How to Build Your Own Half-Log Fireplace Mantel
If you would like to build your own rustic log fireplace mantel, here is a step by step guide that will show you what to do.
Step 1 - Allow Log to Dry
When you find a suitable log, you will need to make sure that it is thoroughly dried out before starting. Store the log in a warm dry place for 4 to 6 weeks (more if you live in wet or humid area).
Step 2 - Measure the Fireplace and Mark Location
Measure the dimensions of the fireplace and mark the placement of your new mantel. Maintain at least 20 inches of clearance between the top of the fireplace and the bottom of the new mantel.
Step 3 - Cut the Log into 3 Sections
Transfer the width measurement for the fireplace to the log, and the cut the log to correct length. Next, cut two identical pieces from the log that are about 2 to 3 inches longer than the diameter of the log. These will be the support pieces for the mantel.
Step 4 - Split the Log or Rip Lengthwise
Use a log splitter to create two halves of the log. Alternatively, you could rip the log lengthwise (very hard to do, but possible).
Step 5 - Remove Bark and Sand Edges
Use a chisel and gently remove the bark from the log. Be careful not to dig into the log itself. Use the sander and smooth the edges of the log pieces and make sure they are level.
Step 6 - Create Notches in Mantel and Support Pieces
Use the pencil and draw marks for the notches on the support pieces and the mantel. Create the notches on the mantel on the rounded part of the log and leave about 3 inches on the outside edge of the notches. Use the chisel and hatchet to create notches that are about 1/3 the depth of the log. Create notches on the support pieces as well.
Step 7 - Sand Mantel
Sand the flat surface of the mantel until it is smooth.
Step 8 - Drill Holes in Wall
Use a 3/4 inch masonry bit and drill holes at the marked locations for the two support pieces. Drill the holes about 4 inches deep.
Step 9 - Drill Holes in Mantel Support Pieces
Mark hole locations in the center of each support piece log and drill holes that are 3/4 inch around and about 6 inches deep.
Step 10 - Insert Silicone and Reddy Bolts in Wall
Apply 3 to 4 ounces of silicone in the holes in the wall. Insert the reddy bolts and let the silicone dry.
Step 11 - Apply Silicone to Support Pieces
Fill the holes in the support pieces with 3 to 4 ounces of silicone.
Step 12 - Attach Support Pieces to Wall
Push the support pieces onto the reddy bolts in the wall. Allow silicone to dry.
Step 13 - Place Mantel on Support Pieces and Secure
Lay the mantel on the support logs with the flat surface facing up. Attach to the support pieces with nails.
Step 14 - Apply Stain or Varnish to Mantel
Apply several coats of a non-flammable stain or varnish to the mantel and support pieces.