Re: Bar Top - Clear material



Polyurethane and/or epoxy.
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Longshot
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I have never attempted it, so take it with a grain of salt.
Lafayette
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Longshot
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Don - It's a two part epoxy, sometimes also called bar finish.
Ed

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I've seen acrylic made for pouring in forms. Wilson

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I've had very good luck with an epoxy product called Klear Koat from US Composites. http://www.shopmaninc.com/epoxy.html You want to scroll about 3/4 of the way down the page to the 'Table Top' epoxy.
I buy it in 1 gal containers with a pump & mix up small amounts for filling voids & finishing 'found' wood turned bowls. I've also put it on an old picnic table. It costs about $45 for 1 gal of hardner & 1 gal of epoxy, a set of 1:1 ratio pumps & shipping. They make various thicknesses of the epoxy.
There's a pdf with instructions - read very closely. All you need to know is there & you should follow the instructions to the letter. Thin first coat, warm working conditions etc... they also specifically cover how to embed items & what to watch out for. The company has been great to deal with.
Jim
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Don wrote:

Go here for an education on pourable bar tops:
http://www.epoxyproducts.com/bartop.html
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN

snipped-for-privacy@carolina.rr.com.REMOVE
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Any idea of what was used to finish bar tops years ago, like in the early 1900s?
Mike B
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wrote:

Depends a lot on what country you're in. Generally it was "elbow grease" - the origin of this term is the patina that develops when countless grimy elbows rest on the same bannister or bartop, day after day. Because there were no finishes up to the wear of this task, the approach was often to leave the wood unfinished - maybe just some wax, then let nature take its course.
In some countries, notably France, the approach was to cover the bar or table with metal, chiefly zinc. The price of zinc dropped considerably around the end of the 19th century, as new smelting techniques for it came into use. England and Ireland favoured brass, usually as narrow edge strips though, not whole counters. Copper sheet was also used. Because copper patinates so readily it's impossible to keep it clean and so "hammered" finishes were applied. The copper was worn smooth and shiny on the ridges and the patina was left undisturbed in the hollows. Although this was just as uneven a finish as a flat sheet would have developed, it looked much better.
As to older varnish recipes, then there are some spirit varnish recipes (plant resins in alcohol) based on amber that are harder surfaced than the usual spirit varnishes from copal, gum benzoin etc. These were expensive though and hard to apply, so they might still just be used on panelling around a bar, leaving the counter itself unvarnished.
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Smert' spamionam

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It was somewhere outside Barstow when "longshot"

It's rarely either of those. Polyurethane has quite a deep colour to it. Although you can paint it on, trying to apply it thick enough to set things into it (even paper) will start to look very dark. Epoxy is too expensive to use like this.
If it's a poured top with coins in, chances are that it's polyester resin. This is the same stuff as fibreglass resin, but it's a water-clear grade for this embedding purpose.
If you use polyester, lay a sheet of mylar across the top when wet. This will peel off to leave a reasonable surface behind. If you let it air dry then it won't cure fully and you have to do some polishing to remove the tacky surface layer.
A simpler material for hard-weearing bartops is a urea formaldehyde resin (Rustin's "Bar Top"). This is mixed with an acid catalyst before use, then painted or poured. It won't go as thick as polyester, but it's very tough. A similar material is used on flooring.
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wrote:

The times I've seen it done, it was a product called "fifty coat" and was a polyurethane that is poured over the surface of the table and allowed to dry. Levels itself, you just need to grind or sand the bottom edge where the stuff drips off.
I can guarantee there's a classier product somewhere, but this stuff works just fine if you're making a bar for your basement or something.
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