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Lagoon of Mystery

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I've been a member here for several months now, and while I don't have anything to share that comes close to the magnificent spaces I've seen, I figure it's time to take the plunge. Until maybe six months ago, I had no idea tiki culture existed outside of the '50s and '60s. We moved into a new home a little more than two years ago, and it came with a pool surrounded by palm trees. This past summer my Wahini came home with some kitschy tikis from the local big box stores, at which point I realized I needed a tiki bar for the pool. Not knowing Tiki Central existed, I poked around the interwebz looking for home bar plans, and eventually settled on this 6-foot bar plan as my template. Obviously, I modified it significantly for my build. The bar top and drawer fronts are laminate flooring from my office, which I'm remodelling, and I'll probably use some more for backing on the inside of the bar once I pull more up. The moso bamboo around the bar top came from Bamboo Branch in Austin. The wood's all coated with semi-transparent UV/water protective stain, followed by several coats of polyurethane topped with several more coats of spar urethane. We've got so many palm trees around the house that the bar thatching can be completely replaced at any time. I also built the bar on casters so it can be moved easily.

My tiki mug collection and rum stocks are paltry compared to what I see here, but I'm working on rectifying that situation as fast as my bank account can sustain.

[ Edited by: Prikli Pear 2020-03-24 17:53 ]

[ Edited by Prikli Pear on 2022-04-06 08:00:10 ]

Off to a good start. Looking forward to seeing the progress and the rum collection growing.

So, the name "Lagoon of Mystery" seems apt, considering the view from the bar, below. I'm a big science fiction fan, and always got a kick out of Carrie Fisher's sense of humor. We have lots of plans to bring the vision forth, finding lots of inspiration on this site. Consider these the "before" shots, the blank foundation upon which we'll more fully build my tiki paradise.

The synthetic umbrella isn't permanent. Like everyone else here, we're doing this on a budget and progress will come in fits and starts. Eventually we'll replace it with authentic thatch.

Already Tiki Central has placed Ideas in my head. I'm happy with my tiki bar, but browsing here I've realized it's merely a dry bar. To enjoy the full tiki experience, I need a wet bar. So I plan on relocating the bar to where the dark wicker furniture currently is. Behind that solid door to the garage is a utility sink. It will be fairly straightforward to extend the water and drainage through the wall to have a working sink on the patio. Of course, I'll have to build a back bar for the sink, along with shelving for mugs and liquors. There are electric outlets in the area as well, so I wouldn't have to run extension cords for the bar fridge.

I'm currently putting up a garden shed in another part of the yard, so the lawn mower and wood chipper at the far end of the covered patio will have a new home in the next week or so. The total covered patio area I have to work with is 64' long by 10' wide. That's not an insignificant amount of space, and we had other plans for the space around and beyond the palm trees that are being tweaked to conform to the tiki aesthetic. It will be years before the vision is realized, but then again, tiki bars are never really finished, are they?

Speaking of budgets, the sconce lights on the wall were the first challenge I tackled when we decided to go full tiki. It's design is a western star motif. Pretty much every light fixture in the house follows this design aesthetic, which is all fine and dandy, but it's just not us. And the house isn't really rustic enough to carry it, you know? Since we moved in we've talked about changing them out, and on the back patio they really clashed with the tiki vibe. Looking online, however, I quickly learned there was not much commercially available that could pass as tikiesque, and what little there was cost way beyond what I was willing to spend.

To make matters worse, the previous owners had an unhealthy obsession with Tanglefoot. If you're unfamiliar with it, this is a very, very sticky substance used to ring the trunks of trees to keep leafcutter ants from climbing the trunk, things like that. For some reason, they seemed to think the stickiness acted as a [ital]repellent[/ital], that if they slathered the stuff on things they didn't want insects, reptiles, spiders, etc. on, it would keep them away. They slathered that stuff on all the outdoor speakers, the patio columns and worst of all, the tops of the wall sconces. Until I took a closer look, I'd assumed the tops were opaque. Not even close. So many dead bugs, spiders, geckos, dust, dirt, twigs and unidentifiable gunk had built up over the past decade that it completely blocked out the light from the bulb below. I can assure you, it's nasty. And every light had this mess slathered over the top of it. You should see the outside speakers.

