For the past several weeks I've been working on a gas fireplace for our family room. That's our big family Christmas gift this year. It's a new installation from scratch, and required the building of a chase off the back of the house, 45' of gas line, firebox installation, electrical, inspections, hearth, surround, and a new oak mantel. It's still not quite completed, but I can see daylight at the end of the tunnel now...just need to put another clear finish coat, and then my wife needs to make a decision with the surround material between the fireplace front and the mantel (prolly granite or marble tile)....the dry wall "blue board" is temporarily painted black to drown out the bright blue color. It may be a while before that decision is made, but it's functioning and we're using it as is for now. Here's the progression so far:
The mantel is mostly QSWO, and red oak on the main front face, sides and feet. The arched molding is one piece of QSWO. I would have loved to put some fluting on those legs but got outvoted by SWMBO....I outweigh her by 100#, you'd think I'd be able to swing these things my way!