Kitchen 51

Anyone who has even remotely paid attention to this blog knows that I don’t have the kitchen done for 2 reasons.   I have ADD and I get distracted by side projects.  Wait, that is only one reason.   Whatever.    The only thing you need to know about this side project is I love whiskey. 


I have a friend that owns a bar.   Actually we are friends because he owns a bar.  I mean, any guy that opens a bourbon bar walking distance from my place of residence  is going to be my friend.  I love him because he has a bourbon bar, he loves me because I pay his mortgage every month.   This “friend” opened a second bar.   At this new bar he planned to have draft beer, something that he doesn’t have at the bar close to my house.   I really don’t care, because I don’t drink beer.   I drink bourbon.   He commissioned me to build his draft board.

He left the design up to me.   His bars (both of them) have a traditional speakeasy feel to them.  My style is contemporary, so my main goal was to make something that looked as if it belonged in the bar, not something that belongs in my house.  I decided to go with an irish pub feel, with chalkboards.    When I bought my house there were two huge chalkboards in the basement.   Which I kept.    He has 8 drafts, so I took one of the large chalkboards started cutting it up.

I used my track saw and a masonry blade to cut the chalkboard.   There are couple of key notes here.   1) cutting chalkboard fucking sucks.  2) I waited until the hottest day of the year to cut it.   It was so hot, I had wear gloves to touch the metal track.    3) a 4 x 4 sheet of 3/8 thick chalk board is HEAVY I estimated it at about 7000lbs.

I had this great idea that I was going to use these old square cut concrete nails to hang the chalkboard.   It would look cool.   That was a stupid idea.   It didn’t work for 10 different reasons that I am not going to list here.   Mostly, that idea just wasted my time.

I ended up going with wooden dowel rods.   Wood doesn’t chip slate, unlike metal nails.   You can see the layout lines in this picture so that each board lined up perfectly.

There they all are, laid out and lined up.  I did use a jig and a japanese flush cut saw to cut the dowel rods  off at the exact same height.

Then I built up the top part for the letters.   I also put some fancy trim in between each row.

Then I printed out the letters and glued them to nice piece of ambrosia maple.  I used my scroll saw to cut them out.   As it turns out, if you are good with a saw, you don’t need sand or anything.  Just cut it up and go.

I messed up drilling out one of the chalkboards.   I created a jig so each one would be the same.   Only the first one was drilled incorrectly, which resulted in two extra holes.   I didn’t have any spare chalkboard, so I had to fix it.   I mixed up some 5 minute epoxy and then put bunch of chalkboard dust in it.    Filled in real nice.    If I truely were a perfectionist, that shiny epoxy against a matte chalkboard would bother me.

so yeah.. I took some sand paper and roughed up the epoxy..   I can’t help myself.

and there you go.   It’s hard to tell from the picture but that thing is pretty high up.   It’s about 46 x 43 so it’s a good size.  The top is about 10 feet off the floor.

It’s hard to get a great picture because it’s a bar, and it’s dark.   Also I am usually drinking whiskey when I am in there.  I am pretty happy with the way it turned out.

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