Build S#@t, Make S#@t

Fireplace Surround

Fireplace Surround

My brother is planning a major renovation of his shop/mancave and he needed something for the project to revolve around.  I was hanging out with him over Christmas drinking about some things when I noticed his gas logs insert sitting in the floor.  Just the firebox and logs.  That’s when the idea came to me to build a fireplace surround.  I have a lot of reclaimed barn wood from a barn that used to be on my property.  I saved most all of it when I tore it down.  I decided that would be the perfect use for some of it.


I snuck and took some measurements that night and the next day I started building the frame.  I built the frame using 2X4’s and pocket holes/screws.  Once the frame was built I skinned it in 1/8″ plywood.

Framing Skin

At that point I started working with the old barn wood.  I first had to joint one edge before I could rip the trim pieces.  Then I planed those pieces down to 3/4″.  I used those pieces to frame out the entire top of the surround.

Jointing Ripping

Then I has to plane down planks of various widths to 1/2″.  The old oak was rough on the planer blades.  I spent more time planing than building!  I filled in the frame with planks with no particular logic or order.  I placed quarters between each plank to give it a bit of a gap.

Planing Planks

The fireplace needed a cool mantle so I built one to look like an old rustic weathered beam.  I used “off the shelf” whitewood.  I called it ole trash board because it’s not good for much except maybe a trim board on a house.  But!  It’s rough appearance combined with its ability to take dark stain worked to my advantage and helped me make something that turned out even better than I envisioned.  I also used the CNC to make a sign for the mantle.  It set everything off and enhanced the “man cave” feel.

Mantle Mantle3

Once all that was done we took it over to his house to finish it up.  We got everything set up, put the firebox in it, hung a flat screen, and stoned the bottom of the surround.  The stone we used was called Air Stone and it came from Lowes.  It glues on and was much easier than having to lathe the frame and mortar the stones in place.  It is also much lighter than most cultured stone.


We had it all ready for his New Years Eve party and was a hit.  Everyone really liked it.  Now we have to finish the rest of the renovation.  That’s gonna be the real work.  I made a video of the build and posted it below.  Take a look at it.  I have also listed some of the tools used in this project below.  Thanks for reading my post!