Tag Archives: bar

Neil’s New Bar

I told my brother Neil I wanted to make him something after he moved into his new place in the fall, so I went with a bar/storage cabinet. We found a dry sink we liked a lot, and it had a wooden railing all around the top that would make a perfect place for storing bottles, bar accoutrements, etc. Here is what we started with:

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Nothing majorly wrong with it, except the top was kind of lifting off the body, so we remedied that with some strong wood glue and clamps.


We stripped and sanded the door  fronts and the entire top, and stained it with Jacobean Minwax stain. The remaining body was painted…then I decided I didn’t think the paint was dark enough, so I painted it again. My brother wanted it dark, if I used paint so I think the new choice is better. Its a dark teal-ish greenish greyish color, called Painted Turtle by Behr. Of course it looks totally different in different lighting. We sealed the whole thing up with water based poly.

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Next, I had a satisfying trip to Home Depot where I found new hinge hardware, new wooden plugs since a couple were missing, and new hardware that looked much sleeker than what was there:

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And here’s the new hardware:

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I had to drill some new holes for the new hardware, and most of it went off without a hitch. The new hinges still need a bit of tweaking since they’re not quite thick enough for the raised door, but I think I figured out something that will work. So here’s the final product:

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Not too bad for bachelor pad furniture!

Our New Bar!

We finally finished working on our new bar this weekend, just in time for a party we threw Saturday night. Not that we use this bar to serve 20 people, but we got to show them the finished product, which was exciting!

I’ll remind you how this bar started out:

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We bought this from a lady for $20, and it was probably used as an old fashioned TV stand. The drawer slides out, and there is a little cabinet compartment beneath it. The top was real wood veneer, but the rest seemed like lower quality wood or particle board. We decided we would strip, sand, and stain the top and paint the rest of the piece.

After we had sanded the top it looked like this:

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Then we removed the doors and shelf and roughed the rest up with some medium grit sand paper. The top was stained with special walnut, and sealed with 3 coats of water-based polyurethane. The body was primed, and painted with the first coat of blue paint. We chose a color called Bermudan blue. The inside is painted with a very light gray color.

IMG_0819Next, we needed to get our copper pipe railing attached. Our railing was made out of copper piping parts that we picked up at home depot:

IMG_0759   bar 1 bar 2Attaching the railing was tricky, but we finally figured out a way that would work and be somewhat anchored into the top. Nik used a 5/8″ drill bit to just get a groove made in the top of the wood:

IMG_0835Then the bottom pieces of the copper railing were set in these holes, and a small piece of 1/2″ wooden dowel was set into them. We drilled the dowel down into the top of the bar, and then filled the copper tube (with the dowel inside) with gorilla glue. Then we attached the top part of the railing onto these posts.

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The railing got some icky hand prints on it while we were attaching it, so we steel wooled it before the final attachment, and sprayed it with a clear coat of gloss spray paint. Finally we capped the end of the railing. The whole bar was sealed with Minwax furniture wax, which came out alright. Wax can be tricky over dark paint, because it can leave a streaky sheen. To avoid this, we applied the wax, let it dry for about an hour, then used very fine steel wool to remove excess wax, and then we buffed it with a buffing pad. It came out alright, but we’ll probably put a second coat of wax on it at some point to get rid of some of the streaks.

We decided to use wax because we didn’t want the piece to have a strong sheen, and the paint was flat, which means it was porous enough to take in wax and make a hard finish. Putting furniture wax over paint that has a sheen to it (satin or semigloss, for example) doesn’t do much because the glossier the paint, the less porous it is, so the wax will just sit on it like a film. We did put water based polyurethane over the paint on the shelf, just because this will be a more durable finish for storing bar tools that have hard metal edges.

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So here’s our finished bar! We love how it came out, and finally we have a place to store all the fancy liquor and wine bottles we’ve been accruing. One thing we might change on it is spray painting the door hardware with a copper finish spray paint since the gold clashes a bit, but for the time being we can settle with it!

Works in Progress

I was originally planning on doing a post for every piece we completed, but somehow we’ve found ourselves working on FOUR pieces at once! This means it’s a little progress here and there on each piece, but we probably won’t have anything completely finished for a while. So today I’ll write about these four pieces and the progress (or lack thereof?) we’ve made.

Nik has been on a bartending kick lately, and  has purchased a collection of unusual alcohols to mix drinks. Unfortunately, our kitchen and pantry are small, so most of these bottles and the fancy kitchen gadgets used to make the drinks have been cluttering our counter tops for the past few weeks. We decided we are in need of a bar cabinet to hold everything. We bought this old tv/stereo cabinet for $20. It’s a mix of solid wood and particle board with veneer, so it should be a workable surface to sand and paint or stain. Right now we’re thinking some sort of dark paint for the body, and maybe stained wood on the top.

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It has a neat little drawer that pulls out too, so that can be used for glasses and gadgets. Bottles and a wine rack will go inside the cabinet. Nik decided the top needed a rail for containing things, like this but more like the metal rail on this bar. We made a lengthy trip to the plumbing section of Home Depot on Saturday to see what we could fashion from copper piping. We ended up buying connectors, some end caps, and 10 feet of 1/2″ copper pipe, and a copper pipe cutter device.


By the end of the night, Nik had designed this scheme:


…and constructed this:

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It came out great! He then cut little 1.5″ lengths of pipe to lift the rail off the bar a bit and I buffed all the piping with steel wool to shine it up and remove the printing that was on the pipe. To attach it to the bar, we’re planning on gluing a small piece of wooden dowel into the base pipes and screwing it down into the top of the bar. We’ll probably do that last, after we’ve refinished the bar top, so there’s a lot to happen before the rail is on!

For our next project, we’ve wanted to replace our coffee table for a while because it’s cheap and old. While I was away one weekend Nik bought a modern-looking table from someone in Carrboro for $50. I thought the price was a little steep, and when he brought it home and I looked at it, we realized its not even real wood. We still like the design though, and it’s a heavy duty table. It was used as a kid’s craft table by the previous owner, so we planned on just cleaning it up, restaining any imperfections, and sealing it with poly since there’s not much else we can do with not-real wood. I spent last night sanding glitter off of it, but I accidentally sanded through some of the finish. Now we’re rethinking this project, and we’re maybe leaning towards spray painting it in a sleek high gloss white, but we’re not sure yet.

Next, when Nik was buying that coffee table, he spied a dining table that was being discarded in the neighbor’s yard. He grabbed the table and the disassembled pedestal legs and toted it home. Once he got home, he realized it was being discarded because not all of the pedestal parts were there…


It needs four of those bottom foot pieces, and there are only two! But, the table was free, so after searching craigslist, we found 4 metal table legs for $40, and Nik worked on stabilizing the table base and screwing the legs into the table bottom yesterday:


After that, we’ll probably sand and paint the table and put it up for sale.

Our final project is an unusual little vanity we picked up for $60. Its an old piece, but it’s interesting and I think it will work nicely as a little girl’s desk (people pay a surprising amount of money for kid things on craigslist). It was a lot shorter than we were expecting when we picked it up, so we found some legs at the lumber store for $45 to attach to it to get it to a more reasonable “desk height”. You can see the lighter color legs we added in this picture:


It has 4 drawers and a large mirror, and we also bought a little kid’s chair at the Raleigh flea market to go with it for $10. The desk is currently primed with paint, and the flat surfaces are painted a very light blush pink color. The trim and chair will be white.

So, those are the 4 seemingly endless projects we’re working on at the moment. It was so hot this weekend we didn’t make much progress, but hopefully we can work on things during the evenings this week!