Fortunately, Tanglefoot cleans up with mineral spirits. That's not to say it cleans up easily. It doesn't. But after far too much time and effort, this is the result. Quite dramatic, no?

Now the sconces were clean, but not any more tiki than before. What to do? For that, I turned to the tikiphile's do-everything solution--reed fencing. The sconces were roughly 10" high, so I cut sections of the reed fencing 12" wide and long enough to wrap around three sides of the sconce, twice. Turns out the fencing isn't terribly tight, so the western star was painfully obvious through a single layer. Two layers, though, that worked nicely. The wire ties were loose, though, so the reeds slipped out easily. Too keep it held together, I applied a flexible glue to the wire ties. Also, I slathered the reeds in spar urethane to protect them from UV and moisture. They'll be protected from the elements under the patio overhang, but reed's not the most durable substance on Earth. I figure a little insurance wouldn't hurt.

The sconces had a perforated hole pattern above and below the star. This turned out to be perfectly situated to thread a thin, black craft wire through to anchor the reed. Once I got both ends of the wire through the holes (which sounds simple enough, but in practice was maddening) I simply tied them off.

Voila! Instant tiki wall sconce. Most of these are on a dimmer switch, which makes it all the better--I can turn them down when necessary to get that coveted, dimly-lit tiki atmosphere.

Thanks, Mike! I'm looking forward to that as well!


Loving the start, as far as replacing those sconces check out leimanu.com. Leilehua is a member here and makes beautiful lights in Hilo, Hawai'i.




That's some great work and tiki imagination on the wall sconces there. I cannot wait to see this thing develop. You've got a lot of untapped potential.

On 2017-03-15 13:53, HaleTiki wrote:
You've got a lot of untapped potential.

Thanks! I shudder at the thought of how much lauhala matting I'm going to need before this is even sorta done. The siding wall, ceiling and columns are all begging for attention, because they all scream "Not tiki!" It's almost overwhelming. Almost. :)

Have you considered using bamboo board instead of lauhala matting? I think it's more durable and easier to work with.

On 2017-03-15 18:10, MaukaHale wrote:
Have you considered using bamboo board instead of lauhala matting? I think it's more durable and easier to work with.

Bamboo board? Interesting. Do you mean this? http://www.safarithatch.com/double-sided-bamboo-board/ Or this? http://www.amazuluinc.com/products/wide-weave-bamboo-board/ Or something else entirely?

I have not given it that much thought, to be honest. I know I'm inclined to go half-and-half on the wall, a vertical bamboo wainscotting-type look with matting above. That's a pretty common look from what I've seen and I think would present well in this space. Since it is an exterior space, albeit protected, durability and cleanability are going to factor heavily into the decision-making process. Obviously, I don't want to have to replace lauhala or bacbac matting on a regular basis. Fortunately, I don't have to make a decision on that soon, so I can keep researching and getting advice from those who've done this before.

Before I tackle that looooong wall, I plan to do the ceiling (which will be a departure from traditional tiki, but I think will be pretty cool). The patio surface is part rough concrete and part pebble texture, and the rough concrete is in desperate need of resurfacing, so that's next. And all of those white stucco columns are due to be clad in routered red cedar. I'm going to weatherproof everything to increase its lifespan, but fortunately I don't have to worry about harsh winters here. Heat, humidity and lots of UV are the primary concerns.

#847 on this page.


You can see how it looks on one of my walls:


[ Edited by: MaukaHale 2017-03-16 20:09 ]

Hey, that looks nice! Your neou palm panels are pretty spiffy as well! Woven bamboo boards may well work better for me given the conditions of the patio. How was the price in comparison to lauhala?

