Introduction: Table-top Mini-bar

In a few days i'll be going back for my final year at uni. So far its been great, but with the wisdom of 3 year behind me what could i do to improve the experience? a mini-bar of course!!!

For my mini-bar i was going to build upon the experience of making a bar for my girlfriend: , i also wanted to adapt the design to suit my needs, namely the need for wine.

This project cost about £20 for materials, plus a little more for paint (which we already had), it was very easy and was completed in around 2 days so a perfect weekend project.

Materials: MDF, screws, glue, 1m piano hinge, paint, wood filler, booze

Tools: saw (band saws are great!!), coping saw, screwdriver, drills (30mm hole saw, 22mm bit, standard sized bits), clamps, sandpaper, power sander

Step 1: Planning

This is easily the most critical part of the build and took a bit of time, firstly i decided on what i wanted to be able to store in the bar: Wine bottles (~8), spirit bottles, corkscrew, knife, wine stoppers, chopping board, wine glasses, cocktail glasses, shot glasses.

With this list of requirements the plan started to come together and dimensions set, the width for example was set to 607mm (internally), as this is the width of a "half-sheet" the depth was determined by the height of a wine bottle which should be able to lie horizontally within the bar. my need for a variety of glasses lead me to hang some and have the others below to maximise space. i also decided to add a shelf and a draw for the chopping board and misc. utensils.

For this project i bought a 2440*1220 sheet of 9mm MDF. With a rough plan laid out i made a cutting list for my sheet material, this was done in B&Q at the time of purchase:

Top: 340*607

Bottom: 340*607

Sides: 2* 460*340

Front: 2* 440*303

Back: 440*607

Internat vertical partitions: 2* 440*320

Internal horizontal partitions: 2* 607*320 (to be cut into correct lengths lather)

Additionally i ensured i had enough pieces of miscellaneous wood in the garage to make the wine rack.

Step 2: Build Wine-rack

To build the wine rack for 8 bottles i first cut 16 300mm strips of spruce, these were approximately 20mm squares. Next was sanding and making a 45 degree cut on the ends (purely for aesthetics).

4 of the strips needed to be attached to one of the side pieces (460*340), these were spaced at 110mm intervals. The first was attached with its bottom 9mm (1 sheet thickness) above the end of the material and 9mm from the back so that it would sit at the bottom (and back) of the box interior.

Similarly 4 must be attached to one of the interior pieces however this time the first should be placed on the bottom.

The remaining 8 need to be attached back to back onto another piece. for this i used two 50mm wide, 9mm thick pieces of spruce cut to 440mm; the internal height of the bar.

These parts will then be assembled into the bar later.

Step 3: Wine Glass Rack

Given the space restrictions inside i wanted my wine glass rack to be as narrow as possible whilst holding 2 glasses side by side. To do this i bought wine glasses first (white and red) and worked out what room was required to accommodate them. After doing this i was able to cut a piece of the 607*320 strip to size and by drilling a 10mm hole and cutting slots i made the rack. NB. on completion i found that the slots were a bit tighter than i would have liked due to the chamfer on the glasses so i would advise being generous with your slot width.

Step 4: Finishing Interior

With the wine rack and glass holder done the last part of the interior to complete is the chopping coard slot and draw slot. Allowing for the thicknesses of the internal partitions i worked out what width of strip to cut for these, in my case this was around 215mm.

At this stage i also decided to add cut-outs in the side pieces for handles. to do this I found a suitable location (between the wine rack) and drilled two 30mm holes spaced at 55mm and using a coping saw cut between the holes.

When all the interior pieces are cut, paint them. There is limited space inside this bar design when complete and in order to get a good finish it is best to paint these parts before putting them together.

Step 5: Build Draw

to build the draw cut the 5 pieces to the size needed. For my draw I used the width of my partition (215mm), and the draw was 40mm deep internally.

Step 6: Construction

To assemble the bar i used butt joints with glue and screws. As such i needed access for a screwdriver and drill when parts were put together thus some planning of assembly order was needed.

The order i decided on was:

Attach the top and bottom to the back

Build the central section (horizontal shelves, glass holder and vertical partitions). This was done by placing the lower shelf 340mm above the bottom, top shelf ~50mm below top giving around 30mm for the chopping board and the glass holder around 20mm below top.

Insert internal part

Add right hand side

Add wine rack central part

Add left hand side

Step 7: Fitting the Doors

To fit the doors i took my door pieces and slightly reduced their height to fit inside the gap and reduced their width by 2mm each to allow for the hinge; this will vary depending on the hinges used. I then fitted piano hinges (which i cut to length with a hacksaw) and sanded the edges of the doors until the closed together.

After this step the doors and exterior can be painted, for my doors i used blackboard paint for contrast and to add a second function.

Step 8: Enjoy

The best part, filling it (and then emptying it!!).

To fill i bought the bar essentials, vodka, gin, rum, cointreau, vermouth, ameretto ect... as well as some cider and wine. The wine rack accommodates 6 glasses and i also have 4 cocktail/ beer glasses 6 shot glasses and a cocktail shaker. The draw is reasonably spacious whilst narrow and fits a corkscrew wine stopper knife and other accessories needed in any good bar.

Due to the depth it was a bit dark so i added a bottle lamp; made by drilling a 10mm hole into a bombay sapphire bottle and feeding in a string of battery powered fairy lights.

For the chopping board (not pictured) i laminated some different woods together before planing and finishing; instructable to come...

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