Reclaimed Wood Built-In

Reclaimed Wood Built-In

Difficulty: Difficult

Fast-setting epoxy
(2) ½" × 32" × 8' plywood pre-cut into an L-shape (with the foot of the L being 32" in width and the leg of the L being 6" in width)
(1) select structural wood piece, cut to 2" × 2" × 4' (ledger)
(2) select structural wood pieces, cut to 2" × 2" × 32"
(3) select structural wood pieces, cut to 1" × 3" × 16"
Tape measure
Torpedo level
Wood glue
Damp rag

Protective eyewear
Drill driver
Pencil or pen
Nail gun
1½" finishing nails
(3) ½" all thread rods
(3) ½" washers
(3) ½" nuts
(1) 2" cabinet screw
4' level
½" × 28" × 32" plywood (bottom shelf) (3) 1½" × 1½" × 16" spacers
(1) 1½" × 1½" × 20" spacer
(2) 1½" × 1½" × 32" spacers (1) ½" × 2" × 6" trim
(2) ½" × 2" × 48" trim

  1. Locate where you would like to place the built-in, and use a marker and a level to draw a horizontal line across the entire fireplace as a marker for the mantle

  2. Mark three points on the line: one point 3" in from each edge and one point in the center of the line
  3. Put on protective eyewear and grab the drill and all thread rods. Make sure the drill head is the same width as the all thread rods. Drill into the three points from step 2

  4. Carpenter Tip: An all thread is a threaded rod that will act as a mini support beam for the mantle.

  5. Fill each hole with epoxy. Insert an all thread rod into each hole about halfway

  6. Once the all thread rods are snug in each hole, secure them in place by adding epoxy around the outside of the hole and the all thread rod

  7. Let the epoxy set and dry for about 15 minutes
  8. Now it’s time to assemble the mantle. Flip (1) ½" × 32" × 8' pre-cut L-shaped plywood upside down and add the spacers. Place the 1½" × 1½" × 4" spacer about ½" from the short edge of the thin part of the plywood. Next, add (2) 1½" × 1½" × 32" spacers along the long, thin side about 1" from the outside edge. Lastly, create a box on the wide part of the plywood by placing the (1) 1½" × 1½" × 20" spacer along the edge of the L farthest from the thin side about 2" from the edge, then place the remaining (3) 1½" × 1½" × 16" spacers flush to create a box shape

  9. Note: Notice the shape of the plywood is an L shape, and can be precut at a local hardware store. One side is wide and will sit on the inside of the bookcase as a shelf, while the thin extension will act as the mantle above the fireplace. The dimensions vary based on the individual structure. The length should reflect the entire length of the structure, and the wide area should reflect the width and depth of the bookcase

  10. Use the nail gun to nail a spacer in place from underneath the plywood

  11. Repeat step 8 to add nails every 2" around the border to secure the remaining spacers
  12. Place the second ½" × 32" × 8' pre-cut L-shaped plywood on top of the spacers

  13. Place the ½" × 2" × 6" trim piece on the short edge of the thin side of the plywood. Use wood glue to keep it in place. Then, add the (2) ½" × 2" × 48" trim pieces flush along the front long edge of the around the mantel. Be sure to glue onto both pieces of plywood so the trim pieces are secure. Now, the front and short side of the mantle should be capped off, leaving the back exposed

  14. Nail all the trim pieces into place. Be sure to add nails into both pieces of plywood so that the trim is secure

  15. Carpenter Tip: If the glue starts to drip, wipe off the excess with a damp rag. For added security, it’s best to nail the pieces after gluing them down.

  16. Set the mantle aside to let the glue dry. In the meantime, start assembling the other parts of the shelf

  17. Note: Steps 15 through 17 and 22 through 24 are only for those who have an extra shelf. Not everyone has the same type of shelving or cabinets in their homes, so these steps are optional.

  18. Place two of the 2" × 2" × 32" wood pieces inside the empty cabinet, one against the back edge and one about 1½" from the front edge. Secure them in place with three cabinet screws: 1 in the center and 1 at each end

  19. Glue and nail the 1" × 2" × 32" trim to the ½" × 28" × 32" plywood to create a shelf. Drop the premade shelf into place resting the plywood on top of the wood pieces from step 14 and the trim facing outward
  20. Return to the mantle. Place the 2" × 2" × 4' ledger against the all thread rods on the mantle, and create a mark where the all thread rods meet the ledger

  21. Use the drill driver (making sure the head is the same width as the all thread rods) to drill a hole all the way through the ledger at all three marks from step 16

  22. Rest the ledger on the all thread rods. If necessary, use a mallet to ensure it’s flush against the wall

  23. Place a washer on the first all thread rod, and top it with a nut. Use the ratchet to tighten the two together. Repeat for the remaining 2 all thread rods, securing the ledger to the wall

  24. Move on to the top shelf of the bookcase. Place the (3) 1" × 3" × 16" pieces on the inside of the bookcase about 24" up from the bottom shelf. Be sure to mark it, and use your level to make sure they’re straight

  25. Drill three cabinet screws into each 1" × 3" × 16" wood pieces: one in the center, and one 2" in from each end. These will be used as ledgers for the wide part of the assembled L-shape piece

  26. Slide the open back side of the L-shape mantle onto the all thread rods above the fireplace, and the 1" × 3" × 16" wood pieces within the bookcase so it rests on the ledger

  27. Place the last 1" × 2" × 32" trim piece against the bottom of the upper shelf, and secure it in place with evenly spaced cabinet screws

  28. Give the mantle a slight jiggle to make sure it’s securely in place