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It was much easier than we were expecting. This is an unspeakable relief to me, as I adore the mantle, but it does not fit in that room as we’re planning to use it. I was really upset about the idea of either ruining the mantle, or covering it up with a giant desk and making it look all out of place instead of on display. But once we got up the guts to actually just yank on it, everything was better than fine. While there were lots of nail heads in the front, there were only a few going through, and they were just tacked into the (smooth & finished!) plaster wall underneath, as opposed to being structurally tied to the oak studs. All is wonderful and perfect.