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Author Topic: Mantel Business  (Read 2257 times)

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Offline POSTONLT40HD

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Mantel Business
« on: April 17, 2017, 09:48:02 pm »
In my area out Mantel business is really growing.
I now keep Red Oak and White Oak logs off the ground and in the weather for 9 - 12 months and let them spalt.
Its really important not to let them lay for more than a year as the sap wood will start breaking down.

We then saw them into mantels and let them air dry to around 14% before we sand and finish them per customers order. We spray for Powder Post Beetles after each mantel comes off the mill and once again 2 days before we sand them.  With the high dollar homes going up in the Charlotte, NC area and the neighboring cities of Fort Mill, S.C. and Indianland, S.C......most of my mantels are purchased by contractors for outdoor, undercover fireplaces.

This is a Spalted Red Oak and stained with a Chestnut stain. The black spalt really stands out and will match black cast iron pots and pans that will be displayed on the customer's stone fireplace.

The face edge was stripped of the bark and sanded but left with the natural rolls and natural indentions.
Its 5 inches thick x 10 inches wide and sawed at 9 foot 6 inches in length. This will allow enough length for the contractor to get an exact length after the stone is put into place. Rebar will hold it up as if its floating.
Looks nice and is solid as a rock.

  

  

  

 
I'm thinking......

Offline tule peak timber

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2017, 10:28:48 pm »
Very nice looking!
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2017, 10:42:38 pm »
They look great.  So you mill them to order then air dry them for the customer?  How long is the delivery time? 
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Offline POSTONLT40HD

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 10:53:47 pm »
They look great.  So you mill them to order then air dry them for the customer?  How long is the delivery time?



We saw them over sized, spray them and put them up for a year or so or until the MC gets low. We got stacks of them, White Oak, Red Oak, Cedar, Poplar and Walnut.

I'll saw a 7 inch thick Mantel and put it up.....if the contractor needs a 6 inch, we then resaw the 7 inch mantel down to 6 inches. We keep different sizes, some live edge and some squared up.
When one is chosen out of the dry stack, we will pull it out and spray for beetles again. We can sand and finish a mantel in a day. So when one is picked out they can pick it up in 3 days. So its a 3 day delivery time.  ;D
I'm thinking......

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2017, 01:06:01 am »
And they all sell for $300, right? ;) :D
John Sawicky

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Online ToddsPoint

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2017, 04:17:27 am »
Your stained red oak mantel is beautiful.  Gary
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2017, 05:39:23 am »
Those look mighty nice. Good job!!!
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Online Bruno of NH

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2017, 05:42:51 am »
Look good
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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2017, 06:13:08 am »
3 day delivery time if you ain't got 3 other mantel orders lol
Boy, back in my day..

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2017, 06:53:50 am »
I'm impresssed that I'm not seeing checking when sawing that thick.  How are you managing that?  Last time I tried that thick I got all kinds of cracks when air drying.  Anchorsealing the ends, but what about the faces?  Is it because they lay for a year before you saw them?
 
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Offline kelLOGg

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2017, 06:54:44 am »
How long does it take you to air dry 5" thick oak to 14% MC? Do you make core measurements?

BTW, beautiful mantles.
Bob
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Offline Ohio_Bill

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2017, 07:40:47 am »
Well done, Congratulations. 
Bill
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 07:45:34 am »
Good job David identifying and meeting the need for a niche market.   smiley_thumbsup
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 07:47:23 am »
   Another good point about making them as long as Dave mentions is this allows the builder to make the corbels out of the same piece if they want to.

    I make a few when I get a good log but I only cut mine 3 to 4 inches thick because I don't have the MHE to handle something that heavy. I also have not been finishing mine just selling rough cut. Most of what I have sold were cherry.

Dave,

   Do you just sticker and stack them on top of each other to dry or do you have individual racks for each mantel? I've thought about making something like that  but wonder how bad they would bow and cup if stored like that or even stacked on their sides.

   Real pretty wood. I know the new owners will be real proud of them for years to come.
Howard Green
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Offline POSTONLT40HD

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2017, 07:59:39 am »
I'm impresssed that I'm not seeing checking when sawing that thick.  How are you managing that?  Last time I tried that thick I got all kinds of cracks when air drying.  Anchorsealing the ends, but what about the faces?  Is it because they lay for a year before you saw them?
 


Ok....pay attention.....you know and I do that ALL hardwood mantels will face check over time when drying. Thats ok.
This is one reason they are sawed over sized.
When we resew them, most or all of the face checking is removed. Some face check will return over time and thats what we want....a mantel that looks really old.
The mantels are installed with rebar on the fire place. I've never seen a mantel yet that had warped after being installed over rebar.
Over time some face checking will return, thats fine....thats what the customer is looking for.

After a year of air drying I just check the moisture content with my meter that has the prongs on it. There are no core samples taken or X-rays or MRI's or anything like that. A mantel being outside will be going up and down on MC content anyway.

The worst thing about selling a mantel is when the customer says it don't look old enough.
I had a lady that bought a Cedar mantel 2 weeks ago and stained it a Red Oak color. Her husband hit the ceiling.


I'm thinking......

Offline Magicman

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2017, 08:05:32 am »
Actually that is OK.  She got what she wanted and he's got her whether he still wants her or not.   ::)
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Offline WDH

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2017, 08:41:52 am »
The good thing is, even though the mantel is not dry to the core, that after a year or so, most of the wood movement that will happen has already happened, and when re-sawed flat and square, the mantel block is likely to stay that way.  It can finish drying in place.

I sell them too, and you have to think way ahead to have stock that has had enough time to dry down to a usable level.  I have dried walnut and maple with no checks or splits, or just minor ones, but oak usually behaves worse with cracking and splitting.  Rustic is in, so the cracking and splitting is not so much of an issue.  If you want perfect wood with no cracks or splits or checks, you can laminate the wood, otherwise, unless you have a vacuum kiln, a solid beam of wood will do what it wants to do.

I have tried to develop a consistent pricing methodology.  I take the 4/4 price for a species, like red oak, and double the 4/4 bf price for a 16/4 mantel.  So if I am selling kiln dried red oak for $4.50/bf, the 4" thick mantel beam will cost you $9.00/bf.  That is still a very good deal for a customer that wants a unique, custom mantel.  And, that is just for the wood.  That does not include making the mantel, cutting corbels, sanding, etc.  I will plane it for you, though.   

One of the real advantages to this market is that it brings people in for a custom piece, and they see other wood that they have to have  ;D.  The lady looking for a custom piece for a high end home is not your average barn siding customer  :)
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Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2017, 10:19:40 am »

I have tried to develop a consistent pricing methodology.  I take the 4/4 price for a species, like red oak, and double the 4/4 bf price for a 16/4 mantel.  So if I am selling kiln dried red oak for $4.50/bf, the 4" thick mantel beam will cost you $9.00/bf.  That is still a very good deal for a customer that wants a unique, custom mantel.   

At $9/bdft is it worth it on your end?  After having to keep it around for a year or more to dry and then hoping someone will want it? 

Offline POSTONLT40HD

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2017, 11:27:40 am »
You can never sell anything if it's not available.
I'm thinking......

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Mantel Business
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2017, 02:16:25 pm »
You guys must have better logs. I just cut these 4 or 5 days ago and if I look closely I can already start to see some slight drying cracks. Maybe I should have used more Anchorseal.
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