Step 1: Assemble the mantel pieces

Assembling the mantel pieces.
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Sand, then prime or stain the mantel before you begin. Wait until the mantel is installed to apply the final coat of paint or finish.

Place the mantel shelf top-down on a tarp or rug. Slide the legs onto the shelf, slotting the dowels into their holes. Wiggle the legs as you apply slight pressure until the leg seams are tight. Twist the screws a quarter-turn to lock the cams.

Hardware varies among manufacturers, but placing the shelf top-down and sliding the legs on is usually the safest method.
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    Tools List

    • hammer drill
      Hammer drill with 3/16-inch masonry bit
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • hand saw
      Saw,
      to cut 2v4s
    • four-foot level
      3-foot level
    • torpedo level
      Torpedo level
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • flathead screwdriver
      Screwdriver

    Shopping List

    1. MANTEL

    Comes in a kit with legs, a shelf, and interior trim.



    2. SHIMS

    to level the mantel.



    3. 2x4 LUMBER

    for cleats on which the mantel will hang. Two 8-foot pieces should do it.



    4. 2 1/2-INCH-LONG 1/4-INCH CONCRETE SCREWS

    for attaching the mantel to a brick chimney. If the wall isn't brick, use 3-inch decking screws to attach the cleats to the studs.



    5. 2-INCH FINISH SCERWS

    to fasten the mantel to the cleats. Finish screws (aka trim heads) have small heads that sink below the surface without the need to drill a countersink hole first.



    6. 4d FINISH NAILS

    to attach the edge molding.



    7. WOOD PUTTY

    to fill screw holes.



    8. CAULK

    if you're painting the mantel, to fill gaps where it meets the wall.