I can't remember the price but if you call Oceanic Arts they can tell you the price. I think it was a little bit more. If you are going to use this material outside I really think the bamboo would survive the elements better than lauhala. When lauhala dries out it becomes very brittle.


Looks like you're off to a good start, Bruddah Pear! Nice job cleaning up and "converting" those sconces.
I couldn't help but notice those Drafthouse Gremlin mugs behind the bar, too! Very nice

Keep the updates coming as you make progress. I wish I had that kind of outdoor area at my house to tikify!


On 2017-03-17 21:44, finky099 wrote:
I couldn't help but notice those Drafthouse Gremlin mugs behind the bar, too! Very nice

Man, it was an ORDEAL to get those. The Wahini surprised me with tickets to a screening of Gremlins (love that movie and its sequel) at the Drafthouse, where the mugs were promoted as an exclusive to that screening. Well, when we got there, we were told they'd sold out weeks ago. Turns out that was the original plan, but there were complications, so they scrapped the promotion and just sold them out of the box office without telling anyone (there were others at our screening looking for mugs as well). I ended up braving Austin traffic the next week to get a pair at the Lamar Drafthouse, which had dozens still, and bitched about the whole SNAFU online. Well, Tim League heard about it, sent me an apology and then sent another pair to make up for the hassle. Pretty cool.

I'm hoping I can get those new Alien Xenomorph tiki mugs without quite so much hassle this time around. :)

Nice transform on the lights. Looks great!

Thanks, Mike and Marie! It was pretty simple to do, but the time investment was way beyond what it should've been. Which I'm finding is applicable to pretty much all of my projects, across the board. I'm in a holding pattern at the moment on tikification (at least, directly so--lots of indirect projects will ultimately contribute down the road). I'm hoping to have some transformation a little more substantial to share in a few weeks.

Us too, time is a killer on these things. Trying to change that.

Looking forward to seeing what you have to share.

Work continues on my bar expansion, but I'm not quite at a point to share my progress. To make sure you folks don't think I've dropped off the map, though, here's an undertaking from the weekend. I had to take down the outdoor speakers mounted on the patio ceiling, and the previous owners had smeared them with Tanglefoot. I mentioned their obsession with the stuff during my light sconce reconstruction. Well, it's even nastier on speakers. Don't believe me? Take a look:

I hosed the speakers off in the driveway, which got rid of at least some of the non-Tanglefoot gunk, then scrubbed with mineral spirits, which finally removed the sticky goo, but damn, that was nasty. My efforts revealed speakers that were originally white, but had turned whiteish-gray due to UV exposure. Even out of direct sunlight as they were, the plastic casing was brittle and crumbly in places. I don't know if Bamboo Ben has a thing against white speakers to go with white walls and ceilings, but I couldn't put them back up like they were. I got a couple cans of spray paint, and painted both speakers with a tan base coat. Then I broke out the masking tape and cut out some wedge patterns and masked off other areas.

Then I sprayed them down with a coat of darker brown. Once the paint dried to the touch, I removed the tape, then let the paint set completely.

Next, the speaker covers. I started off thinking they'd just be solid, then thought maybe I'd add some patterns, and finally decided to try faces. I taped down the design, sprayed, then pulled up the tape. This is the result.

Encouraged by my initial success, I tried to get a little more complicated with the second speaker. I don't think it turned out nearly as well, but is still better than the grungy goop-covered speakers that were there before. Here's a couple final shots of them re-installed.

I've got a more detailed writeup on my blog, with more step-by-step photos, if anyone's interested: http://jlbgibberish.blogspot.com/2017/05/tiki-build-along-pt-4.html

Initially, I thought the back bar would take up the entire space between the garage door and the French doors on the back patio, about 12'. The Wife nixed that idea, and she was probably right. That would've created some logistical problems. Instead, I had an 8'x20" piece of plywood was just about the perfect size for a more compact back bar. Instead of centering it directly under the porthole bathroom window, I'd offset it to the left. One reason is to ensure free flow of traffic through the French doors to the right.

