How to Build a Wooden Bar Top

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Building your own wooden bar top can customize your bar while enhancing the look of the rest of the room. Choose a hardwood that can support the weight of many dishes, glasses, bottles and pressure from guests leaning on it. The choice between dark and light wood is not quite as important initially because wood stain can change your bar top's color and tone quickly and easily.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood sheet
  • Finished wood bar top or wood tiles
  • Varnish
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood glue
  • Cut the plywood base to fit the measurements of your counter. A sturdy plywood base that can support a heavier wood bar top should be at least 3/4 inch thick.

  • Drill the edges of the plywood base into the top of the counter.

  • Lay the wood finish on top of the plywood base. If it's one solid piece of wood for the bar top, cut it to fit the plywood base. If you're designing the top layer with multiple pieces of wood tiles, lay out the design across the plywood.

  • Glue the tiles or solid bar top to the plywood base with wood glue. If you choose to apply a wood stain the bar top or tiles, now is the time to do that.

  • Paint a coat of wood varnish over the bar top. It may be necessary to sand it once it dries to smooth any inconsistencies and apply a second coat.

  • Glue a piece of wood trim to the front of the bar to hide the seam where the bar top or tile meet the plywood base. This will neaten its appearance. The top of the trim should sit flush with the edge of the finished bar top.

  • Paint a coat of sealant, such as an epoxy coating, to protect it against cup rings and spilled drinks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before cutting the plywood base in Step 1, take into consideration whether you want space for bar stools at the front of the bar. If so, leave at least 18 to 24 inches of space at the front.

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