The house my wife and I just bought has a beautiful stone fireplace with a relatively ugly wooden mantle. We would like to remove the mantel, and possibly put our new flatscreen up on the fireplace, but I cannot for the life of me see how the mantle is attached. There are no brackets beneath it, and it looks as though it goes directly into the stone. Is this likely? If so, what are my options?
I really can't say. There may be a number of methods of how the mantle was attached, including the possibility of it having long wooden tenons.....slid into holes between the stone front and secured.
If you are dead-set on it's removal, you may simple have to take it out, by cutting it down into pieces. That is how most "things" are demo'd and removed (cut into pieces).
There remains the likelyhood, that, as with removal of any home's original custom wood work, you will still need to do something to esthetically "fix" that location, where the mantle was secured, or where the entire mantle, itself, was mounted.
not sure if this helps or not,, but we (okay, she did it) took down our mantle. I figured go ahead and take it down, we can always fix it after. She used a small pry bar and flathead screw driver. The nails holding in on were nailed into pieces of wood that were inserted between the bricks. It actually came down fairly easy and quickly, looks like some of the pieces were put together and then nailed on the wall. Anyway its down and now we'll (her) will look it over and decide on a new look.