A bigger reason, as you can see below, is that there is an electrical outlet, water spigot and obsolete propane outlet on the left side that needed covering. I measured the legs and frame so that the top of the back bar would be equal in height to the under bar area of the extant tiki bar.

Flipping the frame upright showed me that the pebble-finish patio wasn't anywhere close to being level, so I had to add leg levelers. I didn't really want the wood in contact with the concrete, so this worked out well. The next step was to coat everything with Flood CWF-UV. It won't ever be directly exposed to rain or sun, but I want to be able to hose down the patio if necessary and humidity can be pretty high for extended periods. The additional protection seemed prudent.

For the tiki bar top, I used thin, laminate flooring tile pulled up from my office as part of another project. Continuing that for the back bar was the obvious course of action. I managed to pull up a whole piece of flooring about 9'x4' and used a jig saw to cut out the bar top. To secure it to the plywood top of the back bar (which I'd attached to the frame with outdoor wood screws) I slathered Titebond III along the edges and corners (because that's all I had left of that glue) and filled in the gaps with Titebond II.

Then I clamped and weighted the laminate down for 24-plus hours to let the glue set.

And this is what it looks like with all the junk removed. It doesn't look all that great, I'll admit, but at least it's finally starting to look like a bar.

For anyone interested in the boring details, I have more build-along photos and commentary here and here.

Incremental progress to share. For an array of reasons, I've decided to go with bamboo tambour panels for the wall. I liked the tortoise shell pattern, so went with that. In the process, I realized it would look good to clad the back bar in this, "tying the aesthetic together," so to speak. I found out what so many of you probably already know, that bamboo in almost any form doesn't like to absorb penetrative weather protectant. I ended up coating the tambour in clear Flood. Although the panels are sheltered directly from the elements, humidity can be high around here and I learned from the speakers that reflected UV is a concern.

I took the cabinet doors off the back bar and applied Titebond III to the edges and filled in the rest with Titebond II. Then I spread it evenly, more or less, with a folded scrap of paper.

Next, I laid the cut-to-size tambour panel atop the glue. The glue started oozing up between the slats, so I wiped it away then laid down a covering of wax paper. Atop this I laid scrap boards, which I then clamped tightly for 24 hours to allow the glue to set. The wax paper worked nicely--the excess glue didn't stick to it, and I was able to rub away the dried excess easily with my fingers.

Next, I needed handles for those cabinet doors. They're secured with magnet clasps, so they don't open easily. I'd harvested and torched some local bamboo back in December, and had it drying in the garage since then. I picked out some appropriately-sized pieces, used my band saw to cut to length and popped out the nodes. I marked and drilled holes where I thought the 2" bolts needed to go... maybe this is the point where I explain I really didn't know what I was doing? I had a vague notion how to make the handles, but having never done this before, wasn't sure it would work.

Regardless, I soon found that there was not enough clearance within the bamboo to insert the slender bolt through the hole. Hrm. Okay, so to address the problem I put the drill bit through the open node and enlarged the existing hole at an angle. Now I could slip those bolts into position!

I didn't want the bolt head tearing through the bamboo, though, so I added a washer for strength and durability. Alas, the bolt with the washer on it wouldn't fit through the node. I ended up slipping the washer in first, fishing the end of the bolt through it, then maneuvering the bolt into the hole. Not as simple as it sounds, with those darn washers skittering around inside the bamboo. But I eventually prevailed. Then repeated it five more times.

I cut a smaller piece of torched bamboo into 1/2 inch segments to sheath the bolt, then slipped the assembly through holes I'd marked and drilled through the cabinet doors. From the back side, I added a washer then tightened a nut on the bolt until the washer inside the handle bent into a shallow U shape.

Those handles, I'm happy to report, are pretty darn solid. They work well and look nicer than I expected. At some point I intend to seal off the holes in the handles at the nodes, otherwise I'll have mud daubers and spiders taking up residence. From prior experience, I've found that regular wood putty will crack when regularly stressed, so am not sure that'd be a good choice. I've used almond-colored silicone sealant to good effect, but it won't take a stain and won't be a close match for the color. What have other folks here used to seal up bamboo when needed?

