One of my very favorite dudes on the planet happens to own a bar– The Wurst Bar, in fact–and knows me well enough to know that I find it pretty much impossible to turn down a good building project, particularly if you show up at the farm with a bunch of lumber and a case of beer on a Sunday night.
Apparently he got a wild hair about needing a very large chalkboard in his bar ASAP, and I’m nothing if not an enabler of making things and very large chalkboards…
This is where we started:
He wanted a 6×8′ chalkboard, so we started with some cabinet-grade ply, with one of the boards ripped in half.
I decided to attached them with a spare 1×6 I had laying around, similar to the way I attached the T1-11 panels for my barn door a few months ago.
I also added a few pieces to hold the brackets on the back. Then we flipped it over.
And this happened.
Now, I’ve used chalkboard paint a time or two, and I’m really not a fan. In fact, I spent a new powertool’s worth of money to buy magnetic porcelain chalkboards for my own bigass chalkboard project last year, specifically because I don’t like chalkboard paint. But I also have a modicum of patience when it comes to projects like these, unlike some people…
Truthfully, I was pleasantly surprised with how the chalkboard paint worked out on a large surface like this. We painted the board, and the trim pieces first.
The Nuggets helped. Of course.
I swear, everyone should have chickens just for the entertainment value.
Here’s the deal about what we used to build this thing in 5 hours or less: 2 pieces of cabinet grade ply, enough 1×6 to attach them together and make a frame around them, and enough crown to fill in the frame and make it pretty. Plus chalkboard paint, silver spray paint, and beer. Obviously.
I’m not doing beer and project pairings. But, uh, if I were, I’m pretty sure Founder’s Curmudgeon would go well with building a bigass fancy draft board. Just sayin’.
So, after assembling and painting the “chalkboard” portion of the project, we (I) cut the 1×6 boards for the frame…
Then we (actually “we” since I wasn’t tall enough to reach the top of the board) attached them to the base with my finish nailer.
Nailing through the back of the board…
This gave us a square frame to attach the crown molding to.
Cutting the crown (neither of us wanted to be the person to eff this up, but I drew the short straw)…
I mostly did not eff it up, by the way.
And, listen. Cutting crown to use on an extra large frame like this is no different than cutting crown for a ceiling. And if you want the pieces to have a tight fit, you really should cope it. Between my experience coping with the dremmel and later experience coping with a saw I totally recommend this. BUT, we had crown with the funky little square notches, which threw me off a bit. Instead I decided to nest the crown vertically against the fence in “installation position” and cut it on a 45.
This is a totally legit way to do this, but any variation in the way the board is set up can create an “off” corner. And, if you want to lay the crown flat and cut it, you can’t just do it at a 45. You have to set the miter saw to bevel cut at 33.85 degrees, and angle cut at 31.62 degrees. Yay, math. (They weren’t kidding when they said that shit would come in handy some day.)
Anyway, I went with the 45 degree cut, and I needed to make a few adjustment cuts, but all-in-all it worked out okay.
We put paper under the corners to help block overspray when we touched up the frame paint later. (Not my idea, but a really good one.)
Once everything was assembled we (uh, not me) sanded everything down again for a final coat of paint…
Teamwork! (Aka, I drink beer, you sand the thing.)
There was, however, a small argument over who was better at handling caulk. (Ha. Ha. Do caulk jokes ever get old?)
I won. And we’re just going to leave it at that.
And that was the “building” portion of the bigass chalkboard that would soon become the new draft board at Wurst Bar. However, there was still a whole part of the project that I like to call “swearing at inanimate objects” otherwise known as, calligraphy…
Here’s a mock up of one type of lettering (and wine… so much wine for this part).
I got about this far before someone called a flag on the play because there wouldn’t be enough room to list actual beers they have on draft. (There are twenty-four of them, by the way, which is awesome when you want to drink a beer, and far less awesome when you want to write all the names legibly on the chalkboard.)
I actually argued about how many would fit with this design until I mocked up some beers on the board, and then promptly gave up and went with a different lettering style for the header. Which took hours, by the way. At some point Monday night we ended up here, and then I was like, boom! Chalk-drop. (Kind of like a mic drop?) And walked out of the garage…
So Jess took care of the rest of the “drawing” and I reluctantly wrote things in cursive when he asked really, really nicely.
I legitimately haven’t written something in cursive since the sixth grade. I don’t even sign my name in cursive. So this turned out way better than I expected, at least.
Approximately 24 hours and $250 after we started…
You can see it in person at The Wurst Bar, if you’re ever around Ypsilanti!