Oak Bar Re-facing

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Project by Brad_Nailor posted 11-01-2007 05:11 AM 8816 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Oak Bar Re-facing
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A little earlier today I posted in someones blog about bar tops and it got me thinking about a project I did a few years ago. I had just been laid off after 11 years as a PBX/telecom tech and was living off of some severance pay. I was working at my friends custom kitchen shop for free lunch, free dibs on the scrap pile and free use of the shop. Another friend had just purchased a new house that had a rec room in the basement complete with a bar! Only thing was, the bar was roughly framed with 2×4’s covered in T111, and the bar top was a single sheet of Home Depot grade structural (not even hardwood) plywood! And if that wasn’t enough the guy had the audacity to route a profile in edge of the plywood….after getting over my nausea. I quickly came up with a plan to upgrade the bar and make it look better…casue it looked like a tipped over garden shed at the moment! Here is what I came up with…

Here are my Auto CAD drawings.
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
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I used 3/4” Oak ply for the panels so it would be lighter and less expensive. We used a biscuit jointer to assemble the frame, and backed it with 1/4” Oak ply. The openings were framed with solid Oak molding with a custom profile me and my cabinetmaker friend came up with through trial and error.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket We left the T111 and the old bar top on as a substrate. The panels were assembled and finished in the shop. We then secured the front panel to the side and once again through trial and error developed the corner bead. We actually took 2 pieces of left over molding, ripped them up the middle, then reversed them and glued them together. A couple plinth blocks top and bottom and thats a corner!
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Once it was assembled completely we then attached to the bar by drilling clearance holes in the T111, so the panels would “suck in” tightly to the substrate. Screwed in from the back, and leveled it fit perfectly!
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The top was a sheet of MDF custom laid up with a beautiful piece of Oak veneer. We choose MDF cause its heavy, flat and much denser than plywood, so it wont dent if you drop a glass on it. We attached some solid oak “Chicago” bar rail to the front edges and then screwed it in place from underneath through clearance holes in the substrate.
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As you can see the concrete floor drops rapidly away from the wall into the center of the room. I installed a piece of scribed shoe molding and also finished the end that met the wall with 1/4” round. Unfortunately I don’t have pics of the bar fully trimmed out, and I have yet to do the inside part of the bar. But my friend was pretty happy with the results, and we did the whole thing for about $1000 worth of materials, almost half of that was the cost of the bar rail and the custom MDF sheet. The bar was finished with brushed on Deft semi gloss lacquer ( that was the homeowners contribution to the project) and he put on a whole gallon..probubly 10 coats..sanding each coat slightly in between. All in all I think it came out nice!


9 comments so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3956 days

#1 posted 11-01-2007 12:47 PM

Good project, David and a good how to blog as well.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3999 days

#2 posted 11-01-2007 02:35 PM

Handsome bar there!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3879 days

#3 posted 11-01-2007 04:34 PM

That is super great! Nice work please keep posting.

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

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 3874 days

#4 posted 11-01-2007 09:18 PM

exelent job david love the style

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 3988 days

#5 posted 11-02-2007 03:40 AM

Beautiful work, David. Yes, I’d say it turned out excellent.

One thing I would have done differently though. I would have used a different finish than lacquer, since it doesn’t do well with water or alcohol. Those “pour on” epoxy finishes would have been a good choice (IMHO).

Nice cad work too!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4030 days

#6 posted 11-02-2007 03:57 PM

Nice detail and description!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3951 days

#7 posted 11-03-2007 04:13 AM

Thanks for the nice comments guys..Ya Tom..we originally were going to use epoxy bar coating(you can see it in the cross section) but after doing some research on how to apply it, and hearing some horror stories about it staying “cloudy” or remaining tacky we decided to stay away from the resin. I agree I guess I didn’t think the lacquer through fully but the owner is really anal about keeping it clean and using coasters. So hopefully the finish will stay put!


View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

953 posts in 3806 days

#8 posted 12-20-2007 01:16 PM

Nice and perfect description.

-- Jiri

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4394 days

#9 posted 12-20-2007 03:35 PM

Great job David. It looks fantastic.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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