Patio Bar

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Project by JamesN posted 08-01-2012 04:42 AM 1694 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a very fun project. :)

I was commissioned to build a bar on the patio at the local Joe’s Crab Shack. The materials are as follows:

All wood is pine
3/4” BC ply
3/4” AB ply

The legs and foot rest are made of 1 1/2” galvanized pipe and fittings.

I would have to say the most difficult part of this project (besides the finish) was hand cutting and threading the legs and foot rest pipe pieces. I had to purchase the the piping in 21 foot lengths so that I could get each piece cut to the correct lengths because the big box stores and plumbing supplies don’t sell sections of pipe exactly the length I needed. I broke one pipe threader on about the third day of use, so I took a trip back to the tool store and exchanged it for a new one. Wow! What a difference! Apparently the threader bit that I had been using was dull straight out of the box and the new bit made the cutting so much easier.

In the third picture you can see the skeletal system that I used under the top surface of the bar. I wanted the bar top to be sturdy and not flex while someone was leaning on the inside edge, yet I couldn’t put legs under the inside edge to support it. The double beam gives loads of support and the ribbing is attached with glue and 6 inch ledger screws. This system ended up work great because I can jump up and down on the inside edge and it barely has any deflection at all even before the 2×4 edging board was added.

I laminated the AB ply over the BC ply to give me an 1 1/2 inch thick bar top. This allowed me to stagger the butt joints of the AB and the BC plys as well so that I didn’t have a seam in the bar top that ran from top to bottom. The slight warp in the AC ply was able to provide enough pull against the glue to pull it apart when I came back the next day to keep working. I had to encourage the new coating of contact cement to hold onto the lamination with finish nails shot in from underneath.

And then the finish. I’m going to have to redo it. It looks great from a distance, but when you get up close, there are lots of streaks and uneven spots. I apparently had the wrong squeegee for working with epoxy. I have since learned that a squeegee with a scalloped edge is a much better tool. My other issue was bugs. I had to do the coating outside, next to a lake, at night after the restaurant closed. I put up a bunch of film drop cloths to act as a tent. It kept the bugs away for about 30 minutes, but after that they figured a route and I was inundated with thousand of bugs that were dying to be a part of the finish. So they are.

The GM is extremely happy with the bar, but I’m not, so they are using it currently and I’m waiting on more epoxy material to arrive so I can redo the surface. I’ll use a much heavier tarp and seal it all the way down with velcro next time.

3 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17594 posts in 3387 days

#1 posted 08-01-2012 07:53 AM

Nice work, looks good.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View johnstoneb's profile


3054 posts in 2371 days

#2 posted 08-01-2012 12:55 PM

I see what you are talking about on the finish. It looks wavy in the picture. I like the look. It makes me think of moving water or a calm sea. Just the look you need in a crab shack. A second coat of finish will probably cause you to loose that look but it will be level then. It is a nice looking bar and I can see why the Manager is happy with it.
Bugs seem to take a special delight in dying in epoxy finishes. If you can illuminate you work from a distance the bugs will be drawn to the light source and should stay away from your work area. Shut the light off as soon as you are finished with the epoxy.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View JamesN's profile


26 posts in 2368 days

#3 posted 08-01-2012 02:34 PM

Thank you both,

I’ll give that a try Bruce, I tried unscrewing the light bulbs right above my work and only had one light bulb running inside my little ‘tented’ area. Couldn’t see the greatest, and the bugs came anyways. So, maybe if I kill all the lights over the bar and do like you say, use some work lights from further way… that might work pretty good :)

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