Folded Bar: Working With Existing Features
This is the condition that we essentially started with. The client had attempted to do a bamboo bar here but it was not up to their expectations. That is where I entered the picture. A simple bar napkin drawing led to the following project.
Folded Bar: Contensions
There were several existing conditions to contend with, one being these substantial plumbing pipes.
Folded Bar: New Counter
The front of the island was to remain basically unchanged. I did remove the toe-kick in preparation for putting the island on legs. We removed the solid surface countertop and designed a new stainless counter in its place.
Folded Bar: Steel Components
Here are the main pieces to the bar after they were cut from a 20’ long x 4’ wide x ¼” thick sheet of steel. I found this sheet at an offbeat supply house and they had a massive plasma cutter that they used to cut my parts with. Notice the steel beam clamps that they used to move this steel around. Note we didn’t have this type of equipment. Weight and how to deal with it became a major theme of this project. It was my first very heavy piece and the steel you see there was 1,200lbs.
Folded Bar: Locking the Bar Down
Ok major fast forward here. I had the steel transported to a company that had a large enough press to form the steel. This was reputedly one of the largest presses in the Midwest. They called the machine Bessey. Anyway after the parts were formed I had a crew of sixteen men carry it up a flight of stairs that led straight into this loft. There were no turns to contend with otherwise it wouldn’t of happened. Nevertheless it was crazy difficult. Also what you don’t see here is that we had welded underneath the floor tab a dozen large nuts that corresponded to holes in the concrete floor. The holes went through a foot of concrete where they terminated in the basement. We used large bolts to come up through the basement and lock the bar down so that there were no fasteners on the top surface of the mounting tab. This was not easy.
Folded Bar: Detailed Fabrication
We did a lot of the finishing of this bar on site. I didn’t have a shop at the time and we actually did a lot of the smaller fabrication work outside in the parking lot in the summer heat. Arguably the clients were very accommodating which is something I appreciate more today.
Folded Bar: Plasma Cutting
Plasma cutting leaves pretty rough cuts. Here is a 1”x1” square hole meant for an small square electrical outlet to poke through. Needless to say there was a ton of finish work to do. I ended up bolting a file to a Sawzall to clean these up and it actually worked very well.
Folded Bar: Angled Steel Legs
Here are the angle steel legs Ii made for the island.
Folded Bar: Tying Loose Ends
lash forward several weeks after we had done all of the finish work on the steel and installed everything. We sent the beast out to an automotive painter that specialized in RV’s. He did what I would call a master work job on this piece. He primed it with probably a half a dozen coats and did a fill sand job from hell. He used very large flat blocks to get the surface very true. Anyway here is a pic where I am doing wiring of the micro fluorescent bulbs. You cant see them very well but those little white tables sticking out are custom made terminal blocks that receive and end of the micro fluorescent tube. We buried a copper rod in them that contacts the light. The wires are fed through the bar and end up spilling out where you see them in this pic.
Folded Bar: Intricate Wiring
More wiring. Notice the large formed steel panel that covers the plumbing pipes.
Folded Bar: Completed Rearview
I am really missing a lot of steps with this blog entry but unfortunately I didn’t take very good process shots. Here is the complete bar from the back. You can see the new stainless counter tops, and the black rubber gasket I installed where it and the bar meet the cabinetry. A nice detail.
Folded Bar: Formed Acrylic Vase
Here is a shot showing the wavy formed acrylic vase that was probably one of my favorite bits. It easily slides out from the top for cleaning. The lighted push button switch is from Switzerland and used in large industrial control stations. It has a printed graphic icon of a light bulb that I inserted. This button controls the lights.
Folded Bar: Custom Backsplash
The bar actually serves as a backsplash for the island. Another lighted pushbutton switch activates the garbage disposal. The cutting board handily lifts off to reveal a stainless trash chute that leads to a trash can in the sink cabinet.
Folded Bar: Install Complete
The finished bar!