Hi, I have a couple questions concerning a cedar mantle. I've priced them
at various outdoor market places and they're around $1000 and higher. My
husband is very handy in all areas of home construction. He's found a man
(owns a sawmill) that will cut a seven foot cedar trunk, flat on top and the
back side and left natural on the front and bottom. I'm assuming he'll
strip the bark. Cost is $50. My husband intends to take over from there.
Seeing how expensive the mantles sold for, I asked "just what is involved in
making a mantle like this?" Besides the stripping, sanding and varnishing,
he mentioned that the wood had to cure (or season) before the shellac or
varnish. My question is, how LONG does wood have to cure? If there are any
other tips you could share, I'd really appreciate it.
thickness is a year.
You could look around for someone who has a wood kiln, and for a bottle of
his favorite beverage, the manager will most likely throw it in, and you
will have it back in a couple weeks.
Look for hardwood suppliers, large commercial wood suppliers.
I didn't know what a cedar mantle was so - dags:
If this is what Monica is talking about, it could be quite thick. What does
a quarter (or more?) of trunk mean in terms of kiln drying? A bit longer?
A lot longer? Two bottles of bev? Outright rejection?
Thanks for the info guys :) Sounds like we need to stop and rethink this.
This is why I LOVE newsgroups!
Mike, this is more what we have in mind. My personal favorite of these is
the second from the bottom. You can click on page 4 to see the fireplace
this is going on.
Oh gee whiz! Let's keep our minds on the task at hand <lol> She's our 22
year old daughter that's driving us crazy right now! She just announced
she's getting married in March...sorry.
I just called the person we were getting the cedar log from. Was going to
tell him to hold off in light of the information I'd gotten here. He said
these logs had been cut for 2 years :o Guess that changes things.
One of the problems you most will probably encounter is that when wood dries it
shrinks. This causes splits to develop in the wood, which is called checking.
The thicker the piece of wood the more likely it is to check. Fortunately, cedar
is less prone to checking, but some splits will more than likely occur.
Buffalo, NY - USA
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It has been my experience that MILLED lumber when dried TOO FAST will split.
When an ENTIRE LOG is dried without milling it WILL split regardless of how it
Buffalo, NY - USA
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of how it is dried.
+ + +
It is all relative. Factors are the size of the log and the exact wood.
Obviously drying a big log intact at the right speed of drying will be a
passtime so unpopular that nobody can be found actually doing it. Note
however that sawing off the end of logs so as to encourage splitting as much
as possible is quite popular.
Anyway your point is irrelevant since this is milled lumber, although likely
twice or thrice the normal thickness. Given the fact that eastern redcedar
shrinks little it should be doable to dry it free of splitting, but it will
take quite a while (which again will be unpopular).
You seem to be jumping straight from not buying a finished product
straight into buying green timber. There's no need to do this, as it's
much easier to buy froma timberyard, dry and already surface planed.
Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
Make sure you finish it smooth. I have lived in 2 houses with rough sawn
cedar mantELs. They collect dust and it is impossible to wipe them off.
In our last (and current) house, I finally covered it with regular wood
and now it can be dusted.
I knew a guy in Maine who made log tables from Hemlock, cedar, etc.
They were not as large as your mantel, but quite thick -- 6 or more
inches. For them and for your mantle, the shrinking, cracking, etc.
that will occur is part of what nakes them look natural. People still
love the tables, though there have been checks and splits. The splits
are usually on the surface, and not structural.
Many of the reples you have received are or the "wood movement is bad"
school, which is correct in finished products. When I make a oak table
from lumber, I don't want checks and splits. But when I made s log
table from a black cherry tree that Huricane Bob took down years ago
on Long Island, NY, the checking, etc. is part of the charm of the
piece. Its SUPPOSED to look rustic, as I suspect your mantel is also.
I just went and checked the table I made for myself from the same log,
and the bottom has a long (4 foot) crack, but the top (I sawed the log
in half down the center) is fine. The crack is shallow. From the
pictures you show, this supplier has done this before. Ask him/her
what happens. Personally, I woould love such a mantel with contrasting
reds and whites. Checks and splits are natural and part of the 'log'
Incidentally, I've seen similar log mantels in lodges. Usually, they
are resting on significant 'knees' which are cemented into the wall,
usually stone. In the house I had on Long Island, the mantel was a
12x6 by 10 feet long piece of oak. It rested on two 'knees' of stone
built into the stone fireplace. The wood is going to be quite heavy,
as well as allowing for people to lean on it, pull on it, etc.
Go with the log.
Thanks retireb. You're right, this is supposed to look rustic. The den is
of a "lodge" style with a Texas theme. The granite fabricator will be here
tomorrow to hang a 26" tall state of Texas (made from Black Galaxy granite)
on the front of the Austin Chalk fireplace. We do have the stone "knees"
plus there are two pieces of wood above the "knees" that are flush with the
rock. Not sure what that will do but I know it has to do with the mantle.
Thanks for your insight. You've nailed the look we're going for :) Here is
a picture of the fireplace (if you haven't seen it yet).
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