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Building outdoor bar top out of cherry, need tips and advice

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Forum topic by Rylsngrd posted 06-16-2020 12:50 AM 752 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rylsngrd

10 posts in 883 days


06-16-2020 12:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bartop bread board ends question cherry biscuit joiner joining

I am wanting to build this bar top out of cherry. it will be 3/4” thick with a 1” x 3” skirt around it. I was hoping to make it a 1” or thicker top, but the lumber I have is just not going to give me that. Anyway, I am looking for any advice you might be able to share on building this in the way that you see in my pic. It is 11’ feet long. I am thinking that the long side skirts are going to be used as bread board ends. is this right, good or even possible given the dimensions? If this is reasonable, I am trying to figure out a resource to find how to do this on an 11’ long project like this!! And also curious if I could use the bisquit joiner for this too. Any and all advice is highly appreciated.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/vs-lumberjocks.com/qbzu6sc.jpg!


17 replies so far

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Aj2

3687 posts in 2813 days


#1 posted 06-16-2020 02:08 AM

The only problem I see is the orientation of the wood. For best results the boards should lay the length of the bar.
Wood expands across its width something outside will move a lot.
If you orientate the boards the same way in the picture you’ll have to tongue and groove them. With big gaps for they will grow and shrink a lot until they get so warped they are stuck.

Good Luck

-- Aj

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Rylsngrd

10 posts in 883 days


#2 posted 06-16-2020 02:42 AM

Not going to lie. That was a very deflating response. (Not your fault). I do not have boards long enough to do that, so I already processed all my boards to the shorter length. So now I guess the question is, is it too late to orient them the long way if I use multiple shorter boards to make up the total length? I guess I just didn’t understand there was a difference between joining by width the short way as opposed to joining by width with longer boards. I thought it would be the same.

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Rich

6609 posts in 1605 days


#3 posted 06-16-2020 04:11 AM

There’s no reason to lay those boards lengthwise. If small gaps are allowable, use a thin spacer of around 1/16” or less between the slats so they can move. If you need a gap-free surface, consider some sort of ship lap, or any means to allow wood movement. The space between each slat doesn’t need to be very wide since each individual slat won’t move much.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Rylsngrd

10 posts in 883 days


#4 posted 06-16-2020 12:23 PM

Thanks Rich. So, the intent was to create a true table top. Is this still possible with the shiplap? Are you suggesting that I can use a shiplap joint and still be able to glue these together for a solid top?

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Aj2

3687 posts in 2813 days


#5 posted 06-16-2020 01:19 PM

I disagree with Rich. Cherry has a very high seasonal movement. It’s really not that great of choice for outdoor projects. It’s not just the field boards that will give you trouble I predict the apron around the edges is doomed to give you trouble.
Redesign Redesign

Good Luck

-- Aj

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Rich

6609 posts in 1605 days


#6 posted 06-16-2020 01:57 PM


Thanks Rich. So, the intent was to create a true table top. Is this still possible with the shiplap? Are you suggesting that I can use a shiplap joint and still be able to glue these together for a solid top?

- Rylsngrd

No I’m not. Unless you isolate the movement of each slat, then the entire top will expand and contract with the combined movement of each slat and it’ll be a mess.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Robert

4456 posts in 2496 days


#7 posted 06-16-2020 02:21 PM

Fundamentally, Aj2 is correct, but the method Rich mentioned will work.

Ship lap would be the easiest, tongue and groove another option. The key is fasten each board on the side holding the next board down. This allows the movement to go one way. If the boards are, say 6” wide, in this application you may need as much as 1/4” allowance for expansion.

Of course this depends entirely on your climate. If this is AZ or CO, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

The downside is a top with pretty big gaps, which for me would be a “no go” as the gaps will be a trap for debris, as well as moisture. If you do go that route, I would finish each board before installing in order to ensure the overlaps are sealed. All depends on how exposed it is.

