Select the type of solid wood desired for the construction of the mantel cover. Options include maple, cherry, oak or bamboo.
Measure the dimensions of the existing mantel. Cut the wood into two equal long strips, 1 or 2 inches longer and wider than the mantel measurements. Then, cut another piece of wood, with a shorter width, that will go under the mantel. The width depends on the mantel measurement.
Use a drill and pocket jig to create screw holes on one of the large pieces of wood, approximately every 8 inches.
Take the first two pieces of wood and glue them at a right angle, so the lengths are parallel and the edges connect to form a right angle. The upward edge of the front piece should be against the bottom of the top piece, with its pocket holes facing inside and up. Be aware of the type of wood that you are using to find out how much glue to use; some woods, such as bamboo, do not absorb glue well, and adding too much glue should be avoided.
Clamp the pieces together and allow them to dry. With the clamps still attached, drive hex head screws through the pockets to further secure the front piece to the top piece.
Stain the wood as desired.
Add the third wood panel with the shorter width parallel to the first piece with the pocket holes. Using the pocket jig create pocket holes on the third piece, and use the screws to attach it to the bottom piece. This piece is used to ensure the mantel wood cover will stay on securely.
Create end pieces for the mantel cover, if desired. Measure the dimensions of the bare ends. Cut two equal pieces of wood to match the dimensions of the mantel ends and attach them to the ends using wood glue, nails or screws.
Put the cover on the mantel and secure it with 2.5 inch finish nails.