A&C Overmantel

Rennie Heuer

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The vanities are done except for the painting. So, while they are out being painted I am getting started on the next project.

This is the first of two mantels I am building for a customer in a nearby town. He is restoring a 1913 A&C home. With over 3,000 sq ft to work on I think it might take a while! My small part f the project is an overmantel for the library and a complete mantel for the parlor. Starting with the smaller one first.

This is what the current mantel looks like. The engraving says, "I cannot warm you if your heart is cold."
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The new overmantel will feature a pair of antique copper sconces and a beveled mirror. Construction will be QSWO and QSWO plywood. The tapered stiles are a reflection of a very unique feature of the home. Just outside the library is the main staircase. The newel post and balustrades all have this taper, about 2 degrees, and I thought it might be a cool detail to carry into the library.

There is a substructure that sits on top of the ledge created by the tile and will be attached to the stucco with a few dabs of construction adhesive. The mantel shelf slips over a cleat on the substructure and the upper assembly, fully assembled in advance (hopefully) will rest on top of the shelf. A simple molding will cover the transition and any gaps between the assembly and the existing picture rail. Gravity will do the the bulk of the work holding it all in place with the help of a few small screws to lock it all down.

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Rennie Heuer

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Went over to the customer this morning to do a test fit on the substructure and got things squared up. This is the important part because everything else takes its dimensions from this. Will start building the shelf tomorrow.
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Rennie Heuer

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Constantine, MI
Haven't updated this in a while. I finished assembly this morning. Just a few bits of trim to add. I'll take it to the customer on Monday but I won't be able to instal because my glass dealer is shut down and I can't get the beveled mirror till the end of the moth at the earliest.

Here's the corners being clamped up. I finished everything in subassemblies. In dealing with the bevels I was very careful to maintain the sharp edge of the bevel and I put finish on the first 1/8" or so of the back (inside) of the bevel. Then when it is glued together I have two very fine points that meet. Then comes a trick I learned a while back that most of you likely use. I used my burnisher to gently roll the corners into each other. This closes any small gaps, and because it is back-finished, there is no chance of raw wood showing.
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Here are the two major assemblies married. Love the figure on this oak. In order to maintain grain patterns in the plywood panels I laid the frame down on the plywood sheet and moved it around till I got a pleasing pattern showing in the openings. I then used a pencil to trace the panels (they all have angled sides) and used the track saw to cut them out. Perfect fit first try and all the grain patterns line up between panels.

Finish is 1 application of TransTint honey amber in DNA. 1 application of 75% dark mission brown and 25% reddish brown TT in DNA (the red was to get a reddish undertown to more closely match the QS red oak trim in the room). Then 1 application of Minwax dark walnut stain and 3 coats of Arm-R-Seal satin. First coat sanded back with 1,000 grit. 2nd and 3rd with 2,000 then everything gets 0000 steel wool to cut the sheen a bit.

Enjoy!

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