The mantel finally was put up. We were going to get a "box" type made, but the builder found someone who could do a whole timber. The problem was getting one long enough, which ended up being 16 feet long. It's 10x10 inches, and must have weighed about 350 pounds initially. We got it in March, and it sat on the hearth frame until this week, and lost about 50 pounds of moisture. Not sure what we were waiting for initially, but as the framers got going he wanted to get it up so they could do the built ins fitted correctly for it. Unfortunately, because of the size we had to get information on minimal clearance above the fireplace so there wouldn't be a fire danger, and of course that took some additional time of bsn around.
It does look impressive though, and has the look of solidity and heft.
In the next two views, you can hopefully see that the beam has carved out highlights. This is hand carved so as to give it the .....hand carved look. As you can see, the front and bottom are carved. The top is flat so as to accommodate the various dust collectors that will sit there, without falling over. The ends of the beam are notched to fit over the side columns and look as if it is cut into the columns. It's actually supported by bolts through the back. For the vertical columns there will be boards of the same wood, fir, with carved facing, fit on to give the look of full vertical beams.
Unfortunately, they initially put the mantel up wrong, with the carve face on top and in front, and the rough side that was to back to the wall on the bottom. Because mounting holes were already drilled and the notches were cut on the ends, they couldn't just take it down and "roll"it 90 degrees, but had to flip it end to end. Fortunately, it looks like it's supposed to except the rough cut side is on top and will have to be sanded.
Various other trim work has been done, with trim around some windows, baseboards, and framing in of columns in the lower level. The stairs look well done with great looking posts. The caps were put on this week.