How do you design and build a curved bar top?
Discover the design ideas for standard bar dimensions, layout, fabrication and installation of radius bar tops.
BUILD A BAR – HOW TO DESIGN AND BUILD A CURVED BAR TOP
Over the years I’ve noticed that many people have a preference for curved surfaces in bar and nightclub design projects. Long, flowing and clever curves are very popular, but this comes with a hefty price tag. The finished product – no matter the type – is the end-result of painstaking detail. To achieve a first-class finished product requires a fair amount of experience and attention to detail that culminates in practical design, fabrication and installation. This is especially true with commercial bar design, because there are so many interacting components and everyone who’s involved with the process has to take extra time to ensure all details are correct. The key to successful radius bar top design is consistency in the finished product. To illustrate this, let’s look at an example of one of our recent projects. Here are the key design factors for a successful curved bar top:
1. Long, sweeping curves, which create visual appeal.
2. The radius should be symmetrical about the centerline of the bar, as illustrated here.
3. The overhang needs to be adequate at the ends while not being excessive in the center.
TIPS FOR FABRICATING AND INSTALLING RADIUS BAR TOPS
In order to ensure accuracy in the overall finish of your bar, here are a couple of design tips:
- Draw the entire bar plan in CAD.
- Include separate layers for the bar top and underlayment.
- Minimize the number of finished pieces.
- For wood products, any CNC machine is capable of cutting this material (including waterjets).
- For solid surfaces, such as granite, quartz or marble, the cutting needs to be performed on a CNC waterjet.
You’ll normally furnish your digital information in the form of an electronic file in the .DXF format.
Your contractor should install the bar base and underlayment and can also install wood bar tops. However, the installation of solid bar tops (and underlayment) is usually performed by the vendors who fabricate them – who use their own installation crews, as this work is more particular.
BAR TOP INSTALLATION TIPS AND ADVICE
The installation is the “Make-it-or-break-it” phase of every project, and here are some tips to help ensure your project’s success:
- Make sure that the entire bar base is well-anchored and is plumb, level and square.
- Always use at least one (1) layer of ¾” (19 mm) marine-grade plywood underlayment.
- Stay away from mitered corners, as the material from opposing sides is very tricky to keep level and therefore, aren’t compatible with a good installation. I deliberately used butted seams for this design for this very reason.
- The bar top and underlayment should be cut by the same fabricator to ensure greater accuracy (refer to the photo, above).
Experience goes a long way to any successful bar installation, but the above design tips and advice should help ensure a very satisfactory result. Best of luck!
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