June 15, 2015

It was Friday morning at 3 AM when I woke with the solution. I got up out of bed and walked out to the back patio, took a look at the Tiki bar in its unfinished state and had a feeling it was going to work. I think I had dreamed about how I had finished the Tiki bar roof and the dream was really weird and disconnected, like the Tiki bar was in Winthrop, Massachusetts and I was in Orange, Texas with lightning illuminating the night to the north while it all came together. But the crux of the dream was that in it I saw myself cutting the thatch to fit the side frame, and not trying to replicate what the original builders did with thatch material I didn’t have at my disposal. Would I be wasting thatch? Probably. But heading back to bed I felt confident that my plan would work.

Friday afternoon it was back to the Home Depot to rent the same staple gun and compressor that I had two weeks prior.

I then proceeded to pound some temporary nails into each point of the triangle I’d be working with, then made all my measurements as carefully as I could. Because coverage was the most important thing I knew I needed 6″ more on every side so that after hanging the thatch on the nails to make sure it was hanging to the correct length I could staple it to the frame, then cut the excess off to make it match the shape of the frame.

Saturday was a hot day, so all the cutting was done in the garage with my trusty set of pruning shears:

There were basically three pieces needed for each side: the first a curtain that would hang from the lower crossbar, then two triangular, sail-shaped pieces that would hand from each side if the upper frame. Here is what the first piece looked like when hung:

As you can see, it doesn’t look like much, but when the two “sail” pieces are added, then everything cut to the shape of the frame, you get this:

Once the sides were done, it was time to lay the second (and thankfully, final) layer on the roof itself. That actually came together pretty quickly. Again, pounding nails into the top frame made it easy to drape the long (86″) piece over the top, hang it on the nails to position, and staple away. Those nails did such a good job that I decided the hell with it and positioned the nails across the top and kept them while stapling along the sides and down the frame where there was wood. In the end, I have to say it came out looking really good, like a real Tiki bar:

The backyard is pretty much of a mess, but I couldn’t have done the project without all three of the ladders I had at my disposal.

Tomorrow I’ll be cleaning up the area, washing the wood deck and bar surface down, then hanging the new Tiki lights we got specifically for the bar re-launch. And that will be it. It was damned hard work, but I learned a lot from it. There are a couple of things I might have done differently as far as shaping and cutting, but you don’t have to be perfect when it comes to Tiki bar thatch. The important thing will be to see how it stands up through our monsoon season; that’s the only way I’ll know if I did it right or missed something along the way. We’ll see!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:13 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. looks great….hope to see it in Oct…we need to talk if you all can fetch me in NM in Oct.

    Comment by Jana — June 17, 2015 @ 5:39 am

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