Build a Floating Mantel
The addition of a "floating" mantel to a fireplace creates a decorative opportunity, and it doesn't disturb the existing framework. Here's how to build one:
Materials and Tools:
1-by-3-inch and 1-by-6-inch cedar lumber
1. Cut the top, bottom, middle and side pieces to length. Pass each board through the table saw with the blade set at a 45-degree angle so the mantel looks like one solid block of wood once they're all attached.
2. Brush some glue on the side pieces and secure them to the middle board with a nail gun (or hammer and nails) to form a three-sided frame.
3. Place the bottom board on top of the frame and secure it with glue and nails. Flip the project over and attach the top board in the same manner, making sure that the 45-degree miter cuts are tight.
4. Apply two coats of polyurethane, letting dry after each coat, and secure to the brackets.