Good luck with your mantle project. Below is a link to a plan I build
quite frequently for one of my customers. The columns feature raised
panel elements, the architrave is radiused, and the top is built up
using stock crown molding. The whole thing is made from MDF - you'll
need a sheet of 3/4" mdf, a quarter sheet of 1/2" mdf (for the raised
panels), and a small piece of 1/8" hardboard. When I build this I use
particle board for the blocking and non-exposed pieces to help cut
Here's my disclaimer: I just moved my plan for it from a spiral bound
notebook page to cad, and haven't built it off this redrawn version of
the plan yet - so you may want to double check the cut list (I've been
know to juxtaposition numbers occasionally). The dimensions for the
rails and stiles are sized to the raised panel bit set that I use -
your bit set will cut differently so these dimensions will probably
need to be adjusted. Also, the dimensions on the top piece and top
blocking will be dependent upon the crown molding that you use.
Here's a hint: make the raised panels first, make the columns out of
the raised panels second, make the center architrave third. Then,
assemble these components and make/attach the top pieces.
This drawing doesn't reference any of the profiles that are routed on
the edges - just about anything will look good, but I suggest using
profiles that are easy to sand after they are primed and not too
delicate as to avoid future damage.
To make the radiused architrave, I made a template from 5/8" particle
board, carefully cut the template out with a jig saw, then laminated a
5/8" wide strip of 1/8" hardboard to the cut surface using glue and
brads. This results in a great template for pattern routing (for
cutting multiples, this saves a load of time and $$$). I was going to
have my template cut on a CNC machine so it would be very accurate, but
this method gave me close to perfect results using pieces from my scrap
bin (read: kept $$$ in my pocket).
Here's a link to the offsets to make your own template. It's easy to
loft the template - just transfer the offsets to both sides of a piece
of particle board then you are ready to go using finish nails at the
offset marks and a flexible batton (I like to use a piece of 1/8"
hardboard that is about 1 1/2 inches wide as a batton when laying out
radius cuts like this).
Finally, this mantle is designed to fit a 36" x 36" zero clearance gas
fireplace - remember to adjust the dimenisions to meet your area's
building codes (and to keep your house from burning down!!!).