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Blog Cabin

How to Build a Rustic Dry Bar (page 2 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 4: Cut, Wrap and Install the Bar Top

Measure the dimensions for the bar top, allowing for a 2” overhang in the front. Cut two pieces of 3/4” plywood to fit the top. Screw both pieces of the 3/4” plywood together to create a 1 1/2” thick bar top.

Choose a section of reclaimed metal roofing that looks worn and well-aged to add character to the bar top. Lay the metal under the plywood. Carefully cut the metal 1” wider on three sides and 2 1/2” wider in the front than the plywood. To reduce deadly metal “fish hooks” on edges, half cut rather than full-squeeze cut the reclaimed metal with tin snips.

Lay the metal sheet on top of the plywood surface and hammer the metal sheet flat. Using wood clamps and a 2x4 (or level), temporarily secure the metal in place on the edge and bend over sides carefully with light hammer taps. Cut the metal at the corners to allow for a complete, flat wrap. The front metal wrap will fold over the side and attach underneath, out of sight. Nail the sides and front metal wrap in place.

Lay the metal-wrapped top on the bar legs. Use old nails or screws to attach the top in place.

Step 5: Designing and Attaching the Old Door

Clean off and dust an old garden gate or barn door. Gather old rusty hinges, old gate latches and rusted screws.

The door may need to be cut to size and reinforced on the back side to accommodate the hinges. The hinges will be recessed into the door. Trace the hinge outline onto the door face. Drill corner holes and cut out recessed hinge slots. Screw the hinges into the door with rusty screws. Now attach the door by screwing the door hinges into the front legs.

Builder's Tip: If the bar is freestanding, the hinges may be screwed to the outside of the legs. If the bar is built in a small nook, the hinges are installed on the inside of the legs. When attaching the door, rest it on floor shims to gain swing clearance when the door is opened.

Step 6: Trimming Out the Backsplash, Side Trim and Rustic Latch

Take a step back and assess what is needed to finish the project. The small gaps between the bar top and walls are covered with a back splash, approximately 4”-6” in height. A side face trim adjacent to the front door covers the legs and “extends” the door appearance to the outside edge of the bar. A door latch and magnetic closures finish off the job.

If the bar is set against a wall, measure the width of the backsplash from side to side and cut a piece of reclaimed wood to fit. Rip the backsplash wood 4” - 6” for height and nail it into place using old nails (be certain to hit the wall studs). If the sides of the bar are against a wall, measure for the side splash, bringing the side splash flush with the front of the top.

The Blog Cabin 2011 dry bar is located in a small nook so the door hinges are installed on the inside of the legs. A space exists on both sides of the door. Measure the width of these two side spaces. Rip a piece of old door wood and nail in place. The old barn door or gate wood needs to run from outside edge to outside edge. An old gate latch or knob will finish out the front and a magnetic closure will keep the door closed.

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