Bar Back Cabinets: Worried About Moisture

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Forum topic by Jim posted 03-11-2016 02:37 PM 407 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jim's profile


99 posts in 1083 days

03-11-2016 02:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinets bar barback bar back casework case carcasses carcass moisture control wet moisture plywood ply material material selection wood species help question finishing veneering milling tip

Hey all, I’m currently working on a few really cool elements for a new beer garden / restaurant here in town (see progress photos on my instagram ) and I’ve been asked to also make cabinets that will support a counter on the wall behind the bar.

I’m here to ask for plywood type ideas. I’m worried about moisture. It will be a full bar, mainly beer sales. But, with all the mopping and spills, I want these cabinets to last.

The client is open to painting these, they aren’t meant to be pretty, but I’d prefer to have them not painted. I’m a small woodshop and don’t have a ton of resources for finishing.

I’ve considered melamine, and even began to research marine grade ply.

I’m also planning on putting them up on some leveling feet to get them completely off the ground.
links to those:

Also, here is how I plan on building them

Any ideas / experienced insite is much appreciated? Thanks.


-- Jim from Rivertown Woodcraft | Grand Rapids, MI |

4 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


748 posts in 341 days

#1 posted 03-12-2016 01:02 AM


A cabinet leveler made by Hafele is another option worth a look. It mounts to the cabinet bottom and holds the bottom of the cabinet about 3-1/2” – 4” off the floor. Therefore the cabinet box can be built without side panels running all the way to the floor. The cabinet box “floats” above the floor. It would require the cabinet bottom and side joinery to be sturdy enough to carry the weight of the cabinet, contents and countertop. If the client wants a toe kick, the toe kick clips allow a toe kick to snap onto the legs.

The Hafele style of cabinet leveler would allow you to use whatever plywood you want, since the only water or beer hitting the plywood will be on its sides and front. A prefinished plywood would reduce your finishing time, but I am not sure how to go about applying a coat of paint to it.

View Jim's profile


99 posts in 1083 days

#2 posted 03-12-2016 03:12 AM

Thanks JBrow, this is great info.

-- Jim from Rivertown Woodcraft | Grand Rapids, MI |

View 01ntrain's profile


135 posts in 491 days

#3 posted 03-12-2016 04:02 AM

Definitely wouldn’t use Melamine….if it hits moisture, you’re done.

I would think about MDO, it’s paintable, and it has some water-resistant qualities.

View rwe2156's profile


2116 posts in 901 days

#4 posted 03-12-2016 02:27 PM

There is a product called Pionite made by Panolam maybe that is a possiblity if you can find a distributor.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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