Shannon Berrey

Scrap Wood Fireplace: Part 1

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Yesterday I shared my fireplace as it appeared a few weeks ago. Now you can see it New and Improved!

{Please disregard the rainbow hearth--we haven't decided on a tile yet so there are a few different ones pictured}

Using our inspiration picture:

I contacted a local company that sells vintage board and beams. I explained that we just wanted scrap old wood and showed him a picture of what we wanted to do. As usual, I got a cocked head and a very puzzled look from said man. It's OK, I'm used to it. 


 He showed us a stack of junk wood and told us we were welcome to as much as we needed. Score!


We loaded up the van and stacked them in the garage. They needed to dry out a little and after a few days we sprayed them with Ant and Roach killer because they had lots of ants and you don't want any of those guys coming to live with you. 

Robert then used the table saw to rip the boards to varying thicknesses -- 1 1/2"-2" in thickness. Then he used an orbital sander to lightly sand the front surface. If you sand too much, you lose all the wonderful dings and gray spots that go along with being wonderfully old and all the stories that it holds! if only we felt that way about our own aging....sigh...

This is what I then had to work with. {see my cute assistant in the top left corner?}

A little side note -- I planned on simply cutting the boards into random lengths and then fitting it together as I went. Robert suggested that I cut each row to the exact length needed and recreate it on the garage floor to get a look at the overall project before it was installed. If I had done it my way, we would have ended up with a ton of scraps and probably not enough good pieces. Good. Call. Robbie Ray!

I wanted it to consist of many different depths and widths so I puzzled it together accordingly.




Then it was time to add the stain. I used Minwax Gel stain. I had around 7 different stain colors left over from other projects that I sampled. I decided on Aged Oak.

 I like using the Gel stain because it gives me a little more control and I’m a control freak and is less messy than regular stain. I picked up each board and applied the stain with a rag on the front, the edges and half way back on the top and bottom edges. Because they are staggering depths, you see different parts of each.  

This is with one coat.

After an hour, the stain had really sunk in and had lightened quite a bit. I felt there were lots of places that needed more stain, so I decided to give everything a 2nd coat,

I loved the way it looked after 2 coats. {Staining was the longest part of the whole process}

I didn't stain the top several rows because these were extras for just in case    .


 Before I started to attach the wood, I wanted to cut off the top of the sheetrock. This would be the seam where the new piece of sheetrock would be attached. It would be hidden behind the mantle. I was afraid that the wood might interfere with my cutting if I waited to do this step. We measured down 7" and used a laser level to draw the line.

Using an oscillating tool, I cut through the sheetrock along my line, like butta.

We then removed the strip of sheetrock, exposing the studs. Ours were 16" on center. 

I gathered the supplies for installing the wood: level, construction adhesive, crowbar, pneumatic nailer, nailset, hammer, tape measure {not pictured is the air compressor}

We brought the wood 'puzzle' up and laid it out on the floor in front of the fireplace, making sure to keep it in the exact order it was in in the garage.

I used some wood on the floor to act as spacers at the very bottom to allow for me to slide my tile and backer board in {when I find it} and began gluing the strips of wood. Ideally, the hearth would go in first but I still haven't found one, so this was Option 2.

The white paint on the right shows where the old surround ended. Notice that I chose to extend the new one all the way to the corner.


After applying the adhesive and attaching each row on the wall, I used a level to make sure it was, well...level. Listen kids, it's super important that every row is level!! Other wise you will get to the top and it will be really be all whomperjawed and everytime you are sitting there watching The Real Housewives you won't even be able to concentrate because looking at your crooked wood will have you feeling tipsy. Trust.

Then I used the nailer to shoot nails in on the sides, at an angle, to make sure they were not going anywhere. I made sure that each row lined up perfectly on the outside edges. Tip: if a nail didn't shoot in all the way, I used a nail set and a hammer to tap it down. If you leave it sticking up, it can throw your level on the next row. And you want it level {see above} 

Some places I had to use shims to make sure it was level. {'Shims' as in: folded pieces of paper, coasters, a piece of cardboard--whatever I could find} The piece in the middle, across the top of the firebox, was supported by a piece of wood that propped it up until the glue dried.

  In all it's wooden glory!!  Tomorrow I'll show you how we made the mantle, framed the new wall above  and hung the TV.  

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Shannon Berrey Bio
I'm an artist, interior designer, wife and mom. Join me here as I share projects, ramblings, and inspirations.
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