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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / What to do with untreated wood plank mantel.

Dadical
Contributing Member
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I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Mar 2nd, 2012 10:51 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My fireplace mantel is a very dry unfinished 3X10 (full dimensions) that looks like it would suck up a gallon of lemon oil. It's rough cut with a bit of character in the wood that would come out more with oil or a finish. It's seriously impregnated with years of dust and has some old water staining on one end.

My plan is to do a good cleaning and brush out the dust from the grain and the pits & grooves then figure out some sort of treatment.

Oil? Minwax?

It's on a full wall stone fireplace 3 feet above the fire opening.

JimmySee
Contributing Member
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We're last exit on

I-10 west before PCH
Mar 2nd, 2012 11:02 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'd be cautious putting something on a fireplace mantle that is flamable!




Dadical
Contributing Member
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I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Mar 2nd, 2012 11:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yeah, Jimmy, that's up front in my thinking, too. The dried out wood is about like tinder, though. There's got to be somebody in the FDP brain trust that does this sort of thing.

Tall-Fir
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Robbinsdale, MN

...roll on Columbia roll on...
Mar 3rd, 2012 12:05 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Mantels have been wooden forever, just obey building code. Not even a worry. I don't like any material that would impart glossiness whatsoever. So, I would buy a gallon of Watco Natural and slosh it on. Drench it over a fifteen minute time period, with a large throwaway brush, then simply let it dry. I don't know what to do about the water stained end, however. I can't imagine how Watco might make that look. Probably okay, but any board will look great with Watco Natural. Fine product, I used Watco on a maple mantel in my brother's home 25 years ago. Still looks dandy.

TF

De ville
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WA

I ain't no punk or nothn' dog!
Mar 3rd, 2012 01:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

For oil finishing, use Tung oil. Formby's is good. There are other good ones also. You should always do a test in a spot that wont be seen, to make sure you like the look.

For a glassier finish use polyurethane satin or semi-gloss depending on how shiny or glassy you want it. You can brush it on in several thin coats. Buy a quality brush at the paint store. Sand with 220 between coats if needed. Maybe not though if it's a very rough wood. Use a vacuum with soft bristles to vacuum up the poly dust. Then use tack cloth to pick up the rest of the dust from sanding. Don't press to hard with the tack cloth. You don't want to leave the sticky stuff on the finish.

If your mantel is very rough/splintery, then I'd recommend sanding it first to take off the fuzz as it were. If your only using the Formby's, them maybe not. It's your call, I haven't seen the mantel.

If the mantel is easily removable, and if you want to go crazy with the project, you could have the mantel sand blasted. It makes the grain pop more and cleans up the fuzz. Have a pro do this. Someone that has blasted wood before as you don't want the sand to get embedded into the wood.

Alternately to do a simple cleaning and preparation to get the dust and grim out; just clean out the valleys between the grains with a stiff clean/new bristle brush and vacuum up the dust and grim. Also you could buy a can of Clean Air and blast it a bit as you brush. This will blow the dust all around though, which is fine, if your working on the removed mantel in the garage for example.

I'm linking a few photos of a mantel I did a little over a year ago. This was an addition I designed and built.

This mantel was simply Douglas Fir that I had blasted with sand. Later it was coated with the poly and it came out awesome. I don't have any finished photos with the poly though. The mantel had not been plugged yet in the photos. I think you'll see how the sand blasting brings out the grain. The grain is twice as defined at it looks in the photo. It can be grabbed with finger tips.

Watch for runs if you go with the poly. Again, thin coats. Always refer to the direction on the can also.

I found a link to show you some good basic step by step for applying the poly.

Mantel

De ville
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WA

I ain't no punk or nothn' dog!
Mar 3rd, 2012 01:45 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

2

Mantel close up

De ville
Contributing Member
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WA

I ain't no punk or nothn' dog!
Mar 3rd, 2012 01:46 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

>

Site with direction for applying the poly

De ville
Contributing Member
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WA

I ain't no punk or nothn' dog!
Mar 3rd, 2012 02:31 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Not sure what to say about the water staining. If it's just the surface, maybe sanding it lightly. Also sand blasting might remove that.

