall!

To transfer the exact location of the “dowels” to the back of the mantel, I made a cardboard template the exact size of each of my mantels and mounted the cardboard to the wall.  Make sure to mark the top and the bottom of your template as well as the top and bottom of your mantel (on the back) – It makes a difference, speaking from experience…

Then, using the cardboard template, transfer the locations of the holes to the back of the mantels and drill holes the depth and diameter of the lag bolts.

Finally, slide the mantels over the lag bolts and flat against the wall!  I originally planned to glue the mantels into place, however, I found that the weight of the wood is MORE than enough to hold them in place.

This was a two day project:

– Day one cutting the wood mantels/lacquering the wood

– Day two mounting the mantels


9 thoughts on “Reclaimed Wood Floating Mantels

  1. Pingback: Swinging Shelf Project | From Acacia to Zelkova

  2. This is the perfect blog for anybody who wants to find out
    about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I
    actually will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject which has been written about for
    many years. Wonderful stuff, just great!

    • The lag bolts are 1/2″. The weight? Heavy. Probably roughly 30 pounds a piece or so? The bolts have no trouble holding the weight of the wood plus picture frames, etc. just make sure the bolts go deep enough into the studs (but don’t poke through to the outside wall).

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