I bought this in the 72" size, unfinished. I was afraid that it would not have the "distressed" look that is advertised for the stained version, but it did! Once stained, it has a very nice, rustic finish and looks AMAZING above the fireplace. Very classy, yet rustic.
Came out of the box 100% clean and ready to stain. No saw dust, no dirt, just open box and stain away. 3 coats of stain-&-poly and it was ready to go.
Be aware: the mantel is not a solid piece of wood as you might expect. In fact, it is actually assembled from 5 pieces (3 long pieces to form the main shape, and 2 end cap pieces). I was worried that the edges would reveal this, but after staining, you simply can't tell. It looks incredible, and it actually rather light which makes it easy to mount on the wall.
I waited 5 years to get a mantle shelf and this was worth the wait! It is BEAUTIFUL! Exactly what I wanted, chunky, high quality, easy to install. And... I got it exactly when I was told I was going to receive it. I needed it installed over 2 layers of porcelain tile so I had my contractor do it but, a good do-it-yourselfer would have no problem installing this shelf.
I had purchased this mantel unfinished as my wife an I wanted to stain it a specific color. Overall, I am very impressed with the craftsmanship of the product. However, one problem we ran into was with staining. Although it may not be obvious from the description, this is not a solid piece of wood. It is multiple pieces mitered, glued, and nailed together. The nail holes were filled with a non-stainable filler. As a result, there are some spotty areas where it did not take the color. Luckily, they are on the ends where few people would notice.
Lastly, I wish there was a better way to hang the mantel. It uses a traditional method of using a hidden cleat which you secure to the wall and literally hang the mantel. While this works well, it does not feel very solid. I will probably have to add some additional fasteners directly to the mantel to make it more stable.
Spending $250 On-line with an out-of-state company that you have never heard of can be daunting. However, I was absolutely delighted with the professionalism shown by Lighting Universe. I was kept in the loop (by e-mail)from the moment my order was placed. I could track my package and even over the Holiday period, it arrived at my door exactly as predicted.
I was pleased too with the quality of the merchandise. I had read other reviews and was already expecting a box type structure and that it was made in China... Not an issue for me, a coat of stain and a few coats of poly and it looks stunning.
I did have an issue with the hanging system provided - probably my wall was uneven, so I built a simple frame from regular wall studs and slipped the shelf onto it.
Overall Delighted with service & quality. May be a tad expensive for a pine box, but it's nicely jointed and finishes up well even without sanding down.