In today’s world of instant gratification, people often equate faster with better. But in our experience, satisfaction comes from doing things the right way with no shortcuts. This is how we and our friends at Knob Creek®, the leader of hard-earned, small batch whiskey, approach our respective crafts—which is why we created this three-part Build-A-Bar project in paid partnership with Knob Creek®.
In the first installment, we covered how to build the bar from white oak repurposed from barn beams. We enhanced the bar’s finish by adding a foot rail and caster wheels for mobility, and even found a way to accentuate the cracks, knots, and holes in the wood.
Read on to learn how to incorporate some of these surprisingly unique touches into your own bar. Then sit back, pour yourself a drink, and say cheers to taking no shortcuts–just like Knob Creek®–on a job well done.
Fill in Unwanted Holes and Cracks with Epoxy
To accentuate the wood's natural grain, we filled in the large cracks and holes with a clear epoxy: It not only fills these areas, it does so in a way that slightly magnifies them, increasing their visibility in an attractive way.
An easy to use product for this task are both West System 105 Epoxy Resin and 205 Fast Hardener, which come with custom pump dispenser nozzles featuring a one-to-one pump ratio. You mount the nozzle on the can and pump the dispenser nozzle to meter the correct amount of material for resin and hardener. Then, you just stroke each nozzle an equal number of times (one stroke for resin and one for hardener; three strokes for resin and three for hardener, or whatever volume you need).
Add the two materials in a disposable plastic cup making sure they're fully mixed, turn the bar on its back, and apply the solution by pouring and brushing it into voids. Since the epoxy is slightly thicker than honey, it'll run out the back of the panel if the crack goes through both sides.
Put painter’s masking tape on the back of the panels in locations where you want to prevent flow-through, then peel the tape off after the epoxy has hardened. If some epoxy globs harden on the wood’s surface, sand them.
To remove air bubbles from the surface of the resin, use a heat gun or torch to heat the resin surface before it sets. Next, sand the bar surfaces with 120-grit and 220-grit sandpaper. The simple step of using fine grit sandpaper will assist in staining and result in a refined product.
Stain the Wood to Make it Look More Rustic
There’s nothing wrong with staining the bar an attractive stock color, but we used a custom-blended stain to achieve a mellow shade and suit the rustic white oak boards.
Accomplishing a warm glow is easy—it only requires the purchase of two to three stains of the same type. We used Minwax Wood Finish (oil-based) wood stains. Regardless of the brand, start with a color that’s close to what you want and blend additional colors into a disposable plastic cup using a teaspoon to measure and mix, getting the color just right.
Our base color was Minwax Golden Oak 210B, with one part Gun Stock 231 and one part Special Walnut 224. Before you commit to staining your project, apply your blend on a piece of scrap wood, then let it dry. And remember, the final color will be slightly darker after the polyurethane finish is applied.
We used our custom stain blend everywhere—on the top, front, and sides. When the stain dried, we highlighted the inset corners to accentuate them, and give it a feeling of earned age. It’s simple to do.
At an art supply store, we picked up some artist brushes and acrylic paint in hues that were darker than the stain color. We also bought a small container of burnt umber, a dark brown that’s almost black. Using these paints, we mixed a color several shades darker than the stained oak.
Use the artist brush to apply a heavy but narrow coat in the corners where the face frame meets the front panel, then take a clean brush and drag some of this paint out from the corner. Using a third clean artist brush, feather the paint out.
Lastly, we finished with three coats of Minwax Wipe-On Poly finish, rubbing out imperfections with steel wool. The result is a subtle, slightly darker corner that looks like it has arrived with age.
Optimize Mobility with Caster Wheels
First, you might ask, why casters? Well, it might make sense for you to feature them if the bar is housed in a comparatively small space. That way, you can push it out of the way when it’s not in use to make better use of your floor area. We purchased six rubber wheel, ball bearing casters for about $9 each at a local home center. They each have an 80-pound load rating.
You want to hide them as much as possible so that it doesn’t appear that you’ve got a wheeled bar. To do that, you need to tuck the casters behind the bracket feet and have the wheel’s height project slightly above the height of the feet. You want the bar to look like it's resting on the wheels even if it doesn’t seem like it is. What little of the wheels is visible is really hidden in the shadow below the feet.
All you need is ¼ inch to ½ inch of exposed wheel beyond the feet in order to achieve this. Crosscut blocks to fit between the frame pieces and use pocket screws to attach them to the frame. In the case of the casters we used, we arrived at the correct amount of wheel exposure above the bracket feet by raising up the casters an additional ¼ inch using thin pieces of solid poplar glued to the face of the wood block. Attach the casters to the base using wood screws driven through the caster flange and into support blocks.
Light Up the Interiors with LEDs
A great way to light the interior of the cabinet is to use stick-on LED lighting for on top of and underneath the shelf. We used Anbock Under Cabinet Wireless LED lights, powered by four AAA batteries.
To install them, you peel and stick the backing plate wherever you want. The light simply attaches to the backing plate with magnets. Control the lights with its dimmer switch or by a remote.
KNOB CREEK® KENTUCKY STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY 50% ALC./VOL. ©2019 Knob Creek® Distilling Company, CLERMONT, KY.
Let us reward you for your hard work with Knob Creek® barware, enter HERE.
After you put in the hard work, show us your bar and enter for the chance to win $5,000 HERE.
SWEEPSTAKES RULES: Sweeps Dates: 9/10-10/14
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. KnobCreek Popular Mechanics Build A Bar Sweepstakes. Sponsored by Hearst Magazine Media, Inc. Beginning September 10th, 2019 at 12:01 AM (ET) through October 14th, 2019 at 11:59 PM (ET), go to popularmechanics.com/buildabar on a computer or wireless device and complete the entry form pursuant to the on-screen instructions. 75 Winners will receive a Knob Creek branded bar tool set (mixing glass, spoon, jigger, strainer) (ARV: $175.00). Important Notice: You may be charged for visiting the mobile website in accordance with the terms of your service agreement with your carrier. Odds of winning will depend upon the
total number of eligible entries received. Must be 21 and a legal resident of AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, HI, IA, IL, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MO, MT, NE, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, TN, TX and WI to participate. Void where prohibited. Subject to complete official rules at https://www.popularmechanics.com/sweepstakes/a28065787/popular-mechanics-knobcreek-contest-rules-1560778119/
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