How to Build a Kitchen Island with a Raised Bar


It's nice to have an island cabinet in the kitchen, but what makes it better is to have a raised bar attached to it. Build it the way you want, It doesn't have to house a stove or a sink; it can simply be a gathering place to eat. Whether you install wood, laminate or stone countertops, it will still be the focus of attention to all who see it.

Things You'll Need

  • Two pieces of 2-by-4-by-40-inch lumber
  • Two pieces of 2-by-4-by-31½-inch lumber
  • Variable speed drill
  • Philips head screw tip
  • 3-inch drywall screws
  • One piece of 2-by-4-by-37-inch lumber
  • Two pieces of 34½-by-40-by-¼-inch plywood
  • ¾-inch brads
  • Two pieces of 26¾-by-35¼-by-¾-inch plywood
  • 2-inch drywall screws
  • Two pieces of 34½-by-4-by-¾-inch plywood
  • Two pieces of 21½-by-4-by-¾-inch plywood
  • Wood glue
  • 1¼-inch drywall screws
  • One piece of 34½-by-23-by-¾-inch plywood
  • 4d finish nails
  • Two pieces of 35¼-by-2-by-¾-inch plywood
  • Two pieces of 32-by-4¾-by-¾-inch plywood
  • Corrugated fasteners
  • Two pieces of 1-by-2-by-34½-inch lumber
  • One 38-by-12-inch bar top
  • One 38-by-26-inch bar top
  • Two 16½-by-26¾-by-¾-inch plywood doors

Cabinet and Raised Wall Assembly

  • Place the 2-by-4-inch lumber on a worktable. Place the two 31½-inch pieces between the two 40-inch pieces, one at either end, and install 3-inch drywall screws through the 40-inch lumber into the 31½-inch lumber with the drill, using a Phillips head screw tip.

  • Secure the 37-inch 2-by-4 in the center of the assembly. Place one of the pieces of ¼-inch plywood on the 2-by-4 assembly and secure it with the ¾-inch brads. This is the raised bar support wall.

  • Stand the raised bar support wall up so that the 40-inch lumber is upright. Place the two pieces of 26¾-by-35¼ plywood (end panels) on either side of the 2-by-4 assembly so the 35¼-inch side is upright and the 2-by-4 assembly is even with the 35¼-inch edge. Secure the 2-by-4s to the plywood by installing 2-inch drywall screws through the lumber and into the plywood.

  • Place all of the 4-inch plywood (cleats) on the worktable. Apply glue to the 4-inch edges of the 21½-inch pieces and secure them between the longer ones with the 1¼-inch drywall screws. One should go at either end and the third about midway between the other two.

  • Place the piece of 34½-by-23-inch plywood (bottom shelf) on the cleats and secure it to the cleats with the 4d finish nails. Next, lay the assembly from step 3 so the 40-inch length of the 2-by-4s is lying on the table.

  • Place the 34½-by-23-inch plywood assembly between and at the bottom of the end panels. Secure it to the end panels by installing 2-inch drywall screws through the 4-inch plywood and into 2-by-4s.

Face Frame and Tops

  • Place the two pieces of 2-by-35¼-inch plywood on the worktable. Place the two pieces of 4¾-by-32-inch plywood between them, one at either end. Secure them with the corrugated fasteners.

  • Place one of the two 1-by-2-by-34½-inch pieces of lumber between the two panels to the top in the front and secure it in place with the 4d finish nails. Repeat this with the remaining 1-by-2 at the top back corner of the end panels.

  • Secure the face frame from step 1 to the front of the island kitchen cabinet with the 4d finish nails. Next, stand the island cabinet up so the 40-inch 2-by-4 back is upright.

  • Install the 38-by-12-inch bar top to the top of the 2-by-4 back through the lumber and into the top with the 2-inch drywall screws. Next, install the remaining ¼-inch plywood to the open end of the 2-by-4 assembly with the ¾-inch brads.

  • Install the 38-by-26-inch cabinet top to the island kitchen cabinet through the 1-by-2s that were installed in step 2. Install hinges onto the two 16½-by-26¾-by-¾-inch plywood doors according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean excess glue with a damp cloth. Fill nail holes with painter's caulk or wood putty.
  • Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children.

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