Commission: Irish Pub

A few projects in the bar lent themselves to a little bit of artistic creativity. The vision for the bar, long term, was to be a true pub. By saying that I mean a place that you'd look around as you sipped on your beer and without fail each visit you'd see something you never saw before.
The tap cabinet just one of the many little touches we tried to add as it was all being put together. Chick decided to put the taps along the bar instead of along the wall. It broke up the open space above the bar and was definitely a good call. Tom (a master in his own right) built an insulated cabinet around the taps to house all of the pipes and tubing. The front of the cabinet was bare at first so we all started brainstorming. After many good and bad ideas, we decided on a plywood (red oak) cutout of Tolliver's Crossing, using plexi-glass, and backlit with the flag of Ireland.

In the end, it all came together. A lot of cutting and sanding on my part along with Tom's master finishing skills made for a very creative tap cabinet.


One more little project came up at the pub that I signed up for. Tom had built a wooden facade to soften the metal window frames and make it more old style. It consisted of pillars on either side with an archway above. It looked great, but was missing something on the arch. Many (and I mean many) brainstorming sessions later, I finally got a feel for what they wanted and told them I'd take care of it.

After thinking long and hard I came up with a design that pulled in the interior materials (dark wood and copper), as well as the overall idea of the pub (one that open to both those of Northern Ireland and those of the Republic of Ireland).

The design is a Celtic style knot containing the flag of Ireland as well as the Ulster Banner, representing Northern Ireland. The two flags were centered with a shamrock, which amazingly to this point had not yes appeared in any of the pub's designs or decorations.

I am hoping that the copper will eventually give the arch a little more green as it ages so it will contrast the wood more than it does now.

Six feet wide and eight feet tall...a grand undertaking for me....a sign with 30 times the size (in terms of area) of my normal carvings. Of course this wouldn't be a carving like I had done before, but the sheer size of it was definitely a challenge for my mind. I never had to build something structural before. The sign I agreed to create was supposed to fit the metal supports where the old sign remained. A sign of this proportion had to be substantial in weight just to support itself.I finally decided to construct the sign like a deck. I used pressure treated lumber to build my platform and went from there. The design was taken directly from the logo I created for Tolliver's. It seemed an appropriate design and reminiscent of "ye olde pub signs of yore."

Surprisingly, the work was easier than I had imagined. Aside from working with different materials, the skills seemed to transfer from small to large. In my opinion it was easier, because small mistakes and imperfections are a lot less noticable on a sign this large.
A couple of months worth of late nights in the pub, humoring myself all the way, I finally completed this monster. Getting it on the side of a building was a whole different story altogether.


A couple of months worth of hard work later and the pub sign was ready to go up! When all was said and done, the 6' by 8' sign easily weighed over 300 lbs. It didn't help that the location of the brackets on the side of the building are a good 8' off the ground. A scruffy bunch of us met early on a Saturday in the hopes that we could all figure out a way to raise this monster.

Though is seemed nearly impossible at the time, five men, four ladders, and a rope was all it took. A few curse words later and the signs was up.

The lifting crew: Tom, John (Corina's dad), Chuck, Rich, and myself.

An exciting moment for me. Partially because of the finished product and partially because the product was finished. I was ready to get back to my cigar work. I had been ready. I couldn't of thought of a better way to spend and finish off my hiatus.

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