My raw cypress mantle has been in the shop class for awhile, being planed down, sanded, and drilled by the instructor and his students.
From a raw 9 foot long, 6 inch thick beam, it has become a svelte, 8 foot long, 4 inch thick smooth mantle.
Unfortunately, the students saw the worm holes and cracks in the cypress as flaws, so they filled them in with wood putty.
Sunday, I got out some of my diamond coated carving tools and spent considerable time removing the putty to expose the true, flawed character of the wood.
After the putty was removed, I slapped on a dust mask, fired up the dust removal device, and sanded for a few hours ... all under constant supervision by the porch pooches.
After a good rubdown with a microfiber tacky cloth, the mantle got a light coat of Ipswich Pine stain and now it fairly glows with anticipation of the poly coating to come.