Top heavy bar

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Old 01-01-15, 01:17 PM
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Top heavy bar

I have a bar that is 12 feet long and one hundred years old. I recently moved and can not bolt the bar down to the new floor. The bar is quite top heavy and tips easily to where the customers would have sat. We don't use the bar for drinking, but more as a desk. I need an effective way to stop the bar from tipping over. I tried adding support beams to the front, but they did not help. Again, I can not drill into the flooring at this location. I also am not allowed to attach the bar to the walls. The bar is shaped like this ] Any advice would be appreciated.
 
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Old 01-01-15, 02:14 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

A pic or two of the bar would be helpful - http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
Would adding extra legs help?
 
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Old 01-01-15, 02:17 PM
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While waiting on pictures, you need to change the center of gravity by adding weight to the back bottom of the unit. Also, if it has feet, they need to be positioned as wide as possible on the bottom of the unit. The fact that it is "U" shaped should lend to stability, so think of different types of ballast you can add to the base of the unit.
 
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Old 01-01-15, 02:48 PM
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That's a tough one, skids attached to sides would not look good and be a trip hazard.
I would say counter weight, like Czizzi said, a raised platform that you can attach the bar to, or attaching to ceiling via some decorative columns.
 
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Old 01-01-15, 03:07 PM
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Depending on how the bar is constructed I would get some lead ingots and ballast the light side. Steel is cheaper but it's much lighter for a given size.

I have a small cabinet with a computer inside and the monitor and keyboard are on an articulated arm hanging off the side. It was extremely tippy. I attached steel support brackets to the bottom where they are not visible. After the cabinet is in place I put in the lead bars which add several pounds down very low to anchor it in place.
 
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Old 01-01-15, 04:05 PM
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In Lieu of ballast, you could bolt a couple of "ski's" on the bottom to increase the footprint. Although is might create a trip hazard. The boards would be attached to the bar bottom not the floor.

I know you can not bolt anything to the floor, but anti-tip devices for kitchen ranges may work if done conspicuously....Think Michael Jackson in Bad Criminal where he leans all over the place and his feet are planted firmly. Just sayin'.......
 
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Old 01-11-15, 04:50 PM
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bar pictures

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Sorry, I thought I had rotated the bottom photo. The lighter colored post does not belong to the bar, but was holding it up when I took this picture. Does this help or do you need more?
 

Last edited by PJmax; 01-11-15 at 05:07 PM. Reason: reoriented picture
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Old 01-11-15, 05:11 PM
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Nice looking bar.

The top is definitely to far out over the bottom for a free standing bar.
Can you slide the top back and onto the bottom frame further ?
 
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Old 01-11-15, 05:48 PM
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That is a nice bar.
It's going to be hard to balance that, the base just isn't deep enough. In above posts, myself and Czzizi suggested "skis" or what I call skids to support each end. The problem with that is they may create a trip hazard.
I would consider building a large platform, dais, that the bar will be attached to.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 04:23 AM
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I'd do like Brian suggested and build a platform to set and attach the bottom of the bar to. It could be as simple as a sheet of plywood screwed to the underside of the bar.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 06:51 AM
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Actually what you currently have is working. If you can't reposition the top on the base to distributor the CG then get decorative pillars to replace that 2 x 4 that us currently balancing it. In fact that 2 x 4 if stained to match and butted against the edge would look OK. You could position one on each end and maybe one in the middle.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 08:07 AM
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If you are handy, I would build a larger box around the base - kind of like a step. Steps or rails are very common in bars designed for seating. It gives you someplace to place your feet. Build out 6 - 8 inches from the current which will increase your overall footprint and provide some stability to the bar. The new base can also wrap around the back some to take the place of the leg support. If the overall footprint mimics the size of the top, it will not tip over.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 09:11 AM
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That will take up lots more room due to a bigger foot print. That could be a problem. To me a support system is in order as opposed to changing the CG by adding weight or building out the base. Adding the supports is the next best thing to mechanical fastening to the floor or wall (which by the way would be the proper thing to do).
 
