These are the Mantels I built and installed for a wonderful client, the Stavoe Family, Memorial Day 2012. All built from solid walnut with pine seconds, sprayed with Shellac and General Finishes Enduro-Var.
Classic Dining Room Mantel
You’ll notice that the fireplace is not centered on this peninsula wall. So the family and I worked together to design a mantel that went straight to the wall in the corner. This design is more classic and formal. It’s a very thick top and is screwed upon a French cleat.
Stavoe Dining Room Mantel
Craftsman Sitting Room Mantel
This peninsula wall divides the space into the dining room and a sitting or reading room. From other areas in the house you can see both sides of the peninsula wall, and both mantels. So the family and I wanted the materials and proportions to be the same, even though the style will be less formal in the sitting room. This mantel is also screwed upon a French cleat.
Stavoe Sitting Room Mantel
Walnut Slab Family Room Mantel
The last mantel is in another area of the house, the great room – where the kitchen, eating, and play areas come together. This mantel is made to look like a solid walnut slab, but it’s not. There are threaded inserts recessed in the bottom for stainless steel christmas stocking hooks. This was the install I had the most anxiety about, but it slipped into place on cleats very tight and sturdy.
Stavoe Family Room Walnut Mantel
I’m getting caught up in reverse order, the post regarding design and construction will come next.
Tom Iovino, over at Tom’s Workbench rallied the online woodworking community to create Get Woodworking Week. Uniformly we are all onboard – we love bringing others into the craft. It’s why we blog, and why we #woodchat. Tom’s been noodling on this idea since Woodworking in America 2011, and started driving the effort back in October. I’m sure it’ll be an annual event, and I can’t wait to contribute every year.
Some of my fondest memories woodworking weren’t what you’d call woodworking, I guess. As a kid, a garage full of tools is a wonderland, I spent lots of time in the garage building all kinds of things. I never really thought about the safety risks I was taking everyday, I just enjoyed building. I especially enjoyed the times when my Grandfather would join me in the garage and spend time with me teaching me skills. Not only was he a great teacher, but I really enjoyed the one-on-one time with a great man.
I want my kids to have similar memories, so I often have a visitor in the shop, my almost five year-old daughter Hayden. We sweep, handsaw, and she works on her little block of scrap walnut. She even has a toolbox full of real tools and a canvas apron from Ace Hardware.
Red Toolbox Bug Barn Kit
Today we built a Kit I bought at Woodcraft in Seattle. The store was remodeled in the last year or so, and is huge and well stocked. The owners are awesome, and let me do some filming in their classroom recently when Darrell Peart presented. I had Darrell’s permission too, and that video series will be posted as soon as I can get to the editing.
The Kit was a Bug Barn from Red Toolbox. The Kit was $16 and came with everything needed except for the glue. The instructions were clear enough for Hayden to understand, the build was quick enough to keep her attention, and the piece went together well. All the pieces were pre-cut and pre-drilled, and fairly smooth on the surfaces. Clear plastic panels were pre-cut to size and drilled with vent holes. Assembly only required a screwdriver and a bit of glue. My only negative feedback with the kit is that the screws were low quality, with one being entirely unusable. Beginners should open the kit while they’re still in Woodcraft, and pick up any supplies they need. The Kit was unfortunately built in China.
Call to Action
Kids are easy to find: nieces, nephews, grandkids – and you can even make your own! Go find one, and build a kit with them, or send them a kit. You don’t need to buy a kit - you could make your own. Birdhouses, bug barns, small toolboxes, cookbook holders, pine derby cars, toys, etc. Amazon has a lot of books with plans to make wood toys. Pick a plan and mill the parts. Gather the hardware and even the tools and assemble your own kit. Work through the kit with the kid you found, or send them the kit along with a letter and instructions. Offer your support, time, and encouragement, and get pictures of the final build.
I was pretty happy the other day when heading to my mail box and finding this little beauty
Lie-Nielsen Seattle Hand Tool Flyer
Lie-Nielsen is bringing their Hand Tool Event back to Seattle Central Community College’s Wood Construction Center and I’m going to go there. I was there last year and picked up a set of chisels and a small shoulder plane. This year I think I’ll upgrade to a Lie-Nielsen block plane, and a new wall calendar for my office.
First of all, it’s free. So why wouldn’t I go to see Deneb sharpen? They bring their full line of woodworking hand tools, tshirts, calendars, books, videos, and hand tool care accessories. Everything is setup for you to learn from the expert demonstrators and staff, try the tools yourself, and buy the tools at pretty good deals with no shipping costs. And they have a door prize giveaway so I might get something for free.
If you haven’t been to a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event, I recommend them. Click here to find one near you.