Yukon Bar Cabinet




Introduction: Yukon Bar Cabinet

About: Everything I make is done with love and imperfection.

What is a Yukon log house without a Yukon bar cabinet?

I've wanted to make a liquor cabinet for quite some time and I had some plywood left over from another project, so I decided to give it a go.

Step 1: Plans

This Bourne Bar Cabinet from The Design Confidential was the inspiration for what I came up with - although I didn't follow any of their specifications :)

My original idea was to have upright pieces that sectioned off the three areas (wine rack, bottle storage, and shelves). However, once I cut the pieces and started playing with the layout to see how it would look I decided that I wanted it to be more open. You'll see that I have to make some changes to my plans throughout the instructable, although I tried to write up only the final version.

Step 2: Tools and Materials


  • Table saw
  • Jig saw
  • Hand saw
  • Hatchet
  • Sander
  • Pipe clamps and a corner clamp

General Materials:

  • 1 1/4" wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Stain and varnish (I used onyx wood stain and a clear, matt varnish)

Plywood cuts:

I started out by assessing the materials that I had available, as I didn't want to buy anything more. My leftover plywood was 5/8".

Originally I had wanted the cabinet to be 12" deep, but I had a 8 foot piece of plywood that was 11" so that became the depth. I did make some changes to the design as I went, but in the end, I used:

  • 2 of (11x48) plywood for the top and bottom
  • 1 of (24x48) plywood for the back
  • 3 of (11x22 3/4) plywood for the sides and wine rack shelf upright.
  • 3 of (11x10) plywood for the wine rack shelves
  • 3 of (11x1 1/2) plywood for the edges of the wine rack shelves
  • 1 of (11x20) plywood for the shelf top
  • 1 of (11x14) plywood for the shelf side

I also found and cut 12" legs for the cabinet.

Step 3: Wine Rack and Design Choices

I started out with the wine rack, because I wasn't 100% that it was going to work out, and if it didn't I would have to rethink my original idea.

As seen in photo 1 and 2, I cut out three "cut-outs" evenly spaced on the upright, and one in the middle of the shelves with a jigsaw. These were 5/8" by 5 1/2".

Once I fit the pieces together, I just placed them onto my backing to see how it would look. I used a bottle of wine to help me out here (photo 3). The original shelves were 12" wide, and I cut them down to 10" because the extra width was unnecessary. This is when I decided to make the bar design more open (photo 4) by removing uprights.

In order to keep the wine on the shelves without it being fully enclosed, I had to add an edge which I glued and screwed on (photo 5).

Step 4: Sanding

With the final design decided upon, I gave all of my pieces a good first sanding.

Step 5: Assembly of Cabinet and Shelf

The next step was to put the cabinet together.

NOTE: I pre-drilled all of my screw holes. I've had enough experience with plywood splitting to know that this is a good/necessary idea.

I glued and clamped the frame together (photo 1). Once the glue was almost set, I put in a few screws to hold it in place. I then glued and clamped the frame to the back of the cabinet (photo 2) so that everything would dry in alignment. I put a few screws in right away to hold it down, and then waited for it all to dry. Once dry, I put screws in about every 12".

I then put in the little shelf with glue and screws. I had a corner clamp which was great for ensuring that my little shelf was square (photo 3).

Once everything was in place and dry, I gave the whole thing another sanding.

Step 6: Stain and Varnish

I stained the cabinet and shelf separate from the wine rack because the wine rack shelves would be too small to fit the brush into.

I decided to stain just the outsides and insides of my cabinet black and leave the backing and edge wood colour. Just my style preference. I put an extra coat of stain on the top of the cabinet, it give it a bit of a sheen.

I was able to sand away any imperfections in my initial staining.

I used 2 coats of varnish all over, and an extra 2 on the top of the cabinet to make it a bit smoother.

Step 7: Legs

The thing that I liked best about the Borne Bar Cabinet was its long legs.

I wanted to emulate this... Yukon-style. I have some experience with making legs out of trees from my dining room table. Some lessons that I learned from that process were:

  • Don't worry too much about getting the cuts exactly parallel to the midline of your tree leg. The legs will always be a bit off, and in the end you don't notice it. Imperfection is part of the appeal.
  • Don't worry about leveling until you've got it all screwed into place. Most of this job can be done with the felt pads that you apply the the bottom of the legs.

I found a dead-fall spruce tree in a forest not far from my place. It was a good diameter, and pretty straight.

After de-limbing, I brought it home and cut it into equal 12" pieces using a handsaw (photo 1).

I then used a hatchet to narrow the legs to a narrower end (photo 2). I wanted to leave some of the bark on, and just rough cut without smoothing or sanding.

Because these legs were much shorter than my dining room table and wouldn't be put under as much strain, I decided that I didn't need to manufacture a metal fitting for them. I screwed the legs to the bottom of the cabinet using 3 wood screws (photos 3 and 4).

Once I had the cabinet standing on all 4 legs (photo 5) I assessed its strength and whether or not it was level.

I added a bracket to each leg just to be sure of their stability - I tried to hide them as best I could (front brackets at the back and back brackets on the inside).

I leveled the cabinet using felt pads on the bottom of the legs.

Step 8: Assembly of Wine Rack

I had to wait to put in the wine rack until the legs were all screwed in.

I fit the pieces into place, and tried to make sure that everything was square before pre-drilling holes and screwing it into place (photo 1).

Step 9: Final Touches

My roommate and I had a deal: I would build the cabinet, and she would fill it! I'm still waiting for the bottles of wine, but the cabinet is ready!

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    Turned out very nice. I like the legs. I hope your roommate keeps her promise!