It cost 100.00 dollars to have the pictured mantel sand blasted.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Mar 3rd, 2012 03:22 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Try mayonaisse on that water spot.

It works for water rings left on tables from glasses.

SS2
Contributing Member
****

Alexandria, Virginia

Mar 3rd, 2012 05:06 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Try mayonaisse on that water spot."

Interesting, haven't heard of that trick before. Got a few situations I'm gonna try that!


Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Mar 3rd, 2012 06:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm reading "The Help" right now, and that mayo trick gets mentioned by one of the housekeeper characters.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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That chicken

is WRONG, baby.
Mar 3rd, 2012 08:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Mayo and a sprinkle of salt.

If it were me treating that mantelpiece, I'd use Danish Oil. The clear stuff goes on dark, and then it turns light once it cures. Danish oil is actually a wiping varnish that dries hard, so it's not a fire hazard like an oil finish that never dries.

If you want something darker than what you have there, use. Tinted Danish oil.

This finish dries to a matte finish if you lay on a few applications, wiping dry after each application. This type of finish goes better with brick than something shiny.

If you want to go simple and easy: Use a water-based polyurethane that dries to a matte finish.

Dadical
Contributing Member
**********
**

I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Mar 3rd, 2012 09:27 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for all the good info. It's currently well aged and darkened to a medium somewhat reddish brown. It doesn't match the paneling or doors so I don't have to be too concerned about exactly how much the appearance will change with cleaning and finishing. Anything will be an improvement.

I checked last night and it's easy to remove. It's just resting on two big rocks and pushed about an inch into the stone wall.

SteveT
Contributing Member
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W. Washington State

This mind intentionally left blank
Mar 3rd, 2012 09:43 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If you're mantel gets hot enough that the finish flammability is a concern after it's dry, you have other problems.

I think I'd wire brush it to keep the rough character but loosen and remove the dust and any loose wood fibers. If you have a compressor that would be great for a final de-dusting before you finish IF you're going to keep it rough.

What finish you use is your preference but I really like a matte finish polyurethane to hold things together, make it easier to clean, but keep some of the rough appearance.

Dadical
Contributing Member
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**

I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Mar 3rd, 2012 10:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It's probably original from when that part of the house was built in 1973. Other than some very old water staining it shows no damage. There is no heat discoloration at all.

De ville
Contributing Member
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WA

I ain't no punk or nothn' dog!
Mar 3rd, 2012 10:00 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

+1 SteveT

Short of having a flame come in contact with the mantle, you'd have to get the mantel hot enough to distill off flammable gasses which would still need a spark or flame to ignite at the tempitures that the mantel would just start to distill.

I don't see it happening short of flames reaching the mantel.


Sometimes the air in an air compressor is not clean. Often the tanks fill with condensation which collects in the bottom of the tank and rusts. Also there is usually an oil residue in that water. It's pretty nasty stuff. If you had a inline water trap, you'd be better off. Bottom line, make sure the air is clean that your blowing at your project.

(This message was last edited by De ville at 10:03 PM, Mar 3rd, 2012)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
**********
**********

That chicken

is WRONG, baby.
Mar 3rd, 2012 10:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I would vacuum it with a ShopVac and brush on the hose, rather than blow it with air. Scrub away with the brush as the vacuum runs.

Dadical
Contributing Member
**********
**

I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Mar 3rd, 2012 10:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I can also hit it with a dry scrub brush to loosen the dust between passes with the vacuum.

SS2
Contributing Member
****

Alexandria, Virginia

Mar 4th, 2012 03:08 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"3 feet above the fire opening."

If I remember the code correctly (too early in the morning to go looking for my code books to check the exact dimension), you're about 2X the minimum clearance required for that depth of mantel above the fire box. Fire hazard won't be an issue.

I'd go with an oil finish like Tung or Boiled Linseed oil. Watco is good stuff also, but I have a memory of not liking the smell of it when using it. I'm not a fan of poly aside for use on floors and doors.


FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / What to do with untreated wood plank mantel.




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