Here’s a recent job from Pure Nard Woodworking that we did in November in Champaign IL. The client had recently purchased their home and wanted to do something different with the fireplace mantel that was there. They asked about doing a barn wood beam to which we have a few hand hewn beams in storage. We heavily cleaned the beam and put a coat of Seal Coat on it, then sanded it and applied a Dull water based finish. When we arrived at the client’s home the mantle had already been removed and we were ready to start.
From there we cut into the wall and framed up in side of the wall some supports that we could mortise into the back of the beam. Of course with all projects like this, we heavily framed the interior of the wall because the weight of the solid white oak barn beam was close to 175 lbs!
We put a deep 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ into the back of the beam to accept the supports coming from the wall. the beam slipped on quite snuggly and then we set it with screws in the top and bottom to secure the beam onto the supports. Then we took two supports that we had cut from the same beam and prefinished and applied them to the bottom of the beam as corbels to provide additional support and to complete the look of the mantel.
The masons then completed the job by applying the stone around the mantel. Not all masons put mortar behind the stones but these gents did and I think it look as though it were there all the time!!