I finished off the mantle recently and I am going to be getting help hooking up the gas line tomorrow. As you can see, adding the trim to the plywood base did a great deal in dressing it up. Additionally, spray-painting the brass louvers helps the insert to look more authentic. I had a hard time getting the stain color just right, it’s a little bit darker than I would have liked but I think it is close enough. In order to get this color I had to make a mixture of stains to get the color close. I;m not really sure that I could have ever matched it perfectly anyways, since the trim is Gumwood and the mantle is a combination of Oak and clear Pine. So the closest stain combination wound up to be 3 parts Gunstock- a reddish stain to 1 part Walnut – a dark stain. I then shellacked it instead of using polyurethane in order to match the existing woodwork. I’ve also determined I prefer shellac as it protects the wood and gives it a slight sheen but keeps it from looking like it has been dipped in plastic.
Once it was all done, the only realistic option for the television set was over the top so… hesitantly I obliged. Once it was up, I still thought it looked stupid, so I built a simple frame from some old bed rails, stained it with the walnut Minwax and used it to help the TV fall away from view a bit. I must say that I am much happier with it having the frame around it. My only complaint being that the TV sticks out from the wall about four inches. I measured carefully and it leaves about a 1/4 reveal around the screen and is sure to leave the speakers exposed. I then added two eyes to the back and used picture wire to hang it over the wall mount. There are also two small wood blocks that rest on the top of the to to keep it secure. Once hung, I put all my crap back on the mantle and hid the cords. Under the red book laying on its side is a tiny little DVD player/Internet Streaming device which I have been using after I cancelled cable last month (and I am having no regrets, except Downton Abby is not on Hulu Plus and I’m never home when it airs on PBS).
Moving forward… the new mantle is much deeper, and the afore mentioned crap I used before is not working as well so I’m going to be looking for other crap to take its place and in the longer run I might also look for a slimmer TV with a built in DVD player and streaming device but for now I’m happy. I’m also very excited not to have to sit in the living room and feel chilly anymore.