We recently made over our master bedroom and as the main transformation, we mounted a family heirloom solid piece of African mahogany. We wanted to keep the soul of its original use intact. So after a little coaxing and convincing, I suggested to my husband that the best use for it would be to keep it true to its grain, so to speak, and make it into a headboard for our master bedroom. We had never had a headboard before and this piece of wood seemed to be talking to us now, telling us it was OK to take the journey. You can read more on the story behind this wood in our house tour.
First, My husband used a palm sander with very fine grit to lightly smooth the surface and take off any rough edges of the wood. In all the years and history of this wood, the only damage it received was a small gouge at the bottom edge of one side. Once it was wall mounted and the bedding put in place, it is no noticeable anyways. In fact, it adds to its charm.
Second came the finishing of the wood. We knew we wanted to keep it as natural as possible so opted for an oil over a stain. We thought of linseed oil but it apparently can yellow over time. Then we looked at tung oil. We were going to pick up some and then we remembered we had some Minwax Teak Oil from a project to refinish our outdoor IKEA patio wood furniture. It is good for indoor and outdoor use and said it is good for unfinished mahogany. So we tested it on the reverse side of the wood and were very happy with the results. So we followed the directions and added 2 coats within 10 minutes apart with a foam brush and removed all it with an old cotton shirt after 30 minutes.
Being solid mahogany, it is extremely heavy. So I Googled around on the best way to hang it. After remembering seeing on a TV show where a DIY french cleat hanging system was used, we opted for that method. It involved taking a piece of wood, cutting it on a 45 degree angle and mounting one side to the wall into studs (we put it into 3 studs) and the other piece we mounted by screws in the top of the back of the headboard. We used a 3/4 inch strip of oak which was once a light box in our kitchen when we first bought the home. We also mounted a strip of the oak directly into the studs a few inches up from the bottom so the mahogany would sit evenly against the wall.
The stunning 1989 brass swing arm wall lamps we got from a family friend, adds just the perfect light to show the stunning grain in the wood, especially at night.