James Case has been a member of Wells Sailing Club since he was a child. “It’s always had the same bar,” he says, “but when the club decided to do a major refit, we decided to make a new bar with a nautical theme.” Which is where his previous expertise as a self-employed boat builder (since 1986) came into play.
“I’ve always used WEST SYSTEM® epoxy,” he explains, “rather than anything else. When I was trying to decide what to do with the bar I looked on YouTube and saw lots of video about fancy epoxy and river tables and the like. I thought ‘I should be able to do that’. So I went to Marine Industrial and asked what they had. They stock ENTROPY RESINS® products, so I decided to give that a go.”
The sailing club’s fleet is mainly 12square metre Sharpies – an ex-Olympic class (1956) – so it made sense to pick a few features of those to use in the bar’s renovation. James’ online voyaging inspired him to cast items into the design, so into the epoxy went an old cotton sail, and a selection of old boat fittings (pulleys and blocks) for a back drop, as well as a transom and a boat frame. The Wells Sailing Club logo is a reef knot so James made that a central feature using hardy hemp rope with whipped ends. It was this choice that added the extra depth to the casting, making it the last item to get covered in epoxy.
James made the back drop mould from a wooden frame covered with 3mm polypropylene sheet which allowed for a good release after the full cure. He sealed the joints using clear gorilla tape.
The framed back drop incorporated a rebate behind the casting, to hold a surrounding strip of dimmable LED lights to give a bright feature behind the bar – which helps show off how totally amazing it looks.
The bar top is teak and holly plywood. According to James this is more often found as a feature flooring on smart yachts. He was keen to replicate the feeling of luxury.
American Oak has been laminated around the front of the bar using thickened WEST SYSTEM Epoxy.
As it was James’ first-time using ENTROPY RESINS epoxy, he found it that it was fine on a flat surface, but it ‘ran like a river’ over the edges. “I had to refinish the front edge with a 2-pack varnish,” he explains, “after taking it back. The flat surface top is pure ENTROPY RESINS epoxy, and I’ve learnt a lot in the process.”
James renovates and builds traditional and wooden boats from his workshop in Wells-Next-The-Sea, a space he had to adapt for the bar build. “I sheeted a small area to retain the heat,” he says. “Keeping the temperature up in any workshop is unusual. There was a lot of dust in the air too, and that was a challenge to keep the bar clean. Originally, I thought I’d just buy lots of ENTROPY RESINS epoxy. I needed lots and a bit more! But, the end result is beautiful.”
James’ top tips:
- Read the product information thoroughly.
- Remember that the cure time is there for a reason.
- If you cast things make sure they don’t float. (James pinned down the rope and mast using a combination of clamps and self-tapping screws to hold them in position for the first pour.)
- Watch out for the volumes needed for thickness. If you’re casing boat fittings you’ll need lots of product for the depth.
- Cast on a strong, level base – this is especially important when you’re working at depth.
James can be contacted at: email@example.com
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