Brian Ho (brianho) wrote,
Brian Ho

Last call at the bar

Now that the party is over (party update to follow), here's a posting covering the final steps that went into finishing the bar up for the party.

We made a lot of progress really fast when we first started way back around Thanksgiving. We slowed down over the holidays and new year's, but we geared back up in the past couple weeks to try and get it finished in time for the party. There's some detail items that could still be done here and there, but we were able to get it party ready...two days early even!

Early on in the planning of the bar I had an idea that I hoped would add a unique element to the overall design. The idea was to have a section of glass block with neon border tubes. It took us almost three months to get to the point where we finally got to realize this idea. The idea changed over the course of construction, but I think it ended up as good as I had pictured it in my head...maybe even better!

I picked up the neon tubes on Monday. It's amazing how much more you notice the quality of the roads you drive on (or lack thereof) when you've got 14 feet of glass tubing in your back seat. I quickly hooked up the tubes to make sure they had survived the ride home. No, those things are bright!

Then on Tuesday we placed the frame for the glass block over the backplane that the neon would be mounted to so we could mark where the mounting standoffs would go to have it be properly positioned once installed.

We then installed the backplane and frame into the bar and I began placing the standoffs into the positions that we had marked.

Here are all the standoffs in place.

Next we installed the plastic track that would hold the glass blocks in place.

Here's a closeup of the standoffs. They're basically glass stands with a concave top that the neon tube sits in. Then there's some wire that holds the tube to the standoff like a twist tie.

Here's the neon tubes mounted in place.

In this corner the tubes are bound together with a short piece of wire to complete the circuit. The transformer is connected at the other corner, but I forgot to take a good picture of that.

Once everything was in place, we turned on the transformer to make sure everything was working correctly.

Here's the glass bocks beginning to go into place. The installation is mortarless. Plastic spacers go vertically between each of blocks and a horizontal track goes inbetween each row.

Here's all of the blocks installed.

And another closer picture without flash to show the color of the neon a little better.

On Wednesday we got the facing boards installed around the glass block to give it a nice, finished look.

Another look with the neon on and without flash.

Here's a closeup of the fancy brass screws we used to attach the facing boards. We didn't use finishing nails like we did on most of the rest of the bar so that this could be disassembled if it is ever necessary to service the neon. We can take off the facing and pull the glass blocks piece by piece since they are not mortared.

Finally, on Thursday it was time to hide the last of the old basement by coving the support poles. We tied the electrical wiring for the bar's lighting and power to these poles...

...and then covered the poles with simple boxes made from the same wood and trim as the rest of the bar.

And here it is...the finished product!

It was a long road, but well worth the effort. Many thanks go out to Heath for his excellent design work and the know-how to get the job done!

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