How to build your own bar, part 5

Bye-bye liver, the bar is finished

by Dave McAwesome

When the pieces were all assembled and I attached the doors to the hinges (with Chip's help), the thing really started to come together. It was at this moment that I realized the transformative (and transubstantiative) power of carpentry.

Ladies and gentleman, I'm practically Jesus.

build your own bar wood
There was a notable son of a carpenter who did some amazing things in his time. I'm pretty similar, except I built a bar. Notice the hilariously ill-matched genuine artificial 1970s wood panelling. "Hey Dave! You should redecorate that entire room to match the bar!" Hey guy! I totally would except I blew all my disposable income building a bar!

What other logical explanation is there? How else could one who hadn't picked up a 2x4 since 4th grade build a mighty bar? I'm particularly psyched about the backbar because I built small shelves to go on top of you'll have a row of bottles in front and then a slightly higher row of bottles behind. Oh how drunk we'll be!

wood rasp file
Thank you, mighty rasp. Without you, I'd have had to settle for some cheese-munch postmodern bar-thing from Ikea. Note that the Ikea bar lacks anything that would resemble an actual bar.

Boring stuff: I used 2" wood screws for assembly into predrilled holes (I used a cheapie Black and Decker drill from Target). For the molding, I used 3/4" wire brads (a type of nail) and wood glue. A hammer drill (for the screws) and hammer and tap (for the nails) pushed them below the surface of the wood. I put stainable wood filler over those and other spots. I sanded all wood with a progression of 100-, 150-, 220-grit sandpaper. I used one coat of wood conditioner, two coats of cherry stain and three coats of satin polyurethane finish.

coat of cherry stain
This is a comparison of bare pine behind a piece with one coat of cherry stain. A second coat of stain gives a much richer color, as you can see above.

Were there problems? Yeah, one of the big planks of wood I bought had a slight warp in it, so the fit on one of the backbar pieces is less than perfect. One of the boxes extending the main bar has too small a base, so I need to go back and build it out a little longer.

build your own backbar wood
I saved most of the bottles I emptied while building the bar. I'll slowly replace them with new, full bottles now that the bar is done. Here's some interesting math: a bottle of beer (not Schlitz) from the grocery store to stock one's home bar costs under a dollar; a bottle of beer at a commercial bar runs between four and six bucks with tip. Hah! I showed them, right? Why it'd take...well...a lot of beer to recoup the cost of building this damned thing. I still say it's better than Ikea.

If I could do it again, I would have cut the bar top an inch shorter so I could nail on furring strips to match the ones on the pre-assembled piece. I would have researched and shopped around for a better wood filler. I also would have given more thought to black market organ sales in order to purchase the $200 bar railing.

furring strips wood
Yeah, I just didn't conceptualize this part properly from the beginning. I could have cut the tops shorter and nailed furring strips to match the main bar. This is why you don't mix beer with designing involved carpentry projects.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a liver to drown.

Read the whole story from the beginning.

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