A little history about this fireplace. It was removed from a home built in 1922 located in Lincoln County Tennessee. The home was a Sears and Roebuck home that was delivered over the railways. The home had two identical fireplaces one in the living room the other in the bedroom on the same wall. When a friend of mine decided to sell the mantel, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I needed a headboard for my spare bedroom and this mantel had great bones and would make a beautiful headboard.
First step was to remove the layers of paint! Yes, this is probably the worst part but let me tell you, I have found a great product to help you with this. It is called Citri strip paint and varnish striper. This stripper worked like a charm. All I did was follow the directions on the back of the can. You can find this at most home improvement stores.
As you can see below, I took a plastic scraper and the paint came right off!
Next step was to use a sander to get off any stubborn paint. Honestly, the stripper worked great so the only trouble I had was in the crevices. I used a wire brush but word of advice, be extra soft with brushing so not to damage the wood and always go with the grain.
Once I got the paint off, I realized it wasn’t the color wood that I wanted. It was too red for me. This next step is what I tried but its not necessary if you like the color of your piece.
After a little research, I decided that I wanted to bleach the wood to get rid of the red tones. There are two ways that I found. One was using undiluted bleach the other was Easy Off Oven Spray. I decided to try Easy Off Oven Spray. Yes, you heard that right…
This is where you will need to test your piece to see how light you want your wood. I left the oven spray on for about 2 hours before I sprayed it down with the water hose. It wasn’t light enough for me so I sprayed it again and left it for about 4 hours. After the second spray down, it was exactly the right color. It does help to have a sunny day above 60 degrees.
Allow the mantel to dry for about 24 hours before bringing it inside.
The final step was determining what material I wanted to use to close in the hole of the fireplace. My first thought was using plywood, batting and material but as my girls say, I have about 15 layers of paint on my walls because I paint every couple of years. With that thought, I decided to go with shiplap to close in the hole. This is wood that is prepackaged from a local home improvement store that is super easy to use. It has a tongue and groove and very lightweight. If you can’t find it near you, another option is bead board which comes in sheets and just cut to fit.
Attaching the shiplap to the fireplace, I laid the fireplace on its front using wood glue in the tongue and groove shiplap and nailed it to the back of the fireplace. That’s it.
Look how beautiful it came out. Now to add the bed and DECORATE!
Little bit about me: I love the detail in antique furniture, old homes and buildings. The workmanship of the craftsman that build these items, shows devotion, pride and a skilled trade. My passion and love of refurbishing was instilled in me at an early age, by both my daddy and grandfather being carpenters. Growing up with these trades, I quickly realized that something old is well seasoned and perfect to refurbish and its all in the details. My grandfather was a master carpentry finisher. Cutting wood, installing trim, wainscoting, building crown all of which added the special touches and details to a home.
I hope that you have been inspired and I look forward to sharing my next project with you.
Southern Crossroads Creations “Restoration of Heart & Home”