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Old 01-12-15, 01:01 PM
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Norm, top heavy implies that there is already a tip hazard. He is unable to rectify by mechanical means as he does not own the property. If he can match the stain, and find standard oak board that he can fashion into a step up front, he can dramatically change the weight distribution on the bar. See attach image for general schematic:


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The step at the bottom is a natural for anyone standing or sitting at the bar. This would be a simple physics adjustment and one made tremendously easier with the addition of the pics by the original poster.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 01:27 PM
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Agreed, but the foot print must be made much bigger. And to my mind that is a big minus. Besides, making an add on base will require a lot more work than fashioning 2 or 3 post. And then one must determine the best way to attach such a base without changing or altering a 100 year old antique piece of furniture if the antiquity is a factor that is valued. In fact I'm betting post may be able to be bought already carved or fashioned that may fit the style. Just staining will be required. True, post must be attached also but that can be done in a much less obtrusive manner in an under side portion that won't affect the overall beauty of the unit. Also, when and if the next move takes place that added base will be a bear to handle. But, to each his own.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 02:16 PM
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This can be debated all day long, the fact is this bar is too narrow to be freestanding. Being placed on carpet doesn't help. The posts would stabilize it if it wasn't on carpet.
The answer is a base, I would say 4 - 6" high.
The Oak stain is one of the easiest matches to make. Also, it's natural to have a raised platform at bar front (and back). With stools, it's a foot rest. Many bars have brass rails at bottom front, by making this dais, OP is saving maybe a thousand dollars or more and stabilizing the bar at the same time.
As a 20 year sailor, I know something about "stepping up" to a bar.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 03:35 PM
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Looking at the front of the bar, there are some columns which protrude at their bottoms, but don't extend to the ground. If you don't mind putting holes through parts of the base of the bar, you could attach some boxes under the bottoms of these columns which would stabilize the unit from tipping over toward that side as long as they extend 1-3 inches past the front rim of the upper surface and are connected strongly to the bar structure from behind. These "feet" would look organic to the design since they'd continue the columns to the floor, and would create a minimal tripping hazard if there are going to be chairs/stools sitting in front of the bar.

That addition wouldn't add much stability if the bar is prone to tipping back toward where a bartender would stand, so if there's an issue on that side you'd need a separate solution there.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 03:56 PM
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As a carpenter, I would not hesitate to build the base as sketched to stabilize the unit. I would have a blast in the shop making sure the integrity of the main unit was not compromised.
 
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Old 01-12-15, 04:28 PM
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Those columns on the front look as though they should be sitting on a platform. I wonder if at one time there was in fact a base to this unit. The big question is if the OP is willing to compromise the bottom section for the sake of stability. That would be the proper thing to do, but as any antique fanatic will tell you, do not change or tamper with old things. That will reduce the value. If there was a base originally then adding a base will be a restoration as opposed to a fix. The only reason I keep harping on this is because the OP mentioned that it is 100 years only and it looks like its in very good condition. If the antiquity (Czizzi, not the integrity )means nothing and a bigger foot print is not a problem then making a base is easy and correct. Keep in mind he did not intend to use it as a bar but as a desk.

I think its time for castlerocket to chime in and let us know what is important and what is not.
 
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Old 01-13-15, 09:44 AM
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bar help

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Preserving the antique value of the bar is very important. Not only is it a family treasure, but research indicates it is a rare bar as well. Looking forward to the three day weekend to play around with ideas posted. I will keep everyone posted on here as time permits.
 
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Old 01-13-15, 10:04 AM
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In your research does it ever show any type of additional base? And those columns on the front, do you have any pics that show them being supported? Any old photo's you can share that might show this in use from yesteryear?
 
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Old 01-17-15, 09:25 PM
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We have no photos from it that show a base of any kind. Nor did any of my research. I did try some extensions under the columns today out of scrap lumber, but they did not help stabilize it at all. Will try counter balancing it next.
 
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Old 01-19-15, 04:55 PM
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Not sure what you tried, but adding extensions under those columns would need to be connected solidly to the lower front rim of the base of that bar with a strong connection capable of carrying bending into the main body of the bar, this could maybe be done temporarily with clamps if the whole works were lifted off the ground to allow the clamps to pass under the edge, but any sort of dry-fit won't show much strength since there's nothing keeping the base of the bar from separating from the additional blocks (also, if those are gussets under the bottoms of the columns, you'd need to notch the extensions to attach around them). This may well be the case for any other version of an extended base on the front of the bar as well; if you're not somehow preventing separation between the additional part and the original, you won't be able to accurately test for what extra support/stability might be added.
 
