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finally...my own tiki bar!

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I've been looking for the right tiki bar for several years now. Had a few near misses but just haven't been successful. I've never been able to start building out a proper tiki lounge because of it, as I needed the bar first in order to suss out the layout (the room is narrow and long so placement determines everything).

Last week I came home after work one day to see this in my driveway:

Turns out a mate saw it on the side of the road and thought of me so he grabbed a truck and a buddy and picked it up and dropped it off at ours. It was obviously outside for a considerable amount of time and pretty knackered - there appeared to be lots of weather damage. However, it seemed to be a really solid build, all the parts were there, and it was free so spending a bit of money and time to attempt to rehab it seemed a good proposition. The cane lashings at the joints were basically all rotted away, save for the ones on the canopy frame, but they're cosmetic versus structural so hopefully that will be an easy fix (knock on wood).

I expected the worst so I got a few different grits of sandpaper as well as some OxyClean (sodium percarbonate) in case simple dish soap and water just wasn't cutting it. I was absolutely gobsmacked after my first few rubs - it looked like I was holding a handful of mud. The change was astonishing:

As someone with no real carpentry / DIY skills to speak of, you've no idea how thrilled I was...this was essentially a clean-up job with a couple of small fixes.

Here you can see a lot of my half-and-half cleaning work to demonstrate just how drastic the difference is:

There are definitely going to be some challenges once thoroughly cleaned. The bar top is a bit uneven and needs to be sorted out; the cane wrappings will be a whole new learning curve; we need to make a new fabric canopy; and any painting / staining / lacquering or what have you is going to be a serious pain with all of those damn slats. Still, after a few hours of cleaning I already love this bar and know that it will mean more to me having fixed it up myself than if I had just bought one that was ready to go.

...and if I ever find another bar, I'm converting this one into the most awesome DJ booth ever...


That is almost the same bar I have in my garage bar! Found it on craigslist and its awesome! I think the weathered look is fantastic.

[ Edited by: MadDogMike - Rotated picture - 2019-10-29 09:55 ]

It does look similar! I am quite jealous of your foot rail. I have been fretting over whether to attempt to add one on to mine. It's always so nice having one...

I love how you built your frame around your bar. My ceiling is far too low for something like that, unfortunately - I'll actually be lucky if we get it in the space with the canopy frame on. Thankfully that whole piece comes off! If it doesn't fit I am going to see about getting some smaller carved posts done by Bosko.

WOW!!! Very cool! And FREE!!!


I can send you some photos of how the foot rest is put together on mine. It really just slides into place, you might be able to easily replicate it on yours. I did the Bosko idea!

[ Edited by: Benbow 2019-10-29 12:13 ]


Looks SHARP!!! (-:

On 2019-10-29 12:12, Benbow wrote:
I can send you some photos of how the foot rest is put together on mine. It really just slides into place, you might be able to easily replicate it on yours.

Mate, that would be seriously appreciated. Cos I haven't a clue.

Main cleanup is done! The missus did the bar top slats with a toothbrush while I did the main pieces, which I finished night before last. Gave it a good 24 hours to ensure it had dried out nicely. Lightly sanded the canopy piece last night with fine 220 grit sandpaper to take care of the runners and splinters and it's silky smooth. I am just amazed at the overall difference now:

Tonight I will Dremel out the post holes in the canopy frame slightly so the posts can slide all the way in to their proper pegging position (you can see in the first pic that they're just a couple of inches off due to weathering). Then it's time to stain and seal! I'm thinking of staining the thin slats a darker colour than the main bamboo pieces that compose the frame - I think the two-tone appearance would give it a nice bit of depth. Either way, it's gotta happen ASAP as I've been ridiculously lucky with the weather and time is of the essence, hence my working in the dark by porch light after work every night (much to the amusement of my neighbours...).

Go HC!!!! The darkness situation is going to get worse on Sunday, pretty soon it will be getting dark at 4pm! :(

That looks fantastic! You must be living right to have that sweet thing land in your lap!

If you're going to keep it indoors, probably the simplest finish you can apply to it is boiled linseed oil. The old bar's been exposed to the elements for so long that the bamboo's natural resins have most likely all eroded away. The linseed oil will penetrate and harden, creating a protective surface on it and also give a nice, glossy finish. Boiled linseed oil also has the advantage of being common, cheap and easy to work with. Just be sure you don't pile up oily rags because it heats as it cures and could spontaneously combust.

That's great info on the linseed oil! Thanks so much for that, that's very practical and useful.

I read up on the myriad oils (bamboo, mineral, linseed, teak, tung) available when I first started looking at what to do to refinish the bamboo, as my only previous experience had been using mineral oil on a bamboo cutting board a couple of times. However, after much research and back and forth with the missus I realised that we definitely will have the bar outside for periods of time so more protection was in order. Hence the choice to stain and shellac!

Got the entire bar completely sanded down last night (bamboo splinters are NO JOKE) and Trad'r Bill came over and fixed the post holes for me with his Dremel. I'm going to give it a final once-over tonight with some 220 grit sandpaper and tack cloth and then I am ready to stain the canopy frame and posts.

[ Edited by: HopeChest 2019-10-31 11:10 ]

After SEVERAL hours of sanding and staining, I am ridiculously happy with the results!

Fabric is on order from Spoonflower to cover the corners and joints. Once we've gotten that on, we can get the whole thing lacquered and it's done. So close...


Great Save and Awesome Job.

Keep the pictures/updates coming.


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