The Home Depot Absinthe Fountain

In the past few weeks I have mentioned my “ghetto, Home Depot absinthe fountain” to a number of friends.  Given the internet mantra of “pics or it didn’t happen” and my difficulty of describing all of the little details in words, let me start out with a photograph:

The project arose from my desire to prepare absinthe in the traditional way, dripping water through a sugar cube versus just dumping in a bunch of water and spoonful of sugar, but without the expense of a proper glass and brass absinthe fountain. The cheap fountains, made of glass and with a plastic spout, start at $50 or $60, with nice ones well in excess of $100. As cool as the fountains look, I do not feel the need to spend that much on what is effectively a novelty.

I started by sketching out a few (bad) designs using PVC, wood, and plumbing fittings before I took my first trip to Lowe’s with this specific project in mind. Technically, this is a “Lowe’s Absinthe Fountain,” but I felt “Home Depot Absinthe Fountain” better captured the jury-rigged hardware store vibe of the project. Although I had waked through the plumbing section of Lowe’s many times before, I never really stopped to look at the products very closely. Examining what they had to offer better informed my fountain designs. I pretty much threw away all previous ideas I might have had because I was limited by what PVC pieces where actually available, not which ones I believed were available.

The water tank and drip are just a few pieces while the stand is scrap lumber. I would link to the pieces on the Lowe’s website, but I cannot seem to find them. The main “tank” part is a 4″ PVC tee section with friction-fit at either end and a screw-fit connection in the middle. The middle joint is capped off with a screw-fit cap. The bottom one has a friction-fit cap. The spout came from the tubing section of Lowe’s. I have no idea what it might be for “in real life” but it allows for minute adjustments to the water flow.  It is held on to the cap by a brass nut. In fact, it is only attached to the cap and there is a corresponding notch in the tee-section piece because the threading on the spout was not long enough to go through both pieces.

The wooden stand was made by tracing the profile of the tee-section-with-cap onto cardstock, then drawing on some legs tall enough to clear a glass. The stand is made from two pieces of wood, notched, that fit together at 90 degrees and are glued in place.

The PVC (originally white, highly scuffed, and with barcodes and product numbers indelibly printed on) was then painted black and the stand painted red. I chose those colors not just because they look nice, but also they were ones I happened to have leftover from other projects.

Overall, the design works well with one exception. Although I purchased some PVC sealant, I figured I did not need it. The friction-fit cap seemed pretty tight and the content — icewater — is not under pressure, so I felt I could get by without using the sealant. This would let me possibly take things apart, in case I discovered that I needed minor design tweaks. Unfortunately water leaks through the seam between the main tee-section and lower cap, even when not under pressure. Because of this, I can only fill it to the height of the bottom cap. Someday soon I will have to pry it apart and apply sealant so that the tank can hold more water.

Posted in: Dear Diary Food Projects

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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