As always, I've got a more detailed write-up on my blog.

Excellent work. Keep it up. The fine details like those bamboo handles are what elevate a bar from good to great.

Thank you, Mike! I'm unreasonably happy with those handles. :)

You know, despite untold hours reading through old threads in this Home Bar forum, I'm still making up a lot of this as I go. I've done a bit of woodwork in the past, but am finding bamboo is a different animal, so to speak. I've screwed up a few times along the way, but nothing I couldn't fix. Fingers crossed I don't botch things when real money's involved!

Great job!!! You are pretty handy with the glue and screwdriver. Love your process pictures. Can I have your pool please!!!


“At some point I intend to seal off the holes in the handles at the nodes”

You know the best thing to do here is drill right down the center of the bamboo with say
A ½ inch drill bit then take a ½ inch dowel rod and glue it into the center of the bamboo.
This will fill that space in the center AND can help the bamboo not to crack.
At any rate it will make the handle have more strength.

“What have other folks here used to seal up bamboo when needed”
Other than a dowel rod I have used Wangi bamboo and made it stick through the front
Like the post part went right through the handle part.
That’s what I would have done here.

Burn it and let the crack go it is part of the rustic appeal I say.


Great work, Prikli! And I agree that those bamboo handles really are a great detail on the bar you're building. Impressive. The speakers came out great too. This is your first build out? Damn!
Cheers and here's to seeing more of your progress :drink:


You got the burn thing down and do a great job with that as well.

Some people go too far and it not so good.

VampiressRN, the pool is ours and going nowhere. The Wife will fight you for it! We really lucked into this place when we were home shopping a few years back. We actually looked at this place early on, just to get a feel for the market, and were gobsmacked by the pool, palms and overall tropical feel. But it was out of our price range. To make a long story short, we sold our old house and the house we had under contract fell through in the worst possible way. We were less than two weeks away from being homeless when the owners of this one lowered the price enough for us to make it work. So, yay to not being homeless! We weren't sure if having a pool would be a curse or a blessing, but the kids were super-excited. Nowaways, the kids hardly ever get in but Mom and Dad hit it every evening!

Ryan, thanks for the kind words! Yes, this is my first tiki bar build, but I've done wood work projects before, so it's not like I'm completely wet behind the ears. I've got zero experience working with bamboo prior to this, or designing thing to withstand exposure to the elements, insects, relentless onslaught of dust and dirt, etc. So yeah, pretty steep learning curve. The great thing is that I don't have to post photos of all my blunders! :wink:

Thanks for the tips, Skip! I'll see if I can retrofit a proper-sized dowel rod in there. Burning was interesting, as the first batch I didn't burn enough--just enough to change it from bright green-blue to olive drab. It wasn't until I got to work on my second harvest that I realized I'd not quite pushed it far enough. I built a hanging rack on the garage ceiling and have several dozen 8' culms aging up there now. I'd like to find a (free) source for thicker bamboo around here, but it all seems to be pretty much the same thing. Once I get the pergola installed (was supposed to be my big project this spring, but other priorities intervened) I'm going to add some clumping bamboo to the landscaping. But I won't be able to harvest any of that for some years to come. I have to say I've been reading your lamp-building threads with great interest. I've got a couple modest-scale projects in progress, and am taking cues from some of your work. So thanks for all the time you spent working up those how-tos. They're very helpful and appreciated.


Man you've really made a lot of progress since I stopped in. I'm loving all the work and the ingenuity of the spray painting on the speakers is really on point.

Thanks, HaleTiki! The speakers really left me no choice--UV damage to the plastic casing was pretty extensive, so if I didn't cover it up in some fashion for protection, they'd have crumbled to dust in no time. But, you know, one thing leads to another, and before you know it a 30 minute repaint job leads to an evening spent applying masking tape with an exacto knife...

