Adventures in Epoxy

18 06 2012

Having finished up the hardwood flooring that was to make up the bartop, I applied a coat of polyurethane in preparation for the bartop epoxy that would create a crystal clear sealant/protectant and bring the top to life.  This was the last step before I embarked on a process that would essentially be irreversible, and quite possibly disastrous if done improperly.  The days leading up to my eventual embarkation were ones of slight anxiety and a little lack of sleep.

I had to figure out how much of this stuff I needed.  The product I went with was EnviroTex Lite, and I was able to find it at Menards.  The dimensions of the bartop are about 91 inches by 28 inches, or 17.5 square feet.  According to the product website, this would require about 2.25 gallons of the epoxy (you can look up the product at Menards; it’s not exactly cheap) to be poured onto the hardwood flooring that was trimmed in with a 3/16 in bordering lip.  Piece of cake, right?

I had Melissa help me.  The plan was to mix two of the one gallon kits in separate 5 quart ice cream buckets, and then pour them on.  I did my best to tape up any area underneath the trim that I thought could potentially be a place of leakage.  So Melissa and I poured the resin and hardener into our ice cream buckets, stirred for two minutes, and then poured the mixture as evenly as we could onto the surface (I then quickly mixed up the additional quart and poured it on as well).  It did it’s thing and found level, filling out all the way to the edge of the top without any human interaction.  Then the fun began.

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Bar Top Preparation

1 05 2012

Through the process of planning and dreaming up the bar, I found that the design is really only limited by your imagination.  So when it came to figuring out what to do for a counter top, I was pleased to find out that expense wise, there were lots of options to choose from.  I initially thought that regular old kitchen counter tops were going to be the easiest, and cheapest.  It turns out that while this might be a simple solution, the look can leave much to be desired.  When learning that something like using hardwood flooring was not really any more expensive than laminate counters, we decided to go that route.

You can see pictures from the previous post, but the bar has a dark finish to it.  So I figured I’d contrast the dark with a brighter stain for the top.  I bought unfinished oak hardwood flooring from Menards, and stained it with Minwax Natural wood finish.  We are going to assemble the “flooring” in a sort of zigzag fashion to give the top some character.

Once the top is assembled and in place, we’ll seal it up with an epoxy designed for table tops.  This will finish off the top with the equivalent of about 50 coats of polyurethane and will make a nearly indestructible finish.  The trim around the edge of the top will allow for the hard wood flooring and then a 3/16 inch layer of the epoxy.  (Here is a YouTube video of what this will entail).

The hardwood flooring that will become my bartop. Sanded, stained, and sitting in my garage.





Raising the Bar: Part 2

29 04 2012

With our basement officially finished, I continue on some of the other basement projects that help make the space that much more enjoyable.  Case in point…the bar!  We framed out the bar before putting in the carpet, and now that the carpet is in, it’s time to move on.

The bar is going to have stained oak plywood sides and an oak hardwood floor top.  With a help from Jon, a friend of mine who is doing most of the thinking on this project, we got the sides cut, stained, and in place.  An interesting point I learned that “shop rags” that they sell at Menards are nothing more than t-shirts cut into pieces.  So I took a bunch of t-shirts that I just happened to set aside just recently to go to Goodwill and made a small truckload of shop rags.  Which was good because staining requires a lot of rags.

So on to the bar.  Melissa and I had gone back and forth on color.  We had painted the walls a fairly neutral color, and we picked out a fairly neutral carpet color.  We initially were looking at stain colors that were somewhat neutral as well.  After thinking about it, I decided that eventually we needed to do something bold in the basement.  So we went with a pretty dark stain color called Dark Walnut.  I am very happy with how the color turned out, much more satisfied than if I did another fairly neutral color.

Also, while I came up with the overall concept of design as far as how big I wanted it, Melissa had an idea for sprucing up the sides.  She thought of framing the sides with a series of picture frames.  After putting it all up, it looks darn good.  I have some touch ups to do still, but all in all, it’s looking pretty good.

The next step will be the bar top.  The top is going be hardwood flooring, stained a more natural color to contrast the dark sides and trim.  Then, we’ll use a bar top epoxy to create a thick, glass-like film to completely seal the hardwood flooring and create a nearly impenetrable surface.  That’s my next process.

Aaaaaand……pictures!

The top is trimmed with a lip to account for the hardwood flooring and a 3/16 inch layer of epoxy

You can see the picture frame trim that gives the face some character

We laid the tile behind the bar. There will eventually be a counter top over the fridge as well as a regular cabinet with a sink to the right. The shelves seen here will be stained the same as the rest of the bar.

With a little creativity, anything awesome can be made more awesome!

We’ve already had our first successful basement party, making use of the bar in a state slightly earlier than the pictures above.  And because I can, I watch Brewer games from my bar, just because I can!





Making Drywall Easier

10 08 2011

The drywall phase has begun.  I have finished framing, plumbing, electrical, and insulation, and now the basement is slowly going to start to take on the appearance of a real living space.  That being said, I’m sure this is going to be a long process.

I got my first load of drywall earlier this week, getting 24 sheets to get me started.  I’m estimating around 80 sheets to cover both my walls and my ceilings, so I’ll have a few more Menards runs before I’m all done.  I’ve also estimate approximately 3200 screws needed for the entire job, so we’re talking about something big here.

Like a lot of my work in the basement, I have had to do a lot of reading and research into what it takes to hang drywall.  And as a side note, it’s interesting to note that drywall is not installed, it is hung.  I saw one how-to video where they referred to what they were doing as “rocking”, since drywall is also called sheet rock.  Anyway, I am drywalling the ceiling, and drywall is too heavy for someone like me to hoist it up by myself to get it into place.  I looked into renting a lift, but decided to take my chances on eBay.  I ended up getting a drywall lift on eBay for just a little more than hardware stores would rent one to me for a week.  So far, it has been worth every penny and then some.  I have put up 4 sheets so far, and this tool great.

Giving me a lift

This helps me hang drywall on the ceiling by myself

The lift has a tripod base (three wheels) so I can move it around even when the drywall sheet is cranked up to the ceiling.  It might be my favorite tool so far.








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