Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Project: Cold Box, pt 2 & Bar, pt 1

It's been a while since I posted anything on the status of my projects. Since I have so many "irons in the fire" that one of my friends has started calling me "Iron Man", I'll share just one... well, maybe two... in a way: the "Cold Box" Project and the associated bar.

A lot has happened since I last posted anything about the cold box project. The exterior got some drywall, "mud", and preliminary decoration. I drilled a few holes in the insulated panels so I could route CO2 and beer lines through the wall and out of the barrel ends. Well, the gas is currently sitting behind the bar and will eventually end up inside the bar... or given a Victorian treatment and displayed proudly as part of the bar.
At present, those two faucets are pouring Arrogant Bastard Ale and Stone India Pale Ale. The parts list is currently:
  • Oak barrel - since the barrel was no longer liquid-tight, I got it free. With the ends cut off and glued up, they make nice ornaments for a bar.
  • Faucets - the brass finish faucets come from Micromatic, as do all the other pieces and parts behind the scenes.
  • Tap handles - the handles are just that... antique door handles with a threaded hole that just so happened to be the same thread as the handle mount. They were found in a box in my garage when we bought our house.
  • Kerosene lamps - they were a cheap $3.00 find at Goodwill.
  • "Tool holder" - really, it's a matchstick holder for a fireplace. Again, a cheap find at $1.00. I repurposed it for the bar to hold a bottle opener, a corkscrew, and a "sporkener" I picked up at Magic Hat brewing Co. on my last vacation.
  • Railroad lantern - This was a Christmas gift from my grandfather. It has been converted from kerosene to electricity, but it is still really cool. Thanks Grandpa!
The bar itself is currently made up of three unfinished oak base cabinets I picked up at Lowe's (reasonably priced). The bar top is currently two massive slabs of mahogany I salvaged from an old pallet. Yeah. An old pallet. From France. Circa 1945. The pieces that make up the bar surface are 65" x 15.5" x 3". The bar's "arm rest" is made of the other two sides of the ol' rectangular pallet. They're a bit smaller at 64" x 7" x 3". I've resawed them into the front and side cantilevered raised section of the bar. Interestingly enough, these smaller pieces have some significant wear and weathering that, when combined with small amounts of dryrot and insect damage, give the surface the appearance of many years of service in the bar. Perfect!

The front of the bar (the ugly back of the cabinets) is currently obscured by two cherry veneer covered desk ends. As things progress, they will be replaced by some salvaged oak 4" x 6" posts and 2" x 6" planks. The mahogany will be finished with oil and a light sealant. All the oak will probably get a stain to complement the mahogany... unless it looks better oiled and sealed too.

What you can't see in the photos above are the other details I have planned. As of this writing, I anticipate building a canopy over the bar to store glasses, show off some sort of stained glass, and provide the requisite moody task lighting (like the example at right). I haven't selected the posts quite yet, as they need to be stout.

Around the outer edge of the cantilevered section of the bar, a band of LED lighting will provide more accent lighting. I don't know if I will mount it inside of some polished brass or copper tubing, but I'm considering it.

Where the cantilevered area joins the rest of the bar top, I will install some brass strips I found on our property. I stumbled across two large pieces of brass; the biggest, at 44" x 1.75" x 3/16" (with a shorter brazed-on 'L' section) will allow me to put an edging to provide more visual interest. The second piece of brass is close to the first in dimensions, but was found buried in the backyard; a significant (though not impossible to remove) coating of corrosion leaves me wondering what I will end up doing with it.

More later as the work progresses. I'll share updates in "Project: Bar, pt 2".