While at work on a commercial job, we were removing some large modular cabinets and millwork. Many of these work perfectly as a bar, and so I decided to keep one for myself. Last summer my wife and I began to mosaic the front and sides with ceramic tiles and celtic knot work.
While researching designs for the bar-top, she came across a decorative wall hanger; an oak barrel bottom with the Harps Lager logo embossed on it.
These were available for sale on the interwebs ($90) and were obviously mass produced on a CNC router. Thinking we needed one, she asked me to build one from scratch.
I immediately went to work scrounging up all of my old strips of oak, and determined that while I had enough, I wouldn’t let the fact that there were two different species stop me. Oak is oak is oak right?
I laminated the different strips together, and planed them smooth with the old no 4. to roughly a half an inch in thickness, then determined my overall dimensions so that the barrel bottom would be to scale. After cutting the disk out with a bevel on the bandsaw, I tested some golden oak stain.
Now came the headache of figuring out the math for the 24 tapered segments. After a couple of weeks of headscratching, I plugged the known dimensions into Google Sketchup, and immediately began kicking myself for not having done so sooner.
Now that I knew all of my desired angles, I fabricated a dedicated table saw sled, and cut some test segments.
Everything fit well, so I altered the sled to cut dado’s into each segment. This took a little while, as I currently don’t own a stack dado setup, but my freud crosscut blade did quite well none the less.
After a couple of test fittings, it was on to the glue-up. The Wood Whisperer Marc Spagnuolo dedicated some video time to the excellence of masking tape in the glue-up of a mitered joint, which proved very useful, and efficient. The process took less then a minute to glue all 24 segments, and the disk together.
I went back to the band saw and cut the same inside radius of the barrel wall with the same degree of taper, and adhered some sand paper to it. This made the shaping of the inside much easier. With only 24 segments, I wasn’t quite as round as I would have liked, so the shaping aided in the desired effect.
So here I am, near completion. This project has been put on the back burner as time has been very hard to come by. With the completed progress, it has inspired more design implements on the bar itself, and I look forward to it’s ultimate completion. Hopefully I can get back to it this upcoming weekend.
The steel strapping to emulate the barrel hoops that Coopers drive onto the barrels to seal the joints
The embossed bar logo: “Bottom of the Barrel Pub” gracing the face
An aged finish, using golden oak stain, ebony stain to highlight the embossment, and something to seal out the elements, as this is an outdoor piece. As to what will seal it, I haven;t decided yet.
Check Back Soon!!
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