Imagine relaxing in front of a roaring fireplace in a Tennessee cabin. The wind rushes outside as it piles snow against the window pane.
The frozen air is obliterated as a family enjoys each other’s company while they relax, perhaps watching television or playing a board game together, in front of a roaring fire. Pictures of the youngest members grace the mantle above the fireplace. Laughter rings throughout the room.
It’s a scene that isn’t very likely to be repeated in its entirety in South Louisiana, but it is one that inspired local craftsmen to attempt to recreate some of its aspects.
Brian Tabor of Bayou L’Ourse and Jim Pierce Jr. of Patterson took the idea of a fireplace mantle in a Tennessee cabin, often created from fir, pine or maple, and gave it a uniquely Louisiana flare.
They make fireplace mantles from cypress logs.
Each is made from a local tree cut in half. The tree is dried for an entire year, treated for bugs, debarked and hand-sanded.
The first pair of mantles the men made, under the moniker Cajun Mantles, are complete with a rounded bottom and a flat top. However, they are not sanded down to look like a finished slab of wood. Tabor said they wanted to preserve the rustic look of the wood.
A coat of Minwax highlights the natural look of the wood before five coats of satin polycrylic are applied to seal the mantle.
Tabor said he and Pierce chose polycrylic over polyurethane because over time the latter will yellow.
The completed mantles are 7-feet-long, but a mantle can be ordered to any specification.
For more information, visit the duo’s website in process at www.cajunmantels.com.