How to Make a Copper Bar Top

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Copper has a wonderful warm appearance. The metal can be worked into almost any shape and it immediately adds a bit of rustic elegance to a bar. Copper can be fitted to the top surface of a bar and attached with adhesive. If the copper is slightly distressed, on purpose, it invites guests to pull up a stool and not worry about denting the finish. The color can be fixed to a shiny copper or allowed to age more naturally, bringing some greens into the finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Medium Density Fiberboard
  • Wood fill
  • 36-gauge copper sheet
  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • Linoleum floor roller
  • Contact cement
  • Copperlac lacquer
  • Epoxy
  • Clean the surface of your MDF (medium density fiberboard) that has been installed as your counter top underlayment. Make sure that any holes are filled and that all nails or screws are recessed and filled. Sand as little as possible of the surface of your MDF, because it degrades the finish. Your bar should have a lip that is 3/32-inch above the central surface of the bar top.

  • Cut your 36-gauge copper sheeting to fit the contours of your bar. You should be able to cut your copper sheeting using a sharp utility knife or heavy-duty scissors. Lay a plastic sheet over areas with dents or creases and roll hard with a linoleum floor roller to work out the spots.

  • Pre-fit your copper sheeting to your counter. Apply contact cement to the surface of the MDF and the back of the copper. Align your copper exactly and use the linoleum floor roller to press the copper into place. Allow your cement 12 hours to dry.

  • Spray an even coat of Copperlac lacquer over the entire copper surface. This lacquer is made specifically for copper finishes to protect the copper patina. The lacquer also gives the finish epoxy a better surface to adhere to. Allow your Copperlac 12 hours to dry.

  • Mix epoxy hardener and catalyst in a large bucket. (Follow the epoxy manufacturer's directions.) Pour the epoxy onto the counter top all at once. The epoxy should self-level and fill the 1/8-inch-deep valley over the top of the copper. You can run the epoxy over the edges of the counter top. They will not coat with the thickness of the counter top but you can spread the epoxy for a good finish. You will have drips underneath the counter top to remove later.

  • Allow the epoxy to dry at least 12 hours and up to two weeks before placing anything heavy on the surface. Paper and other objects may stick during the full curing period of the epoxy, so try to keep the bar top clear of all objects for as long as possible until the epoxy is hard and no longer has any sticky sensation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always protect your surroundings when working with adhesives and epoxys, as they will splatter.
  • Ventilate your work area and keep animals, children and the elderly out of the room until the air is clear to breathe.

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