Cedar Fireplace Mantle

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. Thanks, Monica
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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.
--
Jim in NC



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I didn't know what a cedar mantle was so - dags:
<
http://www.fromthewoods.com/images/custom/stone-and-cedar-mantle.jpg
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?
Mike
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news:Txfpb.3105>

Reminds me of a big ol' Caddy bumper Ed
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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. http://www.pbase.com/monicakm/monicas_misc&page=5 Monica
wrote:

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Who cares about the mantle. Who is Ryanne on page 1? Anymore photos of her? Ed
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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. Monica

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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Classy!
--
--

Mark

N.E. Ohio
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Trent wrote:

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.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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called checking.
+ + + Slight correction: When wood dries it shrinks. When it is dried TOO FAST it may split, which is called checking.
BTW Eastern redcedar tends to shrink only a little PvR
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P van Rijckevorsel wrote:

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 is dried.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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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). PvR
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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
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I'll start looking tomorrow :) Thanks, Monica
wrote:

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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.
Trent wrote:

--

Gerald Ross
Cochran, GA
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Thank you for the tip Gerald. Monica

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Before spending $$$ on wood read the building code on mantles. It is quite strict on protrusion, distance etc. Be a shame to buy something and find out it won't pass.
Mike
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Monica,
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' approach.
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.
Good luck.
Retireb

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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). http://www.pbase.com/image/22803803 Monica

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