Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Barn Beam Mantle

When we moved into our shop, we moved into an empty box.  Sir Knight and my dad built a loft and stairs and we used furniture groupings to delineate rooms.  Over the years the "shouse" has become more and more homey but, of course, still lacks any kind of architectural detail.  Every ounce of "character" has had to come from us, not the shop.

Ever since Sir Knight, the children and I salvaged beams from a pioneer era milking barn, I have been wanting to use one of the beams as a mantle over our Procom gas stove.  This past weekend, Sir Knight and Master Calvin got out their saws and drills and brought my anticipated barn beam mantle to life! 

The first thing they did was measure the stove and determine how tall the mantle needed to be.  After measuring the barn beam, we determined how far apart the supports needed to be and cut those out of old oak packing crate beams.    Once the cuts had been made Sir Knight drilled through the uprights into the beam and then secured them with extra large screws, which he countersunk, so they wouldn't be evident from the face of the mantle.

The mantle balancing on the uprights

Putting in the screws

Help from Master Calvin
Although the mantle was fairly stable, Sir Knight wanted to bolt it to the wall so that it wouldn't accidentally fall on someone. He built a bracket out of an old piece of racking and screwed it to the underside of the mantle and then attached it to the wall, permanently securing the mantle and instantly adding "architectural character" to Little Shouse on the Prairie.

The new mantle - front and center!

The mantle was such a small thing, but it has delighted me immensely!  I know that many a blustery winter evening will be spent gathered around the hearth, enjoying the beauty that Sir Knight and young Master Calvin wrought with their work-worn hands.


  1. When we purchased our first home the mantle was a piece of cedar. My father in law who was a woodworker brought us a mantle made from a piece of walnut from his farm. It was very nice and quite an improvement. We moved that mantel to our second home and again when we moved to our present home. We do not have a fireplace in this our final home so we have no place for the mantel but we still have that loving piece of wood from Albert and his farm.

  2. Looks nice! Great job guys.
    Montana Guy

  3. Just a friendly thought I hope you put a shield under the bottom of the mantle to deflect the heat that rises from this type of heater. That old wood is highly combustible. Looks very nice.

  4. Hi, Really enjoy your blog. Thanks. Another friendly comment. Is that a Swiss Army blanket you have hanging behind the heater? I would think that would be very combustible. Just a thought. Thanks again.

  5. All I have to say is: MORE MAID, MORE MAID, MORE MAID!!!

  6. Your new mantel looks lovely! I can well imagine sitting around this with your sweet family, singing hymns and discussing "life". Loved the times I had the privilege of spending with you and your family!! Very sweet memories of your generous hospitality, sweet family and cozy "shouse"!

  7. It's beautiful. And the history...... Now if that mantle could only talk.


  8. Looking forward to your next blog post. The mantle is very nice and adds a nice touch.

  9. FYI, it's called a Mantle Piece. A Mantle is a winter jacket, that you hang on the Mantle Piece, in front of the blazing fire, when you come in from the cold. Common mistake.

  10. The mantle is just awesome and adds too. Waiting for your next post.