Go green with an environmentally friendly “Kirei Board” fireplace mantle. The virtues of these fly high in the overall rating of fireplace mantles. Kirei Board is made from discarded or left over pieces of the sorghum plant. It not only makes beautiful mantles but excellent furniture as well, so throw in some Kirei as a decorator touch for your unique styling. This fireplace mantle has a very cultural feel to it and can fit into many decor styles with ease and class at the same time.
How Do You Build a “Kirei Board” Fireplace Mantle?
You will need wood glue, 3 inch and 4 inch screws, and painters tape. Also a table saw is needed along with a miter saw and drill.
Cut and Size Kirei Board
You will need to cut 5 pieces in all from 2 and 1/8 inch thick Kirei board. Two identical ones for the board top and bottom pieces (70 inches by 9 inches).
You will also need two identical Kirei boards cut for the side pieces (4 inches by 9 inches). And you will need a board cut for the front piece of the mantle (70 inches by 4 inches).
Miter All Board Edges Except for the Ends Facing the Wall
The mitered edges are the edges to be joined together for construction. The FRONT PIECE IS MITERED ON ALL FOUR EDGES. Make 45 degree miter cuts on all four edges of the front piece, as it will be attached on all sides to the rest of the mantle. It does not touch the wall.
After this you cut 45 degree miter cuts on three sides of the remaining boards which make the top, bottom, and sides. Leave the edges that will be facing the wall straight as they will be up against the wall when you are done with your project.
Arrange Cut Kirei Pieces for Construction
Lay out all of the pieces with the mitered side facing down. Arrange them for assembly with the front piece centered, and the top and bottom pieces placed prospectively on the top and on the bottom. Remember all of the edges with no miter will be facing out away from the center as you lay out for construction.
Put your painter’s tape to good use by running it across the mitered sides where each one meets. You basically have everything taped in place to make sure the pieces do not shift. With some more tape, re-tape across the Kirei boards to make sure they are holding tight. In a bit your structure is going to be folded, the taped edges will be like hinges until the structure can be finished or glued together with wood glue.
Apply Wood Glue to Each Mitered Cut
Turn the taped structure over (with miters facing up) and apply a generous amount of wood glue to where the pieces join in the miter cut crevasses. With caution, making sure the two pieces don’t change position, or shift, fold the ends upward and into shape.
After this turn the front mantle piece so it also is facing up. It is almost as if you are making an oblong frame or long rectangular box. Apply wood glue to the mitered sides of the two side pieces. Apply the side pieces.
Always remember on each piece the side that is not mitered faces the back. Tape strongly over all of the seams to hold the structure in place while the wood glue dries overnight. Don’t forget to tape the mantle front on all four sides too, after it is glued in place.
Finishing Up and Attaching Your Kirei Board Fireplace Mantle
After waiting all night, your wood glue is all dry now. What you do next is cut a cleat that fits in the back of the mantle. This serves as the support. Taper or shape the ends of the cleat so the mantle will slip right on. After making the “cleat”, search the strongest place to hang the mantle by finding the studs in the wall.
The cleat is going to be attached to the wall with four inch screws. Slide the mantle onto the cleat and fasten on the top and the bottom with three inch screws. You have now finished and attached your Kirei board fireplace mantle to your surround for completion of this worthy project.