I have to admit that as a bartender in my former life, one of the most exciting things I’ve been looking forward to throughout the process was installing the bar top. It is done and finally in place.
The bar top is made out of paralam, basically glued together wood slices of varying size and grain. We went with this material for the bar top at the recommendation from Rick, our cement guy. He liked the way the wood beams of the mezzanine looks and thought it would look great as a bar top. Craig agreed. I resisted the idea of using paralam at the time because I had had my mind set on a live edge tree slab, until I figured out how expensive they were.
To protect the paralam from the wear and tear of a tasting room we needed to do something to protect it. To apply the epoxy, a 75 degree dust free environment needed to be created. We draped plastic down from the awning of the bar top to create a smaller space to heat, and an area that was protected from any dust that may get kicked up.
In the end three coats of epoxy were applied to protect and seal the paralam. Actually that is a lot of epoxy, more than we were expecting, which extended the amount of time needed to finish the bar top by a few days. Paralam is very porous and has a lot of holes and gouges in the surface. The first coat essentially filled those pores and the began to fill the larger holes. When we came back to take a look the next morning after the first coat we saw a lot of air bubbles that had escaped the wood overnight. The air bubbles were sanded out (they rise to the surface of the epoxy but do not pop) and another coat of epoxy was applied. This second coat cured out much better looking than the first coat, with no air bubbles, but still was not able to completely fill the largest of holes on the paralam surface. The third and final coat made the surface glassy smooth and absolutely gorgeous.
In the end I couldn’t be happier with the bar top. It’s unique, and I’ve never seen any other bartop like it anywhere. I expect it to get a lot of praise, hopefully not more than our beer haha!