Steampunk Family

cocktail caseThe portable mixology lab was inspired by the gift of scientific glassware from my family.  It didn’t take long for the beakers, flasks and graduated cylinders to move in with the barware.  I have a set style of drinks I normally concoct, preferring to offer guests a limited number of very excellent beverages, rather than keeping a large selection of stale old liqueurs. With the styles of drinks set the barware could be narrowed down to limit drawer space for weight reduction. Therefore, I needed only add a retro seltzer bottle, absinthe spoons and a select collection of bar tools to make the perfect portable cocktail case. But how to house it?

Captain Charette joined me with the wood working. The first step was to lay out the components, to work in two halves of a box.

gluing the case

This told us how big to make the the case, how many drawers and compartments I needed, and helped me configure the equipment.

.
..

biscuit joining

Next we built a wooden cube the total dimensions of both halves. We could have used dove tails or other fancy joinery, but since this box would be edged in copper and brass, we just joined the panels of the box with biscuits. Once the glue was dry, we split this cube in half on a table saw, leaving us with two exactly matching halves.

just cut on the table saw

The fabrication of the internal dividers and drawers came next. We built the luan dividers using contrasting slots or slots and tabs.  The idea is to minimalize the need to padding between objects in the bar during transport.  Notched luan shelves hold the flasks and graduated cylinders in place, only needing a bar towel between the front and back cylinders to prevent breakage. (And it’s handy to have a bar towel along.) The drawers, their face panels, and the shelves were also made of luan. Shelves and dividers were dry fitted, to check fit and how they interact with the lab and bar ware.

fitting flasks & drawers

.
.
.
We stained all parts that were possibly going to be visible, and because the box was going to be exposed to water, weather, and alcohol (a solvent to some finishes) we sealed it with waterproof varnish.  We covered the exposed insides in upholstery vinyl. The notches holding flasks and cylinders in place I felt, sewn into place through

dividers

holes drilled into the vinyl-clad luan.  Once the internal finish work was complete, we glued everything into place.

syphon, rocks glasses and champagne flutes

From here the work was to trim the box. I cut the copper edge trim out of light copper roofing flashing.  The trick here is to forgo the tin snip or aviation sheers.  As I was taught by a distinguished Armenian Carpenter, a sharp utility knife and straight edge can be used to deeply score moderate-gauge sheet metal.  Then by flexing this scored section the metal weakens until it can be folded along the score and snapped.  Use the straight edge again to make a crisp right angle bend. I soldered shorter sections together to make solid pieces to run the length of each edge. These are expoxied in place and nailed down with small brass nails to keep wear and tear from pulling them off.

I chose to use piano hinges and a moderate-sized trunk latch because of the live load stress the box would experience during

bending the copper trim

transport. These as well as the corners can be found can be found at any descent hardware store, or online.  For the same reason I also choose one-piece handles, when adding them later to the lab to aid in carrying it. To minimize the profile I made my own d-ring drawer pulls out of copper electrical wire. I etched copper plates to back the drawer pulls.

The end result was sturdy but impressive mad science in a neo-Victorian style portable bar. Plywood worked well,  but for the production bars we are making for are for sale the good Captain and I are using actual joined wood and luan panels to reduce the weight as well as add beauty.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
http://www.steampunkfamily.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.steampunkfamily.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.steampunkfamily.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/technorati_48.png http://www.steampunkfamily.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.steampunkfamily.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.steampunkfamily.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/yahoobuzz_48.png http://www.steampunkfamily.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

2 Comments for this entry

  • J.D. says:

    How about giving us all the measurements so that this can be replicated in a project?

  • Fearless Fabricator says:

    When making case for bar wear, we gather the equipment first, then base the wood working off of it. 100ml graduated cylinder for champagne flute, 250ml beaker for rocks glasses seem to work best. I also like 1000ml for vodka or gin, 500ml for secondaries and 250ml round bottom for vermouth. Pyrex Borosilicate is unnessary unless you are making a hot beverage bar.

1 Trackback or Pingback for this entry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Previous Post
«
Next Post
»