Let me build you a barn beam mantle!


Rustic wood corbel in my shop

Barn Beam mantles for sale

I got a message a few weeks ago via Craigslist asking whether I sell barn beam mantles (in addition to making harvest tables out of reclaimed wood.)

Harvest tables for sale


I still have several feet of 6 by 6 beam  from a 100 year old ear corn crib that make excellent mantles and corbel material.

The first thing that goes through my mind whenever  I see crafts made from reclaimed wood is bugs….powder post beetles, wood borers, etc.  I always wonder if the wood has been de-bugged?  Chances are pretty good it hasn’t…and all those cute little bird houses and do-dad’s people bring home from the craft fair is like bringing a Trojan horse full of microscopic critters  right into their  castle.

Have fun with that 😉

I’ve read  you can treat the wood with chemicals such as  bora-care (which is basically boric acid)  but from what I’m reading, it does not soak into the wood and deal with anything living deep down inside.

My preferred method of debugging @  this point is to heat the wood in a wood kiln.  Internal temperature of the wood needs to  get to 133 degrees for 30 minutes to effectively de-bug the wood.

I had to build my own kiln for this process.

Here’s  a recent action photo of me modifying the back side of a beam to accommodate some wiring :

barn beam mantle

Kerfing the back of a  6 by 6 beam.

8 by 8 smooth mantle

Another view of the mantle in my shop.

I do have access to larger timbers if you want something bigger than a 6 by 6.  My brother has some 8 by 8’s in his stash, and occasionally I will see beams on Craigslist with ax marks…so if you’re looking for a particular style, don’t hesitate to ask.  I can help you find what you are looking for, get it prepped and ready to install.

rustic mantle with ax markings

Here’s a really old barn beam with ax markings from 140 years ago in my old office.

You will also get a certificate of authenticity that tells a little story about your mantle (or table)  Since I’m a small  operation and only work on a couple of projects at a time,  I know where each piece of lumber originally came from.

So if you stumble across this blog post at a later date, just leave a message after this post and I will get back to you right away.   Check out the comments on my harvest table blog post to see what I’m talking about.


Question…Why do you think some of us are drawn to antiques, rustic furniture or history in general?  I’ve given it some thought.  I’ll tell you what I’ve concluded for myself at least after I hear from a few of you….

hint-it’s scratching something deeper than just visual.

Bora-Care. It is a spray-on solution that is basically just boric acid. – See more at: http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Exterminating_Insects_in_Furniture.html#sthash.34kQI6UQ.dpuf
powder post beetles, wood borers, etc
powder post beetles, wood borers, etc
powder post beetles, wood borers, etc
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4 Responses to Let me build you a barn beam mantle!

  1. emjayandthem says:

    There’s something about old wood that draws me to it, it’s like I want to pull a chair up and listen to the stories it has to tell me 🙂

    I love stories ! 😉 DM

  2. shoreacres says:

    I’d order a mantle in a minute. Of course, then I’d have to have a fireplace, and to have a fireplace I’d need a house, and to have a house…. Well. You get my point.

    As for history? I think it’s a pretty good defense against cultural narcissism, for one thing. And in this time of shrinking attention spans, it provides a longer view. Perspective.

    Plus, there’s just so much to learn, and learning’s fun!
    Well, if you ever move, let me know 🙂 “cultural narcissism”..now that is an interesting word combination. (I like it) I LOVE learning about local history 🙂 DM

  3. Beautiful work – I love the old, weathered and worn wood – especially the one with the axe marks. It tells a story and gives the piece so much more character because somebody who lived a real life labored over that wood. Not like the jeans you can buy today that are already “worn out” for you. I guess people are just too busy these days to break in their own jeans…
    I too love the old wood with the ax marks. Local history and wood working are two of my interests…being able to combine the two has been good !DM

  4. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    It makes me want to cry, when I see all the old buildings falling into disrepair…
    All of the hard work done by so many hands: the farms, the churches… To knock them down – or, even worse, to simply leave them to fall apart is criminal):
    What you’re doing, to give these buildings a chance at a second life, is great!
    Thanks for the affirmation Deb! DM

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