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post #1 of 24 Old 07-18-2015, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Fireplace mantle construction

I've been asked by a friend to build a mantle for her fireplace. She is having her house remodeled and this is a part of the project. I've never built a mantle but it seems like something that's best built on site by the contractors trim guy. The pic she sent is a painted mantle that could be made up of various crown and bead moulding. While I'm sure I can build it, as a contractor myself, I don't like when a client brings in their own sub so I'm thinking of passing on it. I'd appreciate any opinions.
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-18-2015, 04:00 PM
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Does your friend want a self standing mantle or a wall mounted mantle?
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-18-2015, 04:04 PM
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Don't bow out till you put a big number on it. Make it worth your while. You may find they like the price and you both are going to be happy$$$$$$

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post #4 of 24 Old 07-18-2015, 04:22 PM
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you were asked by a friend...

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Originally Posted by tinstar View Post
I've been asked by a friend to build a mantle for her fireplace. She is having her house remodeled and this is a part of the project. I've never built a mantle but it seems like something that's best built on site by the contractors trim guy. The pic she sent is a painted mantle that could be made up of various crown and bead moulding. While I'm sure I can build it, as a contractor myself, I don't like when a client brings in their own sub so I'm thinking of passing on it. I'd appreciate any opinions.

This is different than just subbing it out in my opinion. She asked you because she admires your work or whatever reason and you shouldn't feel like your stepping on others toes. On one hand she gets a personalized piece from you which may be her reasoning....? On the other hand, if you pass, that may "tick her off" who knows? If money is not an object/issue for her, then I would probably do it.

As far as putting top $$ price on it that may not work with a friend and that would be a good reason to pass on it to avoid a conflict. You are in a bit of a corner .... accept it and loose a friendship, reject it loose the job. Only you can make the decision.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 07-18-2015 at 04:25 PM.
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-18-2015, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Toolman, I assume it's wall mounted. The picture shows a marble or stone mantle that she wants replicated in wood to be painted. It seems to be pretty straight forward thing to build though I was unsure if this is something that's typically made in a shop and sent to the site to be installed or if it's just built in place.
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post #6 of 24 Old 07-18-2015, 05:10 PM
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Great advice from previous posts. Your friend may have seen or heard of your fabulous work, and is just "shopping" for a good price to justify her mantle project. IMO, find out as much as you can BEFORE you commit to that job, including what has to be done, material, etc., & have a SIGNED contract if you accept. Had some jobs where the client continually changed their mind, material, and finish date, and a relative that never paid because "we're family". Trust your gut! Be safe.
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post #7 of 24 Old 07-18-2015, 06:26 PM
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I built them on site when I trimmed houses. Very simple to build, really just a bunch of boxes, crown, and some detail moulding here and there.
This is especially true if it will be paint grade. If the mantle is to be stained then I would take very careful measurements from the site and build it in the shop.
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-18-2015, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice.

BZ, it looks like she wants it painted so I think I'll tell her to use her contractors trim guy to save money. It's an hour drive one way and I have other shop projects ( furniture for same client ) that need to be done.
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post #9 of 24 Old 07-18-2015, 10:03 PM
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That mantle is available in marble, $3800, not bad.
http://www.mantelsdirect.com/marble_fireplace.html

Last edited by Hammer1; 07-18-2015 at 11:25 PM.
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-18-2015, 10:05 PM
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Mantle

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinstar View Post
Toolman, I assume it's wall mounted. The picture shows a marble or stone mantle that she wants replicated in wood to be painted. It seems to be pretty straight forward thing to build though I was unsure if this is something that's typically made in a shop and sent to the site to be installed or if it's just built in place.
The picture shows a self standing Mantle rather than just the wall mounted shelf you see on many. The design is very pretty and can look great in wood. I know BZ said he prefers to build on-site, but I prefer to build a piece like this in my shop, deliver it complete and attach to the wall. I
have more tools in my shop for a faster build.
On a project like this, you will want to start with accurate measurements of the fireplace opening, the electrical outlets and the gas jet if it has one. I suggest placing the sides no closer than 6" to the opening and placing the Mantle shelf 12" or more above the opening. Since its paint grade, you have your choice of cheaper materials.
Good luck. It looks like it will be a good project.
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post #11 of 24 Old 07-19-2015, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Hammer, thanks for that. It would seem that $3,800.00 was out of her price range and $500.00 is what her contractor budgeted( which she said was ridiculously low). Quite the range.

Toolman, thanks for the clarification, I assumed it's attached to the wall so wall mounted duh. Learn something new everyday. I was a real estate inspector at one time and remember a building code related to fireplace mantles, something about distance to combustibles and how deep the top shelf is. I'll have to dust off the IRC if I do this project.
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post #12 of 24 Old 07-19-2015, 12:35 AM
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In the early 1980's I built 98 of these in my shop, they were in three parts, designed to overlap the marble face and be scribed to fit the wall by the installer.
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post #13 of 24 Old 07-19-2015, 12:26 PM
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In the early 90's I worked for a company in Alabama called MantelCraft. Everything is pre-built and sent. You can check out the web site as a point of pricing..

http://www.mantelcraft.com/wood-fireplace-mantels/
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post #14 of 24 Old 07-19-2015, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinstar View Post
Hammer, thanks for that. It would seem that $3,800.00 was out of her price range and $500.00 is what her contractor budgeted( which she said was ridiculously low). Quite the range.

