How to build your own bar, part 2

Work begins, beer is consumed, power tools whir.

by Dave McAwesome

Neither I nor Chip Hardwood nor anyone we know has a router. A router, for those of you who may not know, is a cutting device that turns ordinary lumber into maple-esque Godivas. My understanding of the technical process is that you insert a cutting bit, line up the wood, push it through, add some fairy dust, and viola! Instant Louis XIV! Pretty neat.

build your own bar wood
Wow. Look at that wood. It's like the big mothership in Aliens that stretched on forever. If it were made of wood. This is also a prime example of wood in absense of a router. The lack of a router ensures this wood will end up looking very boring.

Without a router, we'd have to forgo things like "lavish design," "luxurious decor," and "looks like you spent more than 10 minutes building this." No. 'Bare competence' would have to suffice. If you looked closely at my amazing sketch from part 1, you'll notice a Laverne and Shirley type flip door. They look so nice, I sketched it twice. I can even name them Laverne and Shirley. The reason is simple: cash. Underneath a door is empty space. That's less wood to buy. This strategy saved me a mint. You know how much these bar things cost? A good L-shaped bar? Many zeros, my friend. Many zeros. And if you want a proper backbar, forget it. You'd be better off making it out of Legos or Mega Bloks. Don't want an L-shaped bar? Just a three or four foot bar top? That, sir, is not a bar. That's a concession stand. I wants me a bar.

So I have this groovy L-shape design with two Laverne and Shirley flip open doors. Chip and I pile into his truck and head to the hardware store. I'd like to tell you we went to a local family owned hardware or lumber store. I really would. But they're all gone. The one remaining is too small and doesn't have everything I need. So we end up at the Home Depot and spend a few hours piling stuff onto a lumber cart. In keeping with Home Depot's time-honored tradition of making their store as impenetrable as possible, finding good door hinges took at least 45 minutes.

radial arm saw
This is a radial arm saw. It is horribly inept at killing mosquitos.

Chip has a radial arm saw, and this would be our main cutting tool (a radial arm saw is like a circular table saw, except it cuts from above). Safety first, so I put in some ear plugs while Chip poured two beers from his garage kegs.

carpentry and beer really, really, really irresponsible.

Also wait until it's completely pitch black to start using power tools. That's your bonus safety tip for today.

The cutting went pretty well. No one lost a limb. Our blood alcohol level was too low to get the mosquitos tipsy, but we did spray enough bug killer to give any nearby wildlife cancer. Tough break, Nature.

It was too dark to use the circular hand saw on the remaining pieces, so we poured more beer. A note on measuring carefully: I recommend it! I had a numbered cut list and still made mistakes. A note on people who tell you to make very, very dark pencil marks to label all your pieces: "It'll sand off easy," they'll say. "By the time you stain it, it'll be invisible," they say. They are liars.

Coming up...Part 3: Carpentry Flashback.

Read the whole story from the beginning.

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