My sister and her boyfriend are new home owners and had a list of projects to complete before they were ready to move in. They asked me to come up with a multipurpose use for a cabinet bar that was not up to specs. They needed a pet feeding station that could be hidden when needed. Along with storage for pet food and place to eat and hang out in the kitchen so with a limited budget and a joy for making things for the people I love I set to it.
The first goal was to use as much of the old bar as possible for a frame but after measuring it was found like many other things in the house to be less than square, so much less that I decided to start from scratch.
I wish I would have taken a picture of the existing bar before it was stripped down but I wasn’t thinking about making another Instructable at the time…
Step 1: Frame
After the old bar was mostly removed except for the sides and top I used 2x2s and 2x4s to build a new frame. I attached plywood to the frame backside and bottom and started to cut and attach the plywood to the walls to make my structure for the drawers and compartments.
We found a trash can that would fit nicely and was ready to start designing the drawers and set up for a sliding trash can. Menards had a kit but based on the size and space we had to work with it was cheaper to make DIY.
I used 80lb drawer slides for the trash can and took a piece of plywood and traced the bottom of the can so that it would hold the can in place. I cut the hole just slightly larger so the can would fit tightly a few inches up from the bottom.
Step 2: Dog Drawer
The 2 dogs currently each have their own dish of food and share a water bowl, so the drawer would have to hold 3 bowls. The dogs are pit-bulls and this drawer would have to be able to hold some weight if they both were to get rowdy and test my craftsmanship…
I found a drawer slide that was rated for 115 pounds and that was the biggest one I could find without ordering one online. I built a drawer out of pine and used ply wood as the holder for the food and water bowls.
I wanted the drawer to be easily cleanable if spills happened so the plywood that holds the dishes is loose fitting and can be removed to clean the space below. I made the drawer about 9 inches deep which allowed there to be 3 inch space above the top of the bowls. This was so that messes from the dogs eating wouldn’t go on the floor or fall off the backside and would be contained in the drawer. I cut the holes for the bowls so that they would rest on the bowls flat lip and would sit flush. Jig saw did a good enough job because the holes wouldn’t be seen and are covered up .
Woodworking has taught me the importance of measuring accurately the hard way, and on multiple occasions. The drawer was originally about a 1/16 of an inch too wide and with the slides on it was too tight to fit the gap…so I had to make cuts and basically rebuild the thing. Got it to fit and slide nicely and with the drawer in place I could start to see the vision coming to life.
Step 3: Junk Drawer, Cabinet and Table Top Base
The design of the bar was pretty fluid, the objective was to provide a space to feed the dogs and store the food, and to keep the trash can hidden from the dogs…
But there was still some room to spare in the space I had to work with. I wouldn’t want to store anything kitchen related in the space above the trash can so a “junk drawer” seemed to be a good idea.
I constructed another drawer using pine to fit the space I had using plywood for the bottom and this time used light weight maybe 30 pound drawer slides. For the space over the dog feeder I put a 2x2 up in the center that would provide a board for cabinet doors to rest on. Leaving it open for maximum space. The frame was done and I was ready to work on the top, which I was most excited about.
I was given 3 beefy steel bars that were left over from a printing press job that my father had worked on. (No Pic..) They measured 3/4' x1 1/2" x 30" . They were quite handy for supporting the overhang on the seating side of the bar. They had holes every 2” so I attached them to the frame I had created and was able to put all my weight on them without any sign of fatigue.
The steel bars I routered to fit the frame so that they were flush with the existing wood, so when the base layer for the table top was laid it was a flat surface. I used particle board as base layer for the table top to sit on. I instantly regretted that move because particle board has no strength…and purchased a sheet of OSB and ended up making a two layer base which I was happier with.
Step 4: Oak Table Top
Plywood is expensive but everyone and their mom has a backyard saw mill around here so the oak was actually dirt cheap. $ 25 bucks for some rough cut and I had about 2 times the amount of oak I needed. The boards were 8-10” wide by 8ft-10ft long. I don’t have a planer so I brought my wood over to a friend’s house and offered to share a 6 pack. Ended up with final plane thickness of 1 1/8” with some natural flaws still showing. I tend to like the rustic look and with the cabinet side being white and more modern clean cut I embraced the worm holes and the knots.
Because the oak boards that I had were in different lengths and widths I decided to rip the boards to various widths from 1 ¾ to 4” and cut them to different length to make a staggered pattern. I spent some time messing with the layout trying to alternate the grain so that if the boards where to cup they would be working against each other and then numbered every board when I had my final pattern.
I knew that I would be doing most of the finishing work off site and considered building the oak table top in the shop but I was concerned if I did that It might not fit! So I left the particle board base layer un attached and glued the oak to its self and the particle board. Once it dried if all went well I could still lift the whole thing up and sand it, stain it, and finish it away from their kitchen.
I grabbed every pipe clamp I could find, a fresh bottle of wood glue and when I got the layout set up the right way it was go time! I tightened the clamps and put as much weight as I could find on the job site to keep my boards down and crossed my fingers that all would work well and went home for the night.
Step 5: Ta Da!
I went to work the next day and returned to the table after just shy of 24 hours to see how I did. Removed the clamps and was very pleased to find that the oak and particle board had become one. I was able to lift the table top out leaving just OSB layer. Loaded it in the van and took it back to the shop to sand away and make it pretty.
Using the belt sander starting at 60 grit and working up to 100 grit the major glue mark and any unevenness was sanded away. Then the same with the orbital sander from 100 to 180 to make it smooth smooth.
This project was at the end of last winter so it was too cold out to stain in the non-heated shop so the table top was moved again this time to my basement. I let it sit for day then proceeded to stain. We looked a few options over for what color we wanted and they settled on Minwax Red Chestnut for the stain and Satin Helmsman Spar Urethane for the clear coat. 2 coats of stain and 3 coats of clear. Open those windows....
Step 6: Break Time
I was at a point where I had to take a break. The whole house was being worked on in different areas and I didn’t want to install the tabletop just to have it ruined from one of the 25 other construction projects going on. But I also didn’t want it to warp and settle the wrong way over time. So I decided to install it but cover it in cardboard to protect it.
The top fit just as nice as it did when it was first laid out. I spread out a bunch of glue and from below pre drilled holes to attach the table top/particle board to the bottom base OSB layer. Making sure to hit the center of boards and not on seams where they came together. Using screws of the right length I attached the top to the base and covered it up and with cardboard and walked away for next 2 months.
Prior to this I had my sister prime everything that I had built thus far.
Step 7: Finishing Up
For the cabinet faces I took plywood and basically cut rectangles to fit the openings I had created. So basically as simple as you can do it..2 doors, 2 drawers and a door/drawer for the trash can.
To reinforce the trashcan drawer I used 2 right angle shelf brackets and using short wood screws I attached all of the faces after my sister primed and painted them with cabinet paint. A few imperfections were first filled with putty.
They picked out the pulls and hinges, I carefully positioned them and made sure to go slow and not mess this important step up. With the remaining oak I needed to build a side rail/trim piece to go around the table top to hide the base layers and tie the whole thing together. The dinning room is still in the works and in need of trim but you get the idea.
Step 8: Before and After!
When going through pictures we did find a shot of the bar as it was when they moved in. I think it had some charm but the new bar fits their design style a little bit more. They have been living in the new house for about 4 months now and so far nothing has failed. I was worried that the dogs might test that drawer but so far no issues…
I understand I left out some information and didn't take the best pictures but it’s hard to remember every detail from months ago! If you have questions just ask and thanks for checking it out!
john.michaud.5437 made it!