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Few things look cooler than a bottle cap table. Whether it’s a small coffee table or a larger beer pong table, they’re incredible works of art and great conversation pieces. They represent true craftsmanship and embody the good times that came with each beer consumed to make it. That being said, you’re insane if you want to make one.
I know what you’re thinking. I just told you how awesome beer cap tables are; why wouldn’t you want to make one? Well, it comes down to skill and determination. Do you have the know how to do it, and are you willing to put in the time? Because making one will require huge quantities of both.
In theory, just gluing a bunch of caps down onto a table is easy as shit. However, making a good table requires much, much more than that. For one thing, you need to select good caps. If they’re too bent or misshapen from opening, your rows will be uneven and your surface won’t be relatively level. Once you have good caps (a lot of them, depending on the size of the table), you need to make your design. Do you want the caps to just be random or do you want some order to it? Color coordinated, or in the shape of a logo, mascot, or other symbol like a fraternity crest? These are details that need to be hammered out and planned before you lay a single cap down.
Once you’ve got all that done, you can start making the actual table surface — assuming you already have a table to put the caps on. This starts with painstakingly filling the caps so they won’t move around and won’t bubble up to the surface of your lacquer or coating (more on that later). You are going to have to fill each individual cap with glue or some other substance and let them dry before you can even set them down on the table. Thinking about making a 2,500 cap beer pong table? Factor that in.
So you’ve got your caps ready. Now it’s time to lay them down. You need to glue each individual one down and ensure every cap is exactly where it needs to be; otherwise the whole thing will be fucked up. If you’re doing a complex design, this is going to require incredible attention to detail. Nothing can be off. Fractions of an inch can ruin the entire project. It requires a keen eye and a steady hand.
The final step is coating the table. Polyurethane and specialized bar top lacquers work great for this. Like everything else involved with making one of these works of art, this step takes way longer than you think, and requires more effort than you would probably expect. After you’ve selected the right coating, you have to mix it to the proper proportions. If you fuck that up, it won’t work right at all. Assuming you mixed it well, then you have to pour it. Hopefully you picked a table with a rim around it to hold the coating in. If you didn’t, you can make a temporary rim with something like tin foil, but that brings many difficulties with it as well. Once you’ve laid down your coating in appropriate amounts, you have to let it cure. Different coatings have different curing times, so this step of the process can vary in duration. Regardless of the product, you have to be fairly attentive. You’ll have to stop bubbles from forming as best you can, as well as ensure that the coating doesn’t get a yellowish or opaque quality to it.
If you think you can do all that, and do it without fucking it all up, then go ahead and give it your best shot. If you think it’s going to be easy or won’t require enormous amounts of time and effort, save yourself the trouble. Like anything in life, if you want a quality product, you’re going to have to put it quality work.
Have you or your friends made a bottle cap table? Send us pictures and let us know how they turned out..