The last step in the mantel build was gluing on the top panel. This involved a Herculean amount of clamps. Here is a picture of the completed mantel.
The top of the mantel also received a piece of trim where it intersects the wall, and because the wall wasn’t exactly straight it required a bit of ingenuity to ensure it was straight with the front of the mantel. And a further bit of out-of-the-box clamping to hold it in place while the glue dried.
Here is one end of the mantel before the finish. Just required a bit of sanding, and three coats of finish.
For a finish I used General Finishes, ENDURO, water-based urethane (satin). The cheery will darken up over time, and hopefully the mantel will last another 90 years!