Introduction

How to Build a Bar
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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If the notion of building a bar conjures fond and fuzzy memories of hammering 2x4s into some makeshift cup stand back in college, terrific. But that experience won't help you much here. This is a real piece of furniture, as you can see from the trimmed panels, sturdy oak bar-rail molding, and stainless-steel foot rail. Follow along as This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers and colleague Douglas Adams build this handsome rec-room centerpiece. And if you want to break out the toga when it's finished, well, that's entirely your call.

Paint: Valspar's Royal Garnet.
Stain: Minwax's Jacobean.
Bar-rail molding: Bar-rail profile #375; Dykes Lumber.
Foot-rail assembly: Brushed stainless-steel foot-rail tubing, brackets, and caps; KegWorks.

Download the cut list for this project.

See the video

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    Tools List

    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • drill
      Drill/driver fitted with a combination drill bit
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic nail gun
    • hand saw
      Small hand saw

    Shopping List

    ½-inch birch-veneer plywood to sheathe the interior. Get one-and-a-half 4-by-8 sheets.

    Lauan to sheathe the outside of the bar. Get one-and-a-half 4-by-8-foot sheets.

    ¾-inch utility-grade plywood for the base of the bar. Get one 4-by-8 sheet.

    1x4 common-pine boards to be sandwiched between the sheathing. Get eight 8-footers.

    1x4 clear-pine boards for the stiles and rails. Get seven 8-footers.

    1x8 clear-pine board for the bottom rail. Get one 8-footer.

    1x10 clear-pine boards for the shelves. Get two 6-footers.

    1x2 for the capping and supports. Get one 6-foot common-pine board and one 8-foot clear-pine board.

    1x1 for the shelf cleats. Get two 8-foot lengths.

    Panel or base cap molding to trim the inside edges of the stiles and rails. Get six 6-foot pieces.1x12 oak to finish the bar top. Get one 10-foot board.

    1x2 oak for the trim. Get one 12-foot board.

    Oak bar-rail molding Get one 12-foot length.

    Foot rail, brackets, and caps (optional, available through KegWorks)

    1-inch nails

    1¼-inch nails

    -inch brad nails

    1¼-inch screws

    3-inch screws

    Construction adhesive

    Wood glue