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After a little advice about ideal wood for bar surface

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Wood_this_work?

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Hi all,

I've recently been building a bar for a small hotel (after doing a lot of other jobs) and they require a work surface for it as they'd rather have something to work with i.e. paint/distress etc, rather than something solid like a granite work top etc.

I'm a little stumped as to what type of wood to use really.

I/we used a spare bit of 8"x2" PSE to decide that a narrow surface approx 400mm would be ideal, but that's about as far as I've got. I've been to the local timber yard and there isn't a lot of variety...

From them, I'm left with unfortunate sized hardwood..either far too thick so will require a lot of planing, or too thin. Or softwood.

My concerns with softwood is any shrinking/bowing over time and also I'm not sure how durable it'll be.

Any thoughts or advice is welcome.
 

MikeG.

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Pick the right sort of wood for the aesthetic of the bar, not to suit your local timber supplier or your stock. A slick modern bar might have, say, glossy beech woodwork, whereas something more traditional might be, say, a dark oak. Context is everything when it comes to design. Oh, and not softwood. It wouldn't last 5 minutes in a bar.
 

Wood_this_work?

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Thanks for the info Mike.

Especially regarding the softwood! It's a bit of an odd set up really, it's an old building, but the bar is sort of industrial/modern/worn old.... definitely an eclectic mish mash!

I'd post pictures of how it looks, but I've agreed to keep pictures offline until everything is up and running.

I'll have to start hunting for a decent source for some hardwood.

Many thanks

Ian
 

Fitzroy

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Any local reclamation yards or pub refurbs/renovation/demolitions ongoing around you? A reclaimed top could be an option.

Seem a few on gumtree around me over the years.

Fitz.
 

adidat

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sunny somerset!
check out devon hardwoods they can plane to size for you and have a fairly decent stock of different timbers!

adidat
 

peter-harrison

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How about old scaffold boards? They may be softwood but they are very hard-wearing especially as you want them distressed. Scaffolding companies have to renew them every 2 years I think, and sell off the old ones. I've seen counters made from them in a busy hardware store (Mackays of Cambridge) and they look pretty good.
 

Beanwood

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How about some ‘landscaping’ oak sleepers (the 2.4m 200mm x 50mm ones).
:)
 

Wood_this_work?

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Thanks to all you guys for your replies.

I will look into the devon company! Obviously on the doorstep.

With regards to scaffold boards, I'm not 100% on these, I have used some brand new ones as a counter top in a part of my kitchen and as a wall panelling project in another room, but I have found they've shrunk as times goes on, not massively, but enough that on the wall panelling I now have gaps between the boards (all placed individually), where there weren't ones before and on the kitchen counter, a mitred joint now has split.. admittedly I think I just glued this rather than biscuit jointing it...

Perhaps the lesson is to glue/screw/biscuit joint everything...

As for the reclamation yards (there is a few), unfortunately these are now effectively becoming some sort of Laura Ashley priced junk yards, where really things that have no real business having a double digit price tag, often have 3-4 digit price tags... (all before the decimal place!)..

I haven't seen much on gumtree, nor ebay for that matter.

I'll also look into the garden sleeper idea! Thank you!
 

Trevanion

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Wood_this_work?":1gslc3hd said:
Perhaps the lesson is to glue/screw/biscuit joint everything...
The lesson is to learn about how wood behaves first before making anything with it.

I imagine the scaffold boards you used were probably quite high in moisture content since they're usually stored outside even from new and may even be high in moisture content anyway, as normally a scaffold board isn't made into furniture and is usually kept outside anyway so they don't bother doing proper drying processes on them. It also probably hadn't been allowed to acclimatise properly in a dry, warm environment for a few weeks prior starting to make anything with them. That's why you've got shrinkage and splits, the wood was used to being out in the weather and now it's been taken into a hot environment with central heating where all the moisture leaves the timber resulting in shrinkage and if the shrinkage is rapid enough it will split timber. No matter how many fixings or what kind of glue you use you won't be able to stop wood from doing its own thing, you just have to work with it the best you can.
 

Doug71

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It seems these days it often comes down to looks over practicality. All the new trendy little bars that pop up seem to have everything made out of scaffold boards, the rougher the better but totally impractical.

There is a Brew Dog pub near us and the bar really is just made out of pallets and concrete paving slabs. No plaster on the walls, just the rough old brick exposed. All the wiring runs and pipes etc exposed. They probably paid a designer a fortune to create the industrial look, reminds me of the Emperor's new clothes!
 
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