I've never done detailed router work before. I've routered dados and such, but nothing detailed like one would find in tiki builds. For baseboards, I didn't think my full-sized router would be easy to work with, so I sprang for a super-cheap trim router from Harbor Freight. I designed a basic triangle pattern on the computer, printed it out and transferred the design to posterboard, which I cut out with an Exacto knife to use as a pattern. I drew the pattern on the 6" Ponderosa pine boards I picked up from McCoy's and went to work.

I believe I used a quarter-inch half-round bit set at a depth of an eighth of an inch, if anyone's interested. I used a short, straight piece of scrap as a guide. This worked out better than my initial forays into freehand routing.

Then I roughed up the surface with an angle grinder to simulate age and abuse (as one does) and applied the butane torch for a good scorching. When I read here that folks burned the wood to "raise the grain" I didn't have a clear idea what that meant. Was it creating more dramatic color contrast? Or something else? Well, I wasn't expecting such a dramatic alteration of the texture. The "grain" of the wood now forms dramatic peaks interspersed with valleys, creating an undulating surface reminiscent of 30-year-old barn wood left exposed to the elements. Without all the rot and cracks, of course. Some things one just has to do to understand.

After that, I applied the wire brush to remove the carbonized soot, etc., and stained the boards with Minwax Special Walnut. Over the next few days I applied spar urethane to protect the wood from the elements. I'm not posting all those photos here, because that'd be boring. Just trust me when I say it happened. :)

While waiting on the baseboards, I turned my attention to the back bar. I picked up some 3-inch moso bamboo culms from Bamboo Branch in Austin and torched them. Took a bit more effort than the smaller bamboo I'd previously heat treated. Then I used masking tape to lay out the jig saw cut I had to make so the culms would fit as edge trim on the back bar. I used a small hammer to knock out the remaining nodes.

I used outdoor rated wood screws to attach them to the bar top (after making the appropriate mitre saw cuts for the corners). I used finish nails to attach the bamboo trim to my original tiki bar, and those have proven not entirely up to the task, unfortunately, which is why I went with the more obtrusive screws. I drilled larger counter-sink holes over the pilot holes, and after inserting the screw, filled in with wood putty. After it dried, I sanded it down and applied Minwax Special Walnut stain. It's not a perfect match, but I'll tweak it more in the future.

The real downside is that the back bar trim looks so good, it puts my original tiki bar to shame. I finished that one before I learned about torching bamboo to bring out color and contrast, so at some point I'm going to have to pull it apart, sand the bamboo down and torch it to more closely match the back bar. Nothing is ever easy... :roll:

The siding on the patio is overlapping fibercement boards. This is durable but not conducive to applying flush baseboards or veneer. The siding boards are around a quarter inch thick, so I measured the angle (about four degrees) and ran some furring strips through my table saw. I attached these to the siding with outdoor screws, giving me close to a vertical surface onto which I can attach baseboards and veneer. Note that I coated the cut furring strips with Flood CWF-UV so they don't rot out from under me. They won't be directly exposed to the elements, but still.

I attached the baseboards with the ubiquitous outdoor wood screws. The gray screw heads really stand out, so I'm going to go over them with dark paint. I'm making the wall covering so that it can be easily removed/replaced if necessary, which is why I'm not covering them with wood putty. In case you wondered. I also routered out a slot half an inch wide and an eighth of an inch deep along the top rear of the baseboard. You'll see why next.

The tambour panel slips into the groove in the top of the baseboard, holding it in place without additional fasteners. I measured and cut the bamboo tambour panel to size, then did a test fitting. I'm glad I did. The bamboo slats are so thin that the panel bulged out in the middle. To compensate, I added an additional furring strip in the middle, in addition to the one at the top of the tambour panel.

I then stapled the tambour to the furring strips, taking care to place the staples between the vertical slats. This is the way I clad the back bar in tambour, although I used a lot of glue in that as well. I didn't use glue for the wall. The siding made that impractical. Eventually, I plan to go over the staples and disguise them with tan paint, but in all honesty, they not really noticeable unless someone's looking for them (of course, I can't help but see them). But aside from that, I'm happy to report that it's starting to actually look like something.