My preference would be to simply do it like decking. This will avoid debris getting trapped and allow rain etc to pass through rather than sitting in the overlaps.

ALL THIS SAID, I have to agree with Aj2 you have not picked a good species of wood for this application.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Rylsngrd

10 posts in 883 days


#8 posted 06-16-2020 02:45 PM

Rich and Aj2 thank you for your input. I am taking that to heart.

Robert, unfortunately I live in Indiana. horrible swings in heat and humidity. are there ANY species that would be conducive to laminating? On top of the bartop, I was also planning on building a butcher block type piece that would serve as a pull out prep table. I am really wanting to see this design work, so if there is any advice available to accomplish a solid top and a solid laminate butcher block prep table top, I would really like to know!! I do plan on covering the bar when not in use, but that does nothing for humidity, I know.

View Ocelot's profile (online now)

Ocelot

2895 posts in 3654 days


#9 posted 06-16-2020 03:13 PM

You might could do it with some tropical species.

Ipe is highly rated, but expensive.

Angelim Pedra is used for decking on heavy equipment trailers in all weather, so it would work. Much cheaper, but less pretty.

I’m hardly an expert, so hopefully somebody will come along who has actually done it.

-Paul

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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Rich

6609 posts in 1605 days


#10 posted 06-16-2020 03:16 PM

You could make that work by getting rid of the apron and attaching the top to the base in a way that will allow for movement. Check out one of the wood movement calculators to get a feel. For example, I plugged in 8% MC initial and 12% MC final into one and came up with almost 1 inch movement over 96 inches. That’s an amount you can work with. Pin it in the middle and allow for 1/2” movement at the ends.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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SMP

3460 posts in 921 days


#11 posted 06-16-2020 04:53 PM

The frustration you will have on a bartop is having a flat spot to place drinks, shakers, pitchers etc. IME, the slats will eventually get out of flat enough to make it annoying to set a glass down. I would consider getting a piece of glass to cover the top, at least the long part. Thats just my opinion, but good luck whichever route you choose.

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Rich

6609 posts in 1605 days


#12 posted 06-16-2020 05:24 PM

I think your top would stay flat enough if you construct it properly and allow for movement. For this application, z-clips would be a good choice, since they slide in slots you cut on the inside of the apron. That means you can snug the top down to the frame, keeping it from warping, while allowing for a large range of movement. Figure 8s might not allow for enough movement. Use a z-clip every couple of feet and that top will stay flat.

Regarding biscuits, they might help you keep the slats aligned while you glue it up.

I see some “it won’t work” comments. Don’t let that stop you. Give it a go. That’s how you learn.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Rylsngrd

10 posts in 883 days


#13 posted 06-16-2020 06:19 PM

What if I used this….

https://buyhardwood.advantagelumber.com/p-60-1-x-6-ipe-pregrooved.aspx

its a pregrooved Ipe flooring. this resists movement, I can get it in 11’ boards and laminate like I wanted, yes?

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Rylsngrd

10 posts in 883 days


#14 posted 06-17-2020 12:35 AM

Thanks to all for providing input. I have decided to change the design to the elongated pattern as some recommended and using Ipe as someone else recommended since after a bunch of research, this wood seems to be a very good wood for outdoor applications. I will be obtaining this from a flooring vendor as I mentioned previously as this seems to be the only way I can get it in a semi-reasonable price. To me $800 in lumber is a small price to pay to make the centerpiece in my backyard restaurant a reality. I will however, still be allowing for wood movement the best I can. I have my reasons why I need this to happen, and happen with hopefully very little issue in a short time frame. I wish I had the luxury of trial and error, yet this will be a learning experience just the same. Wish me luck! Thanks Jocks.

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Ocelot

2895 posts in 3654 days


#15 posted 06-17-2020 06:29 PM

Follow the recommendations for fasteners with Ipe. It’s a very hard wood and must be predrilled for most fasteners. They have decking fasteners that are hidden from below somehow. Talk to Advantage to find their recommendation.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

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