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How to Build a Rustic Dry Bar (page 1 of 3)

Add a bit of history to a household space by designing and building a useful DIY cabinet from reclaimed and rustic materials.

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Step 1: Size Up the Project

Reclaimed materials saved from the demolition of internal walls, such as those found in the dumpster at the Blog Cabin 2011 site, can be found in a number of neighborhood locations including old country barns, thrift stores and antiques shops. A popular spot to search for rustic building material is the local recycling center.

Bar size and location play into the design. These two factors are important when “scouting” and “dumpster diving” for materials. Visualize the dry bar's location based on convenience and function. Before building, ask these questions:

1. What will you store in the dry bar?
2. Where would you like to place the dry bar?
3. How will the legs be attached to stabilize the furnishing?
4. Would you like the dry bar to be rough and rustic, modern or a contemporary centerpiece in the room?

Step 2: Frame the Dry Bar

Cut legs to 40 1/2” lengths and place in the four corners of the bar area Screw the back legs (and/or side legs, depending on the design location), into the wall studs, using the level for a plumb fit.

Safety Tip: Be careful not to secure legs into the wall by drilling into electrical wiring or plumbing.

Once the legs are secure in the wall, use the level again to mark the legs with a pencil where the front and side bracing will be attached. These supports will hold the two shelves. The height of the shelves depends on the contents inside the bar. The braces connect the two side legs, fore and aft, as well as across the front and back legs.

Builder's Tip: Place the lower front brace behind the two front legs to create a built-in toe kick plate.

Step 3: Attach the Reclaimed Shelving

Measure the inside dimensions between the legs so when the reclaimed wood shelves are cut, they will sit atop the braces. The front part of the shelves should be flush with the front legs and back wall. Screw or finish nail the two shelves into place.

Builder's Tip: The tops of these shelves will be visible when the bar door is swung open; therefore, use old, rusty nails or finish nails.

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