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We have a nondescript fireplace in our living room. Over the years, I've been trying to do something with it. I've tried adding a mantel which worked for awhile, but still lacked the pop I was looking for. My wife is into the whole Craftsman/Mission/Arts and Crafts (what is the difference anyway???) style so I started to Sketch-Up something for the fireplace.

This is the 2nd iteration of the fireplace mantel. Still lacked that special something I was looking for.

As luck would have it, I invested in a Kreg Jig just a few weeks before. I downloaded a fireplace surround plan "as a guide". I knew I would have to change it up somehow because of the proximity of the side wall. I also wanted to put the TV above the fireplace and do some other enhancements to the wall.

I built a prototype column out of poplar to see if it was the look I was going for. After a few adjustments, I made the first column out of red oak with help from the Kreg Jig.

It's not completed yet, but just wanted to show how the Kreg Jig really helped me put together the lower surround of the fireplace. All joinery, except for the black walnut insets, was done using the Kreg Jig. The insets are free floating to allow for wood movement. The finish on the red oak is 3 coats of blonde shellac followed by 1 coat of a tinted garnet shellac to "age" the wood. The black walnut insets have 2 coats of BLO (left to cure for at least a week) followed by blonde shellac. The super high gloss on all pieces was lightly rubbed out to the sheen I was looking for.

The bookcase on the right will hold the components for the TV. The fireplace is mostly just used for ambiance and has been converted to gas. Next, the mantel piece will be placed, then the upper surround, and tile over the brick.

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Comment by DAVID CZUPRYN on January 27, 2010 at 10:14am
Like the way you first planned out your project,using a proto type ballaster first.Using the right side to store components shows careful planning & good design. Showing this one stage at a time,is very interesting.Can't wait to see the rest.Very nice work. Dave
Comment by KregRep on January 27, 2010 at 9:03am
Beautiful project, Don. I'm glad you discovered the Kreg Jig and that it has been making the project go good. Looks like it's going to be the perfect custom solution when you're all done. Thanks for posting the in-progress shot... often times they're even more interesting than the finished shot! Anxious to see the results!

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