Oaklawn Portal, South Pasadena
book review: Craftsman Furniture Projects

Mendota Mantels in St. Paul, Minnesota


Each Mendota mantel - made from antique reclaimed old-growth timbers and "rescued wood" - is unique, and uniquely beautiful. The wood has been salvaged from old barns, mills and warehouses, most built from the mid 19th to early 20th century, and each piece is sculpted with hand tools. Custom carving - like this piece by Jock Holman, on a rescued beam from a Norwegian ship - is available, although much of their work simply celebrates the natural grain and shape of the wood without any additional decoration. They describe the provenance of their materials thus:

Antique Reclaimed timber mantels are recycled beams that have been salvaged from old buildings. They have an estimated age of 300 to 800+ years. They are antiques. They grew from old growth forests that flourished in America through the 1930’s - forests that are now mostly gone.

Our reclaimed timbers were milled into beams in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to become mills, factories, warehouses, and barns - buildings now being demolished.

Unlike water-salvaged timbers, our Reclaimed timbers have been air-aging for over 100 years. This slow air-drying enhances color, beauty and character.

Most importantly, air-dried timbers are more stable and much less likely to twist or check (crack). Reclaimed antique timbers are a limited resource.

Our ‘Rescued’ timber mantels are milled from present day trees that have been discarded. They are most often logs from urban tree services, storm blown trees, or ‘ends’ from logging operations.

The artisans at Mendota are comfortable working in the Craftsman / Mission Revival style, as in this piece by Dan Guion, just as much as doing much more contemporary-styled work like this backlit mantel made from heart pine reclaimed from Wabasha's Big Jo Flour Mill. Check out a gallery of their work.