The Wood Whisperer

Recently I was exploring our Tivo’s perk of offering podcast-like content.  The quality is excellent and this show, The Wood Whisperer, was a real find.  I have at least two friends who I consider to be fine wood workers, one professionally, the other as a hobbyist; I don’t at all consider myself to be even near to having such a level of skill.  I’m more of the “see nail, pound it” ilk but as I delve deeper into our projects I’m seeing that one day I’m might step into the light.  Until then, this show (and of course, Tom Silva and Norm Abram of This Old House), are drawing me closer.

Trimming out our windows and building the mantle were baby steps for me.  Sometimes I feel like I’m speaking first year spanish when it comes to woodworking/carpentry terminology so tonight I decided to solidify a few vocab words.  Here’s the back of one of my GTD hipster pocketbook notecard drawings that I filled in the blanks on:

And here is the Anatomy of Window Trim drawing (from This Old House) that taught me what words I was actually looking for:

Anatomy of Window Trim, source: This Old House

-Matt

My carpenter

This was the scene I came home to one evening last week.  When I called home from work toward the end of that day, Matt told me “you don’t need to rush home anytime soon.”  I responded with a sarcastic thanks.  Of course it wasn’t because he didn’t want to see me, it was because all this was going on.  Please note that there are FOUR nail guns on the living room floor.  It was no problem for me to stay away longer because 1) I had plenty of food at work, 2) I had plenty of work to do, and 3) I needed to stop by Lowe’s on the way home to buy paint for the bathroom and one of the bedrooms.  Colors to be revealed when we get the painting done, which should be within the next week or two.  When I walked in the front door, Matt was literally holding up the TV trying (and failing) to get it clipped on to the wall mount bracket.  My timing was lucky; it’s a two person job.  But just look how proud he was:

And I’m proud too.  I love it that my hubby does things like this.  See Matt’s posts about how he did it and his SketchUp drawing of how it will look once the last bits of trim are added.

-Kelly

Mantel Photos

Starting at the end and working backward.  I finished building the majority of our mantel the other day.  I used Google’s free application, SketchUp, to crystallize the final design.  The original mantel looked like this:

Kelly came up with the idea to replace our old oil furnace with a highly efficient Mantis gas fireplace.  When we decided it was the right thing to do, we also rearranged the whole living room.

Once we improved the living room layout, part of which involved purchasing a flat screen, I proceeded to build a structure around the old brick chimney/fireplace. I didn’t mention it when I posted about building the structure how I tied into the wall framing and the mantle top.  I basically screwed 2x4 legs into the wall framing.  The legs each incorporated two 2x4s tied together in an L-shape with some 1/2” plywood to give me enough room to run 2x4 horizontals across the front of the chimney.  Then I built a couple of rectangles out of 2x2s so that any plywood facade could be tied into framing.  Here’s what I started with the other day:

Next, I used 18 gauge 1” nails (as I recall) to attach bead board and some finish grade plywood to the sides and top center of the mantle.  I had a good supply of bead board I had purchased during the summer for prototyping the exterior soffit (but then abandoned using bead board thus leaving me with a surplus of 1 1/2 4x8’ sheets) so I decided it would help distinguish the columns I was envisioning on the right and left.  Here are some links to the soffit project (my post; Kelly’s post) and looking back I see that we need to post the final caulked and painted photos because the finished version looks really good.

Taking down the mounted TV was a definitely a 2-3 person task but I managed to not throw out my back or make a $900 mistake when I brought it back down off the wall.  Ever since I had mounted the TV I had been a bit nervous about it not crashing off the wall so getting it down and knowing I was going to build a much stronger backing was a real motivation for getting this project underway.  Once the TV was down there was no going back because God knows we couldn’t survive another day without watching The Closer :-).

Here I have the 3/4” cabinet grade plywood fastened to the wall with screws and 12 gauge nails.  I’ve started nailing in the MDF 1x6” across the top of the mantle and on the base, 1x4” and 1x3” legs on the left column.

Before I attached the legs, I had to build out from the 2x2 and 2x4 structure at the edges around the fireplace flange so that I would have a single plane to attach the MDF.  When I previously fastened the plywood, I left a buffer of about 1/2” so that I wouldn’t have to cut the plywood perfectly so that it would be flush with the outside of the mantle and the inside (near the flange).  I ripped down (using my table saw setup) some MDF 3/8” strips to get me close to the plane I wanted.  This helped me get flush in three dimensions (with the plywood and into the fireplace opening with the plane of the 2x2s).  It’s hard to see but when your strips are very small, MDF splits pretty easy when you hit it with a nail so I switched over to staples.  One split I had to rip out and put in a small piece (Robert had a name for this practice/piece but I can’t remember it at the moment).  While my work wasn’t perfect, I decided it was good enough and pushed on.

Before remounting the TV I put 1/4” bead board across the breadth of the plywood backer.  I needed to cut one sheet into two 42” tall sections so that the beads would line up vertically and so that I could use the lap edging that adorns the long sides of bead board (the lap edging allows you to butt the long side of the sheets together so that the joint just looks like another bead).

If you made it this far… thanks!  Now go back to the beginning and hopefully you’ll appreciate the final (almost) product.  After I re-attached the TV mount, Kelly helped me get the TV back on the mounting arm.  Fortunately for me, she came home at the perfect time—all of the construction was done and I was starting to sweat bullets that I couldn’t get the weighty TV back on the the mount by myself.

To finish the project I need to run some more MDF vertically toward the ceiling from the top of the mantel.  In my mind this will carry the outside lines of the two columns up toward the ceiling and emphasize the chimney.  We also need to finalize how these legs will someday tie into crown molding: so there is a horizontal detail at the very top of the bead board (where it meets the ceiling) that still needs to be worked out.

Thanks for reading!

—Matt

Mantel SketchUp Drawing.  Today I threw myself into actually building it.  There’s a few more details yet to be added (in real life) but it’s 75% done.  I need someone to be my 25% person so I can start painting the small bedroom.  Kelly pushed me to hand draw a few versions, I lost the best drawing during my “Home Depot closing in 10 minutes frenzied state” a week ago, and I finally decided I should really cut my teeth on SketchUp to really get it right.  A lot of fun creating the drawings and even more fun finally building it.  More details and pictures soon.
—Matt

Mantel SketchUp Drawing.  Today I threw myself into actually building it.  There’s a few more details yet to be added (in real life) but it’s 75% done.  I need someone to be my 25% person so I can start painting the small bedroom.  Kelly pushed me to hand draw a few versions, I lost the best drawing during my “Home Depot closing in 10 minutes frenzied state” a week ago, and I finally decided I should really cut my teeth on SketchUp to really get it right.  A lot of fun creating the drawings and even more fun finally building it.  More details and pictures soon.

—Matt

If we had more room around the TV and this had a fireplace below the TV, I would love to have our mantel look like this.
-Matt

If we had more room around the TV and this had a fireplace below the TV, I would love to have our mantel look like this.

-Matt

(via notmybeautifulhome)

Tags: mantel