Toolman, thanks for the clarification, I assumed it's attached to the wall so wall mounted duh. Learn something new everyday. I was a real estate inspector at one time and remember a building code related to fireplace mantles, something about distance to combustibles and how deep the top shelf is. I'll have to dust off the IRC if I do this project.

I'm not at all surprised that her contractor only budgeted 500 bucks for it. I used to charge the builder 300 when I built them in his new homes, and that was 10 years ago. Only took me about 3 hours to build so it was a nice deal. Painters came behind and filled all the nail holes & painted it. Quick & dirty.
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post #15 of 24 Old 07-20-2015, 12:31 PM
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I always build them in the shop.Better tools and more control over the project and the finish.
Here's one of my first.I think the pictures dates it with some 8 track tapes.I've been at it awhile.

As far as the question.I would give her the I don't care if I get it or not price and see how it goes.I'm also a contractor and don't mind if the HO brings in a sub but their work better be equal to mine or it would PMO a bit.
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post #16 of 24 Old 07-20-2015, 12:40 PM
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aside from cost, convenience, etc

It may depend on the design...? Two of them posted above have turned 1/2 columns, one is just a tr4imed out box. You can buy the columns at additional expense which may have not been in the original contractor's bid.... who knows what the lady wants?

Site built or shop built .... it may depend on the design, just sayin'

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #17 of 24 Old 07-20-2015, 02:14 PM
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tinstar,
I know I'm late into this and I know how you feel about the sub thing; I've had it happen to me more than enough times in the past. Regardless of the quality of the subs work, above or below your own standards, it's usually a cost related issue.

I had a bid to reroof sidewall and replace all the trim on a house with Azek, (don't like the stuff AT ALL). I then got a call from the Mrs., a week or 2 later saying they were going to use a diff cont. for the roof and sidewall, could I give them a separate price to do the trim. This was the same woman who set her hair on fire while burning brush in the back yd the day we measured the house. Ben tackled her to the ground and I wrapped my jacket around her head while she was screaming and fighting back because she didn't believe us that she and her hajib were on fire.

Anyway, I told her, her cont. of choice should and should want to do the roof trim to ensure his roofing aligned properly. Well, he didn't do the trim, had already roofed and wanted to get onto the sidewall pronto. I went back a couple days later, climbed up to the roof and after maybe 30 secs came back down. Not only was the field work sloppy but the overhang was a trapezoid instead of square. I turned her down, saying the trim should have been done prior to anything else and because of the horror show on the roof; I would not take the responsibility of attempting to match the roof trim to the overhang and still maintain proper wall contact and orientation for C boards and eave trim.

The cont could have kept his mouth shut, put the gable trim on correctly then recut the roofing overhang to match it, the roof was 2 to 3 stories high from eave to ridge no one would ever know how bad it looked up there. But I figured if he wasn't smart enough to do the job right the 1st time why save his or their asses.

So to make a long story longer, I was introduced to them via my belurved and late dentist, I later got an earful from my dentist and wife who were upset because of my refusal to do the work; the lost cust were clients and social friends. I informed the Dr. and Mrs. as to the details which their friends neglected in their commiserations.

I'd say bow out, not because you're upset but because you don't want to get mixed up in another's work, especially if you end up having to alter existing work to satisfy your own standards to make it right. Add that to the 1 hr drive to the job it ain't worth it.

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post #18 of 24 Old 07-20-2015, 03:36 PM
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Research is everything on mantels.

Customers don't know chit.Your job is......do you play the customer's wants/don't wants....or do you use your advanced knowledge and steer them in a direction that moves them to a higher understanding?

OMG...the responsibility that is at hand here,on one hand...."it's all about the money".On another hand,you are doing "justice" to not only your perspective but those who follow.And,if you don't instantly,"get that".....then there's work to be done.....just sayin.

Just an FYI....we have a library full of mantel material.If you want to consider yourself a "mantel builder".....you know,a little reading goes a long arse way.

Those who say it cannot be done shouldn't interrupt the people doing it.
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post #19 of 24 Old 07-20-2015, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
It may depend on the design...? Two of them posted above have turned 1/2 columns, one is just a tr4imed out box. You can buy the columns at additional expense which may have not been in the original contractor's bid.... who knows what the lady wants?

Site built or shop built .... it may depend on the design, just sayin'
The mantle in my pic are full round turned columns.Just to clarify.I lost a hard drive with all of my newer pics.I think this one was scanned from a 35 mm pic in the 80's on a half assed printer.
Nothing to do with the op but your take on the square sections being built in place is something I would agree with.Could be eaiser that way but probably not quicker.
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post #20 of 24 Old 07-20-2015, 07:52 PM
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I'd just take the buyer to the web site, knock a few bucks off and install it.

This is not a complicated deal unless your unsure. But you do need to know the regulations...
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