Introduction: Rustic Faux Beam Mantel for Under $30

So i decided (actually my wife decided ;) that we needed somewhere to hang our christmas stockings. So i came up with plans for this super quick, one day project that is SUPER affordable. It just involves a few pretty cheap boards and simple assembly procedures. VERY easy for a beginner woodworker to accomplish and it can literally be done in one day!


What you will need:

3= 6 foot 1x8 (white wood pine) 1= 8ft 1x3 (white wood pine)

Miter Saw Table Saw or you can do all cuts with a circular saw. 23ga Pin Nailer (optional) Clamps of various sizes


Step 1: Make Your First 45 Degree Cuts

Start at the miter saw and begin by cutting a 45 degree angle on the short edge (7inch side) of your 3 long boards. You can do this at the table saw if you feel comfortable and have a sled, but i find that it is an easier task at the miter saw. The idea is to make all the boards join at an angle to make them appear as one solid beam.

Step 2: Time to Start Cutting the Long Edges of the Boards at the Table Saw

Now set your table saw blade to 45 degrees. This cheap angle finders are GREAT to ensure you are at the EXACT desired angle! Now begin to make cuts along both long edges (60inch) on the board that will be the Front of the mantel. This front board will have 45 degree cuts on all 4 edges. On the two boards that will be the top and bottom, only cut the 45 on one long edge. The back of the top and bottom boards should have a stock 90 degree edge to butt up against the wall when mounted.

Step 3: Cut Your French Cleat

With the saw blade set at the proper angle, adjust the fence of the table saw to cut the 1x3 board roughly in half to use as your French Cleat to hang the finished Project. It is not crucial that this cut is exactly in the middle of the board as long as there is an identical 45 on both halves of this board, so you can eyeball this step.

Step 4: Cut Your End Cap Pieces

With the blade still set to 45, cut your end cap pieces (2) whereas there are 3, 45 degree sides and 1, 90 degree side on both end cap boards. As in the top and bottom boards, you will want to have one flat edge to rest against the wall in the finished product.

Step 5: Now Lets Take Stock of All Our Pieces

At this point you should have 7 total pieces. The front, top and bottom of the mantel assembly, the two end cap pieces , and the two halves of the french cleat. When you assemble the pieces make sure to pay attention to the grain oreintation of the two end caps so that the illusion of a solid piece is in tact. If the end cap pieces have the grain running in the wrong direction, it will be OBVIOUS that the pieces are separate.

Step 6: Prep Pieces for Glue Up

Lay out the Front, Top, Bottom and End Cap Pieces as they will be in the final orientation. Use Painters tape across the joints and fold the pieces up, using the tape to hold them in place and make sure all the pieces fit properly. If the fit is good, unfold all the parts at the joints lay them flat.

Step 7: Apply Glue to All Miter Joints

Apply a liberal amount of glue to each miter joint. Use a glue brush, stick, or your finger to spread the glue evenly across all of the joint surfaces.

Step 8: Assemble the Pieces

Now that the glue is spread evenly on all joint faces, begin to fold the parts back into shape. Use additional tape to secure the joints, then use a 23ga pin nailer (optional) to add extra strength to the joints. Using the nailer is not a must, but will allow you to move along with the project more quickly as you will not have to wait for the glue to fully cure before proceeding in the project.

Step 9: Clean Up the Glue Squeeze Out

There is some debate on this matter (Jackman) on whether you should wipe off excess glue with a damp rag or allow it to dry and srape it off with a chisel. Personally i find i get a better finish when using the damp rag method and if you leave any glue behind, the stain will not adhere to that area properly! So wiping the glue away is faster, provides a better finish and just makes for an overall better look in my opinion.

Step 10: Attatch the French Cleat

Now its time to attatch the piece that will allow you to hang the mantle and give it the "floating" appearance. Mark the middle of the cleat and the middle of the mantel to give yourself a reference. Apply glue and clamp the cleat in place. I also used pin nails on this piece but you can just allow the glue to cure and the hold will be more than sufficient.

Step 11: Round Over the Mitered Edges

Using a rounded screwdriver, apply pressure to the edge where the two miters meet in each joint. This helps to meld the two pieces into one. Then Sand the entire mantel. When you pass the sander around the edges of the joints use a rounding motion to almost make the miter lines disappear.

Step 12: Apply Finish to Your Mantel

Apply your favorite finish. In this case i chose to use a dark stain color. Apply stain or paint in whatever style you like and you may also add a clear coat, depending on your finish.

Step 13: Time to Hang the Mantel

Now attatch the back/ bottom side of the french cleat to the wall where the Mantel is to be mounted. Using 3 screws, secure the middle screw first so that you may adjust the cleat to be level. Once level is achieved apply the two outer screws. Now that the cleat is secure, place the mantle on top of the opposing cleat to hang it securely on the wall. And you are DONE!!!! Enjoy this quick, easy, cheap project for years to come!!!!

Step 14: Go Watch the Build Video for More in Depth Instruction.

DIY Rustic Faux Beam Mantel for Under $30 Check out the build video for some of the details you may have missed and feel free to comment with any questions!

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