The mantle above the heart of the home...
If your home has a fireplace, with no mantle... well... is it really a fireplace? Just kidding... but I think we all agree that an appropriately styled and crafted mantle is truly a beautiful accent to any hearth and fire. Over the years I have seen many mantles simply brimming with love and memories through portraits and trinkets or finds from worldwide travels. The mantle has such a place in our hearts and homes that the items which we deem worthy of "mantle-ness" (Yeah i made that one up haha) are often some of our most prized and most beloved. Here are two mantles that we've had the honor of crafting this year. Both are reclaimed from railroad ties and were quite the beast to work down. Not only is the wood already a hard species (the smaller was Hickory, the larger Oak), but the treating process makes them even harder and the wood is very rough on cutting tools! Notice floating hangers or brackets, both are common and fit the clients individual needs.
A note on using RR ties... Yes, they are pressure treated with a very harsh chemical called creosote, its what gives them their smell. We worked our materials down to remove much of the surface contaminants and stains, but they still very much show their character and patina. After surfacing, we seal them and finish them off with a full bath coat of polyurethane to seal in what is left and create a food safe barrier for countertops. They do have a lingering smell to the room and may not be for everyone, but is usually unnoticeable for outdoor uses.
Overall these were beautiful projects with a unique look and feel that just cant quite be replicated. There are certainly other exotic woods and materials that I would love to turn into mantles... I promise you, a Sapele or quarter sawn wormy maple would be absolutely stunning!
Thanks so much!