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  Craftsman Mantelpiece: JLC Show-2004  

Several people have asked about the mantelpiece from the 2004 JLC shows. Some wanted to know what happened to it. I threw it away in Portland after assembling and tearing it down five times!

Others wanted to know more about how to build it. This article should help.

Remember, the overall dimensions of the mantelpiece (pilaster height and mantelshelf width), will depend on the size of your firebox AND your local code. Many codes require 12 in. clearance from combustibles at the top of the firebox AND the sides. Some require only 6 in. clearance at the sides. Be sure to check your local building code requirements!



This is a 'simple' mantelpiece, not just because it ends at the mantelshelf and has no overmantel, but because the design is easy to execute: The pilasters and frieze are plain hollow boxes.



The beauty of the design depends entirely on the Craftsman-style entablature, which evokes the lines of a classical Greek temple. A delicate bead molding at the bottom of the frieze emphasizes the architrave position; a single crown profile, with a terminating ogee, represents the entire cornice. What could be simpler. All the moldings are from the WindsorONE Craftsman Style Collection.



The most challenging part of this mantel are the corbels. Watch the video below for a few tips on how to make that job easier and much more enjoyable.




The Drawings



In this drawing, the crown is removed to show the tops of the corbels.


I made the pilasters 6 1/2 in. wide, so they'd have enough heft to support the tall entablature. That means the block above the corbel must be 6 1/2 in. wide, too, so the crown can wrap around the pilaster without additional breaks.



The corbels are 11 1/2 in. tall in the drawing, which means you have to assemble them without cutting much off the width of a 1x12. I'd suggest making the corbels FIRST, then using the height of the corbels, plus the height of the crown, to establish the overall height of the entablature. That way, it's easy to align the bead molding on the bottom of the corbels with the bead molding below the frieze.



The frieze board is backed up with a 1x6 frame, which adds an additional 3/4 in. of depth.


The frieze board is made by edge-gluing a 1x12 and a 1x4. The 1x2 bed mold for the crown covers that glue joint. Like I said, this is a VERY simple mantelpiece to build!
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