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Outbacker 10-22-2008 07:29 PM

Fireplace mantle-Fir or Maple???
I have a rock fireplace (large rocks concreted together, flat faces showing), and it is of a darker colour. I have a gas fireplace in the hole at the bottom (I know, nice description :confused: ). I want to get a mantle installed, but am having trouble deciding on either a fir beam, or maple. The mantle will be 3 inches thick, 10 inches deep and I believe that it is 10 feet wide. The wood will be stained to show the wood grain. I do not want to cover the grain and hide it, but rather bring it to the surface. The stain will be medium dark in colour, so it will not be bright like pine.
Any thoughts to help me decide on the wood? Which is better? Which will look better 10 years from now?
Any other thoughts on this would be appreciated.



spaz2965 10-22-2008 07:48 PM

Bob, I also put a gas fireplace in and bought my mantle at lowes am very happy with it hope this help I think that it is oak. I was trying to post a picture of mine but don't know how to any help?

Square Eye 10-22-2008 10:44 PM

Fir has a long straight grain that in my opinion would compliment the stone where Maple can have a wild grain pattern that may look a bit odd with the stone. Maple also has rays that look kind of odd. Rays are the prism like effect that some types of wood have that shows in certain light. As for durability, The fir will hold up well and should be as stable as the maple but heat can have a crazy effect on any type of wood. As different as these two types of wood are, You may want to consider how you want it to look when finished.
Maple has more of an ornamental look and is usually finished smooth and a bit glossy. Maple will yellow with age.
Fir has a more rustic look, can splinter at the corners, and is usually finished in darker colors and not as easy to get a glass smooth finish. Fir darkens with age in hues of red or brown.
3x10 and 10' long with stone just sounds like a better place for Fir to me.

spaz2965 10-23-2008 06:01 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I will try and post picture

Attachment 903

inspectorD 10-23-2008 06:20 AM

I too would go with the fir, if I had too.:o

My first choice would be some old chestnut or an oak beam. You can find them by posting in the free wanted section of craigslist or you local penny paper.
Or ask around your to freinds and neighbors as to who has an old barn that fell down. Then use a hand plane to hand finish it off. Even an old piece of fir will look better than a new one. The patina (rich color) is what you see in old post and beam or log cabins.
It's amazing the coversations this type of finished project gets.:D

PortlandTradesmen 11-29-2008 01:57 AM

In the places that I've lived I've always been able to find a supplier that specializes in reclaimed wood. Reclaimed fir would be my top choice.

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