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Old 01-19-15, 06:28 PM
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If antiquity and original shape is of value to this bar/desk then your only solution is the support columns as you showed in your first post #4. Although good, all of the other suggestions mean you must modify, drill holes, fasten hardware and add other pieces of wood to the outside to gain stability. The side support columns will require only a hole drilled into the underside of the top. The drilled holes will not detract from the original bar or devalue it. The supports can be carved or shaped to fit into the current design and can be removed with no ill effects. The only other solution is mechanical fastening to the floor or walls which you say is unacceptable.

Keep us posted.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 06:59 PM
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Last night I put the three support beams back in the front and screwed them to the underside of the bar. That offered minimal tip resistance at best. I also moved the whole top piece back, but then it was uncomfortable to sit at as my legs didn't have any room. Local hardware store suggested putting a 3/4 inch plywood under bar attached with screws and some weights on the plywood. No stores carry 12 foot plywood. It doesn't sound like fun to have pinched feet between two sheets or any kind of connecting device to trip over. I thought about attaching the connecting piece underneath, but then I run the risk of damaging the carpet. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:42 PM
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If you split a sheet of 3/4 ply into two 4x4s and then screw those into the bottom of the bar base so they extend 6" past the forward edge of the bar on either end; maybe a dozen or so 2" long 1/4" wood screws with drilled pilot holes should do for each piece, that should give you a good base to sit on your existing carpet. You might want to add another piece between these to provide a constant level, but won't get a ton of strength from it and would probably only need to fill in on the "front" side of the bar. Then just cover the plywood with a rug of some sort. You could also put some kind of burbur remnant on the underside to reduce the hard wear on the carpet underneath this, but if you're not moving the bar much then that probably wouldn't be really necessary.

Ultimately there's no way to stabilize any object without either expanding its base footprint or attaching it strongly to some kind of external support or anchor it to some fixed structure. If you're in a situation which rules out every one of these options, then you're left with figuring out how to use the thing when it's laying on its side or finding a hardware store which stocks skyhooks.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 08:28 PM
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I think you can review my post #16. It involves setting the bar on a raised platform, dais.
Czizzi mentioned something similar and now Bmgreene. To me, it makes sense and is the only answer.
1. It will not harm the integrity of the bar, meaning changing the historical value. I would bet there are already holes in the bottom where it was secured originally to a surface.

2. Joining two pieces of plywood will not create a pinch hazard, you will need some carpentry skills. The base could also be made out of 1 x 6 or other material.

Here's what I would recommend. A 4" high platform, you pick the dimensions. 6' x 13'?

Bar will be attached to platform with threaded rods or other fasteners that can be applied without altering the bar in any way, ideally using holes that are already present.
 
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Old 01-22-15, 10:30 PM
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Tonight we picked up two sheets of 4x8 plywood and measured everything out and cut the plywood to fit around vents. Hopefully tomorrow night we can attach it and have this bar stabilized. Until summer I am not going to worry about matching the stain, but will probably just throw a rug over the plywood.
 
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Old 01-23-15, 07:57 AM
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You can glue blocks to the plywood and then screw them down to secure. Then attach your bar to the blocks. Was that your intended game plan?
 
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Old 01-24-15, 10:09 PM
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The bar tips no more!

Today we tried putting the plywood out in front of the bar, but then the stools were off balance. Next we moved the plywood out further to accommodate the stools as well. By the time we gave enough safety zone stool clearance there was no room for the other items in the room. Next, we tried raising the bar up a few inches as suggested. To tall for the stools at that point. The stools are also quite old and I really didn't want to have to make or buy new ones. I found the hardware I used to bolt the bar to the floor in my old place. I reattached them to the bar, bought shorter screws for the hardware that attaches to the floor and screwed them down. The bar is now tip proof and was used tonight for homework, genealogy research and chowing down on popcorn. Thank you for all the ideas and help.
 
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Old 01-25-15, 07:17 AM
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Excellent, Keep an eye on things over the course of normal usage. Short screws do not have tremendous holding power and may work loose over time. If that happens, glue some blocks to the ply to give you a thicker platform to screw your brackets into.
 
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Old 01-25-15, 08:31 AM
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I would strongly suggest T-nuts in place of the screws. If your worried about scratching the floor underneath with the head of the T-nut you can recess it maybe a sixteenth of an inch.
 
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