Author Topic: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build  (Read 946 times)

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Offline David

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Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« on: July 01, 2020, 09:53 PM »
My oldest owns the second largest brewery in the SE and they are expanding to BHM. He asked me to build an Ash bar counter for their new place. It'll be a big "L" shape, 19' in one direction and 12' in the other, w/ a 45-degree joint where they meet. It'll be 12" deep and 2" (8/4) thick. I don't have any choice on the material or dimensions.

What would be the best way to join the various pieces together? What about expansion/shrinkage? It'll be indoors.

I have all the tools/equipment, but haven't done anything like this before.

I'd really appreciate your guidance before I accept this project. :)
Fifth book (less interesting than woodworking) at http://www.expertise.is

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Offline Jiggy Joiner

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2020, 06:38 AM »
Hi David.
I would use counter/worktop connecting bolts and glue. Over here that’s how we join worktops and bar tops. You could add dominos for a belt and braces approach but, we normally just use bolts and glue.
We use a router jig to to cut the bolt locations but, you can either make a jig up, or use a forstner bit, and route channels. Channels make alignment and assembly easier.

Offline David

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2020, 09:43 AM »
Hi David.
I would use counter/worktop connecting bolts and glue. Over here that’s how we join worktops and bar tops. You could add dominos for a belt and braces approach but, we normally just use bolts and glue.
We use a router jig to to cut the bolt locations but, you can either make a jig up, or use a forstner bit, and route channels. Channels make alignment and assembly easier.

Thank you! I just looked up "joint connector" and it pulled up all sorts of options. So I guess if I use my thickness plainer and jointer well, this should all come together.
Fifth book (less interesting than woodworking) at http://www.expertise.is

Offline Rob Z

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2020, 09:52 AM »
Hello David

The connectors that Jiggy mentioned are similar to the ones we used "way back when" with laminate counters.  I don't recall using a jig to prep for the connectors because the sections of counter would come from the fabricator already prepared.

I wonder if you could use dominos/biscuits/dowels to help with the alignment and then use pocket screws to pull pieces together?

Offline Vondawg

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2020, 09:54 AM »
Consider building on a multi-plywood base..I’ve done two in about same lengths (foot and 2 larger) with an edge to hide and slotted for attachment screws From underneath (like a table top) for movement...one is going on 8years and other 3 with no problems. With a slight gap between edge and plywood it gives a place for led strip lighting, very popular these days
There are no mistakes....just new designs.

Offline Dane

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2020, 09:57 AM »
Take a look at the Striplox line of connectors, too.  The seem to be making some innovative solutions to these applications.

Offline Rob Z

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2020, 09:57 AM »
https://www.fastcap.com/product/flipbolt-countertop-connector

This jig and companion bolts look interesting, and certainly inexpensive even if only for a single use.

Offline AstroKeith

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2020, 10:44 AM »
even simpler and cheaper - about 50 cents ea and no jig required. I've used these countless times and you can really get some 'pull-in'. Use two. I'd secure the counter to the base allowing for some movement, although its not very wide across the grain and I wouldn't expect to see more than a millimetre or so.
Retired engineer/scientist

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2020, 04:57 PM »
Good connector info above.

Expansion etc. should not an issue in a single miter construction. Add Dominos between the connectors and you should be good, although I’d prefer and bend (constructed of three 15* wedges) to a hard miter.

Offline Jiggy Joiner

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2020, 05:17 PM »
@Rob Z @AstroKeith  That’s exactly the bolts and jig I was talking about guys. We use them over here for wooden worktops, and laminated etc.
Often we just use the bolts and glue which is a strong joint but, on a thicker bar top, adding dominos or even biscuits wouldn’t hurt. 👍🏻
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 05:06 AM by Jiggy Joiner »

Offline Rob Z

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2020, 07:18 PM »
Jiggy, Keith  that looks like good hardware.

Offline Rob Z

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2020, 07:30 PM »

Offline David

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2020, 10:04 PM »
Hello David

The connectors that Jiggy mentioned are similar to the ones we used "way back when" with laminate counters.  I don't recall using a jig to prep for the connectors because the sections of counter would come from the fabricator already prepared.

I wonder if you could use dominos/biscuits/dowels to help with the alignment and then use pocket screws to pull pieces together?

I like the idea of dominos. I am always looking for excuses to use them. :)
Fifth book (less interesting than woodworking) at http://www.expertise.is

Offline David

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2020, 10:07 PM »
Consider building on a multi-plywood base..I’ve done two in about same lengths (foot and 2 larger) with an edge to hide and slotted for attachment screws From underneath (like a table top) for movement...one is going on 8years and other 3 with no problems. With a slight gap between edge and plywood it gives a place for led strip lighting, very popular these days

Thanks for that idea--esp. to accommodate the LED. What's the advantage of using ash over plywood? Versus just cutting a ledge for the LED lights into the ash? Just easier to build?
Fifth book (less interesting than woodworking) at http://www.expertise.is

Offline David

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2020, 10:12 PM »
Take a look at the Striplox line of connectors, too.  The seem to be making some innovative solutions to these applications.

Thank you. I just downloaded their brochure. So far I can see which ones I might use, but they look very interesting. I appreciate you passing that along.
Fifth book (less interesting than woodworking) at http://www.expertise.is

Offline David

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2020, 10:13 PM »
https://www.fastcap.com/product/flipbolt-countertop-connector

This jig and companion bolts look interesting, and certainly inexpensive even if only for a single use.

That's awesome--especially that they have a jig to make the indents simple. Appreciate it.
Fifth book (less interesting than woodworking) at http://www.expertise.is

Offline David

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2020, 10:14 PM »
even simpler and cheaper - about 50 cents ea and no jig required. I've used these countless times and you can really get some 'pull-in'. Use two. I'd secure the counter to the base allowing for some movement, although its not very wide across the grain and I wouldn't expect to see more than a millimetre or so.
(Attachment Link)

Thank you! I'll have to see if those are available here in the US.
Fifth book (less interesting than woodworking) at http://www.expertise.is

Offline Jiggy Joiner

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Re: Solid Ash Bar Counter--how to build
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2020, 05:16 AM »
The jigs make things easier, we have the Trend jigs, which are the larger ones for joining worktops at right angles etc, and these have the connector bolt jig built in, but the smaller dedicated ones are handy and cheap.

In honesty, if you use the bolts and glue, and obviously the top is fixed down, you probably wouldn’t need to add dominos or biscuits but, it won’t hurt to add them.
Whenever I use dominos, they are always cut without tolerance, exactly like mortise and tenon joinery, which is really what their main function is, a strong tight joint. In this scenario though, because of the top size and weight, if you add dominos, have a bit of slack.
The last thing you want, when gluing and bolting, is to find the dominos out slightly.