Help: Refinishing a 100 Year-old Oak Fireplace Mantle - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 4 Old 07-24-2017, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 2
View lyelin's Photo Album My Photos
Help: Refinishing a 100 Year-old Oak Fireplace Mantle

Hi all,

I'm refinishing a 100 year-old oak decorative mantle, and I could use the advice of those more experienced than I. I was told that the mantle is made of quartersawn oak, but I'm not sure about that. The mantle likely was original to our 1917 house. I'm planning to refinish the mantle, likely with an oil-rubbed penetrating finish, and install it in our living room. (The house never had an actual fireplace, but decorative mantles are not unusual in our neighborhood.)

I think I made a rookie mistake and need guidance about what to do next. The mantle had about 30 years of paint on it. I removed the paint and sanded the mantle--sanded too much, maybe. Here is what the mantle looked like when I removed all the paint and initially sanded:

When I sanded further, however, I seemed to be removing some of the rays and what I think might be figures in the wood. Here are close ups of the face of the right pillar, the face of the horizontal board at the top of the mantle, and the horizontal face of the shelf in the middle of he mantle:

My question is what to do at this point. Should I continue to sand until I remove the current top layer, showing the emerging layers in each of the faces? Or is there something else I can do to mitigate damage at this point? I'd appreciate any guidance.

lyelin is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 07-24-2017, 08:45 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,995
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
The close up pictures shows where you sanded through veneer. It's oak underneath however it's probably not quartersawn. I think you just have two options. Sand the veneer off until you get down to the plain solid wood underneath or re-veneer the areas sanded off with new quartersawn white oak. It's a nice mantle, I think it deserves having the veneer replaced.
Steve Neul is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 07-24-2017, 10:24 PM
Ole Woodworker
BigJim's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Posts: 4,619
View BigJim's Photo Album My Photos
Only one picture showed up for me, but it does look like quarter sawn to me, usually the rays show up like that on quarter sawn. It wouldn't be the first time I was wrong though. LOL


Anything is possible IF you don't know what you are talking about.
BigJim is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 4 Old 07-25-2017, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 2
View lyelin's Photo Album My Photos
Thanks very much for your advice!
lyelin is offline  

figured harwood, mantle, oak, quartersawn oak, sanding

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DIY mantle and fireplace surround dimensionswoodworks Woodworking Videos 2 04-08-2017 04:26 PM
Securing Live Edge Mantle? Mbrockman5 General Woodworking Discussion 21 03-02-2016 10:56 PM
Fireplace Built in hands made for wood Project Showcase 15 12-31-2015 03:19 PM
my rookie year so far,more to come. GrizzlyHeart Project Showcase 4 09-25-2015 12:22 PM
Mantle building opinion needed mtnwalton Trim Carpentry & Built-Ins 7 09-08-2015 01:24 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome