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ken gibbs

Advice for a New Mantle Piece

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Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
This was the option I would suggest "if" you can open up the wall and gain access to the studs. I would not be too comfortable trusting the mantle to a lag in the stud face to not sag or pull out over time. The bigger the lag, the less stud there will be there to hold it. The way we have done these is to fabricate a steel plate or yoke that lags/bolts into the sides of the stud with a 1" steel pipe projecting out to be embedded into the mantle. The plate/yoke allows you to bear more of the weight on more of the stud. Thats a lot of leverage on that connection and as stupid as it may sound the scenario you have to think of is one day someone is trying to hang a wreath above the mantle and they step, or stand, on the mantle and it either tears off the wall or bends at best.

If you dont do any metal fabrication any shop could fab you either a flange or a yoke that would allow you to attach to the sides of the stud rather than lagging into the face. That would all be dependent on your ability to open the wall up at the mantle connection point.

There are other options, metal bracket as opposed to a corbel where you could simply drill through a stone and using a small standoff (piece of tubing) as a shim, plumb the brackets, screwing them to the studs. Brackets on top of the mantle, and so on. But many of them will likely look like what they are, a patch job to recover from poor planning.

These are often the situations we get put in, "Hey I got all this done, now can you make it look right". Its never fun.



  1. ken gibbs's Avatar
    At his point I am thinking that only exterior braces on either side of the mantle piece will work. If I can get the structural bracing OK, I won't have to worry that the owner will pile up stuff on the mantle and cause a house fire etc. I need some suggestions about how to make the 45 degree gussets look compatible with the rough cut and very heavy sugar maple slab set on the stone facing. I have been considering the concept of using some cast iron braces on either side of the fireplace surround but haven't found any 45 degree shelf type braces that look "colonial" enough to make it work. Would enybody have any sources that I might contact to get some OTR sources? Thanks for your help.
  2. ken gibbs's Avatar
    Last night I tried to install the new, revised 14 year old mantle piece that I fabricated out of an old sugar maple off-cuts and a 2" X 8" sugar maple slab. My mechanical engineering consultant convinced me to attempt to mount this mantle with out cutting into the stud walls and without using 45 degree gussets on either end. It did not work so today I am cutting the 45 degree braces for either end and bracing the mantle. The best plans of mice and men etc. The mantle slab is beautiful with a eurathane finish and golden oak oil based stain. I killed most of the worms in the slab and filled all voids with plastic wood. Then I wore out three belts on my belt sander before sanding it down to 220 grit. I just hope the client does not mess with it before I can get the braces installed. I have it temporarily braced.