HUGE and heavy Oak Bartop

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Project by KnotCurser posted 07-19-2016 12:00 AM 1156 views 2 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This bartop started as a labor of love and nearly killed me in the end!

A very good friend of mine asked me to create a bartop for his newly renovated basement. He gave me FULL license as long as I ran the ideas off him prior to building – how can a man say NO to that?

I asked my lumber provider (you all DO have a lumber provider, right? I highly recommend it ;-) for a book-matched slab of most any wood with a good grain at least eight feet long and two inches thick minimum.

He sent me pictures of this VERY rough slab, but stated it was QS Red Oak and very figured so I took a chance on it and brought it home. Picture 6 is what it first looked like.

A TON of work later, it was edged and planed enough to glue up. Then came the HOURS of sanding.

I asked another good friend of mine, who happens to own Freestate Guitars in Annapolis, MD for some advice on how he colors his guitars so well and he very nicely volunteered a couple hours of his time to show me how he did it!

The wood was first taken up to 400grit smoothness and then dyed jet black with aniline dyes (Pic 5). After drying it was sanded almost all the way off and then re-dyed with brownish red. Then re-sanded and dyed again with brown. Re-sanded and then finally 10 coats of my own formula of wipe-on urethane.

LOTS of work, but the results speak for themselves. He LOVES it and so do I. Job Done!

All in, I would say I spent about 14 hours on this slab of oak – I hope it lasts him a lifetime. He DID promise me the first drink served on it though – that makes it special as well. :-)

Overall, the finished bar measures 105×28 inches and is just over two inches thick. Weight – around 160lbs.

OH! I didn’t mention having to get this down a VERY narrow flight of stairs with a 90 degree turn at the bottom – that’s where it tried to kill me! ;-)



-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

24 comments so far

View Q1X's profile


4 posts in 190 days

#1 posted 07-19-2016 12:04 AM


-- “Never explain — your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you anyway.” –Elbert Hubbard

View chrisstef's profile


15455 posts in 2424 days

#2 posted 07-19-2016 12:12 AM


-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View GR8HUNTER's profile


969 posts in 130 days

#3 posted 07-19-2016 12:15 AM

very nice top ….. now I would take a draft … an iced mug ….......GREAT JOB


View rtbrmb's profile


457 posts in 1806 days

#4 posted 07-19-2016 12:20 AM

Awesome job with that beautiful red oak.

Thanks for sharing.

Bill in MI

View Linkovich's profile


107 posts in 741 days

#5 posted 07-19-2016 12:29 AM

That is real nice. Good job dude.

View flintbone's profile


192 posts in 2574 days

#6 posted 07-19-2016 12:34 AM

Beautiful job. I know it was hard work but I think it was worth the effort.
Keep up the good work.

-- If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. - Albert Einstein

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2578 days

#7 posted 07-19-2016 03:08 AM

Something to be proud of Bob. Nice.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View CaptainSkully's profile


1407 posts in 2976 days

#8 posted 07-19-2016 03:10 AM

Magnificent! The bookmatching… The chatoyance… The finish recipe… The medullary ray fleck… Thanks for sharing!

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View ralbuck's profile


1782 posts in 1684 days

#9 posted 07-19-2016 04:27 AM

Worth the work! BUT—I think your hours estimate is short!

-- just rjR

View JPJ's profile


792 posts in 2037 days

#10 posted 07-19-2016 05:02 AM

Nothing like quarter sawn red oak!

View Dustin's profile


124 posts in 158 days

#11 posted 07-19-2016 12:27 PM

For such a cumbersome and intensive project, 14 hours total doesn’t sound too bad. At that point, I’m pretty sure all I would have had was 14 hours worth of swearing. Well done!

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View avsmusic1's profile


39 posts in 102 days

#12 posted 07-19-2016 12:31 PM

absolutely beautiful

pardon a potentially novice question – did you fill the grain?

View KnotCurser's profile


1995 posts in 2486 days

#13 posted 07-19-2016 12:41 PM

Thanks to everyone for all the wonderful comments!!!!

avsmusic1 – I did not fill the grain (and that’s not a novice question, BTW) in this case. It was the holes in the grain that helped create the fantastic patterns you see. I took advantage of the differences in the grain when I used the aniline dye method of flooding and then sanding. Thanks for asking!

And….....maybe 14 hours WAS an understatement. ;-)

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View david38's profile


2365 posts in 1761 days

#14 posted 07-19-2016 02:13 PM

looks great

View Jaydee829's profile


13 posts in 240 days

#15 posted 07-19-2016 07:02 PM

This is stunning! Job well done.

-- Justin, California

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