How do I remove six inches from the width of this mantle?

Cheryl J
by Cheryl J

I purchased a used mantle, the mantle is 6 inches too large for my fireplace. Is it best to remove the six inches from the center of the mantel?

q how do i remove six inches from the width of this mantle

Mantle too big.

I purchased this mantle that is too large for my space. It only cost $50, so I thought it was worth trying to use. I need to remove six inches from the width. Should the six inches be removed from the center and what is the best way to accomplish this. Also, is the height appropriate for the space?

  20 answers
  • Jan Clark Jan Clark on Aug 12, 2020

    Since you probably want to leave the sides alone, yes, you'll need to take out the extra width from the mantle top. Unless you have a saw that can handle a single cut, you'll probably need to pull off the top and do two separate cuts. Measure exactly before the cuts so that everything will go back together properly. I'd bisquit join the pieces, but you can probably glue and cleat the joints from the back and patch and sand the joint smooth again so it will disappear. It's hard to tell from this picture, but that's my best suggestion from what I see. Hope others give you some different ideas.

  • I agree with Jan. Take it out of the middle. I would definitely biscuit-join the two pieces for a stronger joint.

  • Patty Patty on Aug 12, 2020

    Oh looks like a lot of work to make it line up and look nice again. I dont have those carpentry skills myself. Good luck!

  • Nan W. Nan W. on Aug 12, 2020

    Cheryl: Yes, I agree: the middle. Then carefully use wood putty when yo put it back together... and sand until very smooth.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Aug 12, 2020

    Remove the six inches from the middle of the mantel and then you can add additional trim to cover the cut.

  • Em Em on Aug 12, 2020

    One other option is adding a piece of trim board from the floor to the mantle to hide the fact that it is wider than the base of the mantle. Add a piece on each side from floor to wall to mantle shelf.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Aug 12, 2020

    Hello. Agree with using the middle for width reduction.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Aug 12, 2020

    Yes, I agree, remove the 6" from the middle of the mantle, that would eliminate the overhang on both sides and it look more custom made for the fireplace. Measure twice, cut once.

    The height after you do this should look just right for the space, after you do the cutting, put the 2 pieces back together and take an objective look at it. Let it stay that way for a couple of days and then make a decision if you need to modify it further. That should guide you if you need to more alterations.

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Aug 12, 2020

    I might try 3" from each side. There will be no seams to fix.

  • Betsy Betsy on Aug 12, 2020

    Hi Cheryl: I agree with Ken, it looks like the pieces on the side are the problem. If they were removed, the piece would fit perfectly and you would't have to deal with a seam in the middle of your shelf. If you really think about it, you will have to cut all the way across the shelf, then all the way up the front, taking a little less than the 6" you want to remove, allowing for the kerf. If you are intent on cutting the top, cut on an angle as a straight cut is difficult to hide. You will probably want to use a thin-kerf 60-tooth blade so that the cut isn't all jagged. If you cut the sides, cut in from the top of the side first, where it goes to the shelf. This way you won't cut too far up. Just go slow and be careful. Good luck whatever way you choose.

  • Deb K Deb K on Aug 12, 2020

    Hello Cheryl, the easiest way is cut it in the middle, patch together and paint. Have someone who knows what they are doing assist you. Good luck!

  • I agree, cut from the center. Just make sure you measure, measure measure before doing the cutting. It should look great when done!

  • Sharon Sharon on Aug 12, 2020

    I agree with Ken & Betsy, wouldn't want a seam in the middle. Usually those side pieces are add-ons, I would try and remove them, cut the mantel down on the sides, and then add the 2 pieces back on.... watch this video on mantel construction to get an idea where to look to disassemble the mantel.

  • William William on Aug 13, 2020

    Cut the six inches from the center. Even if you have three inches on each end you would be cutting the mantle shelf and it would look off. You can use wood glue and steel mending plates to join both halves.

    Wood putty and a little sanding to hide the joint.

    You can also cover the joint with a wood applique.

  • Annie Annie on Aug 14, 2020

    I would remove from

    one of the ends. Take off the post, shorten and re attach post...

  • Kayte Kayte on Aug 15, 2020

    I would not cut it down at all. Instead, add a piece of wood on either side of the stone hearth, to continue the edge pieces to the floor, then install base boards the height of the bottom of the mantle base. Wood Putty on all joins for smooth edges, then paint. You can make it look like an integral part of the room.

    If you cut in the middle, you risk damaging the beauty and more importantly the structural integrity of the piece.

  • Janice Janice on Aug 16, 2020

    Asking for advice was a great idea. Now I would consider each and every suggestion offered on Hometalk, and now make my own well-informed and thought-out decision and do one cut or two, or none at all! :)

  • Mdu17483390 Mdu17483390 on Sep 28, 2022

    Ok, so I bought this mantel and is 78" long for $20 and is Oak or Cedar. I only need 48 to 55". I need to figure out how to get it cut since it has detailed finishes at the corner of the mantel. It is a beautiful piece and don't want to ruin it.

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 01, 2022

    If it leaves a line you can see that would be an excellent place for a plant that drapes over the mantel. But seems like you would loose the least amount of detail by attemping a cut in the middle.