Obviously, that siding doesn't mesh with what I've done thus far. I have woven bamboo board panels I intend to install on the upper half of the wall. I'm also going to router/carve middle trim pieces to divide the tambour and woven panels, but I intend to get a little more artistic with these beyond the alternating triangle patterns. No telling how long that will take. The existing porthole (which we thought cool when we moved in ) is looking uglier and uglier every day, so I'll have to tackle that sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, it's quite large, so there are few fake or salvaged portholes available that are also affordable to replace it with. This will require some creativity, I'm sure.

As always, I have a more thorough write-up, along with more photos, on my blog.

[ Edited by: Prikli Pear 2017-06-14 13:46 ]

Coming along nicely. Looking forward to my invite when you're ready to christen this baby.

You did nice work. Half the fun of building a bar is learning how to do it.

The trim looks fantastic!

Thanks for sharing your instructions. Now I need a router...

Thanks, Mauka! Yes, there's something to be said for the voyage of discovery. At the same time, knowing how not to do something before actually doing it cuts down on the amount of cursing and wasted lumber. Experience may be the best teacher, but it's also a cruel one! :wink:

I appreciate the kind words, Pidders! Using a router is simple to learn and just takes practice to master (not that I'm a master by any means!). One tip is to not put too much strain on the motor, that is, make multiple shallow cuts on repeated passes rather than one deep cut on a single pass. Bigger, more robust routers can handle the workload better, but small, cheap ones can burn out. My trim router's about as cheap as one can get, and I could feel it getting hot in my hand despite my cuts being only 1/8 of an inch deep. So I gave it a break every 10 minutes or so, which had the added benefit of averting cramps in my hand and back! Also, always use sharp bits. Dull bits cut slower, put more strain on the motor and leave shredded, fuzzy edges that you have to go back and sand down, meaning more work.

Really coming along. Great job for a novice. I wouldn't even know what tools to buy...LOL

Thanks for the encouragement, Vampiress! I'm afraid it's starting to get brutal hot here (unlike California, Texas doesn't cool off very much at night) so there won't be much progress on the build to share here as I'm driven to more inside, air-conditioned projects. The pool and bar will be used primarily for poolish and barish purposes until the weather breaks, usually early October. I've got one more update in the pipeline, tho.

It's now July in Texas, which means the heat and humidity are driving me to indoor pursuits. For the next few months, there's not going to be a lot of tiki bar progress, but I'll share a bit more before the hiatus. As Bamboo Ben is so fond of say, "No white ceilings!" The patio ceiling is a dull, grayish white. Tikifying presented a unique challenge, since it's outside. Whatever we did, it had to be easy to clean, fairly durable and not be a magnet for insects and dirt. Fortunately, we had a idea what to do with it that pre-dated our tiki efforts. There's a tradition in the Southern U.S. of painting porch ceilings blue. Supposedly this discourages insects (ie mud daubers, spiders, etc.) from nesting there. The blue confuses them, thinking it's the sky, supposedly. We tried this at the old house, painting the unfinished drywall a sky blue. And it seemed to work. A section of the garage we never got around to painting did have mud dauber nests, but the painted sections stayed clean. So for the tiki porch, we'd paint the ceiling blue to simulate a marine environment.

After taping up plastic dropcloth, I did the wall/ceiling intersections with an edger, then broke out the roller for the main section. I broke two regular broom handles doing this, with the paint-filled roller falling on top of me and making me look like a Smurf before I wised up. I bought a metal pole with a metal screw thread and didn't have problems after that. I also lifted an idea from Mr. Pupu Pants, adding Valspar's color crystals (actually, very fine silver glitter) to the paint for a shimmering effect. The effect is subtle, but I'm happy with it. I wasn't so happy with the fact that a single coat wasn't enough--the color was splotchy and uneven, so I had to put a second layer over everything. It looks great now, but oh, that extra work!

