A Little Bar with a Little Secret

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Project by Peter Oxley posted 01-17-2009 07:23 PM 3410 views 6 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a small dry bar that I built recently for a repeat client. This space is directly between their eat-in kitchen and their large patio, so it allows easy access whether they are entertaining inside our out.

The construction is American birch and American birch veneer, stained with a rich tobacco-brown and then finished with a colored varnish. The client had not selected hardware yet, so we used post-it notes as temporary drawer pulls.

The client didn’t expect to put anything large in the cabinets, so the full depth of the base seemed to waste a lot of space. Almost all casework jobs have dead space that could have a hidden compartment, but making that hidden space useful can be difficult. We decided to divide the base cabinet so the front section could be used for additional shelving and the back section could conceal a trash pull-out.

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14 comments so far

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 2919 days

#1 posted 01-17-2009 07:34 PM

Verrrry verrrry nice!!!!!!!!!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3348 days

#2 posted 01-17-2009 07:36 PM

Beautiful project. I like the stain color.

View LesB's profile


1149 posts in 2477 days

#3 posted 01-17-2009 07:41 PM

Interesting design idea.
That hidden space would be a great place to conceal and store valuables and/or to put in a fire resistant box for securing important documents. I have often included hidden spaces under cabinets in the toe board space. I use magnets to hold the toe board in place. Your space is much more accessible and almost as inconspicuous.

-- Les B, Oregon

View WOODLAND's profile


50 posts in 2450 days

#4 posted 01-17-2009 07:49 PM

WOW now this is what talent is all about. Beautiful job well done.


View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 2697 days

#5 posted 01-17-2009 10:28 PM

Very nice

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View lightweightladylefty's profile


2954 posts in 2746 days

#6 posted 01-18-2009 04:37 AM


What a great use of what would have been wasted space. I love how you hid it.

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4440 posts in 2996 days

#7 posted 01-18-2009 05:14 AM

it really came out nice, Peter. Good one.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 2822 days

#8 posted 01-18-2009 06:26 AM

Brilliant use of wasted space. You did a great job on the wine fridge too. :)

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View jim1953's profile


2702 posts in 2876 days

#9 posted 01-18-2009 06:36 AM

Great Job

-- Jim, Kentucky

View Tony's profile


978 posts in 3064 days

#10 posted 01-18-2009 03:19 PM

Nice project, I especially like the compartment for the trash.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View gbvinc's profile


629 posts in 2981 days

#11 posted 01-18-2009 05:06 PM

Nice Peter. Good use of the space for the trash pull out!

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2908 days

#12 posted 01-20-2009 06:52 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone!

@ LesB – It’s funny … when I was posting this, it occured to me that we want to hide our most valuable things and our trash. I guess a compartment like this would work for either one.

@ShannonRogers – The wine fridge was the hardest part. I have some experience with metal fab, but the cooling system really took some figuring! :)

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View woodbutcher's profile


592 posts in 3200 days

#13 posted 01-21-2009 06:18 AM

Peter O,
You really did a fine job with that birch very nice finishing. Is that a stone bar top or a composite type top? I know that concealed trash can will get a lot of use, very nice design.Congratulations again on such a fine project.

Ken McGinnis

-- woodbutcher north carolina

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2908 days

#14 posted 01-27-2009 03:52 PM

Thanks, Ken. The top is stone. It had a crown that was really frustrating to work with – it was probably 1/4” higher in the middle than on the edges. I’ve never come across that kind of variation in stone before.

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