You'll notice those old ceiling fans. Before, they blended into the white ceiling and were barely noticed. Against the blue, though, they're hideous. Ugh. No way we'll simply remove them, because the breeze they create is very welcome, essential even. What to do?

Problem solved! Well, for two of them, at any rate. The Wife gifted me with two tiki-appropriate ceiling fans for out anniversary. These look sooooo much nicer! The light isn't terribly tiki, but I'm taking some cues from Tiki Skip's light-making threads to eventually address that.

The blue is a definite improvement over the white, but doesn't fall within the long tiki (or tropical bar) tradition. Since we're going for a marine/aquatic vibe with the Lagoon of Mystery, I wanted to develop the idea that we're literally under the sea by painting silhouettes. This also plays into tiki's long tradition of murals. Mine's not so detailed as others', but I think it gives a distinct style to the place. I took the projector we use for our Dive-In movies and pointed it at the ceiling, projecting the silhouettes so I could outline them with a black Sharpie. Some, like Mr. Hammerhead here, were too large for a single frame and had to be broken up into sections.

I then painted in the outline with darker blue paint. Unfortunately, once I finished the sea turtle I realized all of the silhouettes would require a second coat as well. Too splotchy otherwise. But the end result is neat. My kids really like the silhouettes. But not everything works out the way I hope--that lighter random pattern by the turtle? That was supposed to be caustic ripple patterns, like you see at the bottom of a swimming pool. Didn't work. After exploring various fixes, we decided there was no viable solution, so I'm just going to paint over it. Sometimes you just have to own your mistakes and move on.

Fortunately, the manta ray isn't a mistake. It looks quite nice.

The hammerhead shark is another success. Neither the manta nor the shark have received their second coat yet, so please forgive the irregular nature of their coloring.

Because of the failure of my caustic water pattern, I now have a lot more open ceiling space than I'd planned on. Which means I need to put up more silhouettes to make the scene more busy (The ceiling space is 64' long by 10' wide, so there's a lot of ocean to fill). I'd already planned to put a mermaid at the far end, but that's going to be a lot more complicated silhouette and I haven't come up with a design I'm happy with yet. I'm pretty sure an octopus is going in there somewhere. Fortunately, this is something I can add to as inspiration strikes--I don't have to have it all at once.

As always, more photos and commentary may be found on my blog.

I think you're doing a wonderful job with the ceiling! It fits perfectly with your theme...although the mermaid sounds difficult :wink: Make sure to post more pics of your progress!

Very cool. We actually have that exact fan in our guest room which has a topical motif. I think it works perfect in your outdoor area. Can't wait to see it all in person.

Love the "underwater" ceiling!

Awesome idea with the ceiling!


Thanks for the baseboard idea!!!!! I've got some 2x12s on my patio that I wasn't sure how to tiki up. Now I know!!!!!

Thanks for all the comments, folks! I've done almost no direct work on the bar this past month due to a combination of travel and brutal heat. What little work I am doing outside involves trying to keep the plumeria, bird of paradise, hibiscus and other tropical plants planted around the pool alive during this dry spell we're in. Even with regular water and mulch, they're wilting something fierce in the afternoon sun. On the plus side, my banana plants are absolutely loving the sun and growing like gangbusters. Once the landscaping matures a little, I'll share images. The newer stuff is pretty puny at the moment.

We had a dive-in movie party the other week, showing "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." Great tiki scenes in that one, with Dick Shawn and Barrie Chase. Mike Hooker and his wife Chelsea dropped in and treated us to some killer daiquiris, so the bar's getting good use!


Thanks for the link, Skip! How powerful is that one? I got one of the common, cup-shaped ones on Amazon and while the caustic ripple effect looks good, any light source no matter how subdued overwhelms it. If this type is pretty bright, it could be the ticket!

Well they make ones that are 500.00 bucks as well.
You can bet the more you pay the better, most of the time at least.

look at the reviews via Amazon for better info on specific light brands.

Good luck!

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