In this Instructable I'll demonstrate how to build an outdoor bar/table with a reclaimed pallet wood top. This project is relatively simple and can be completed in just a few days (with dry times for the stain and varnish). I specifically made this bar to sit next to a hot tub so it is 6 feet long, 18 inches deep, and about 30.5 inches high. (The hot tub is 76" long on one side and 31.5" high).
Five 2x4x8's (green treated outdoor lumber)
Two 1/2x1x8's (green treated outdoor lumber strips)
Metal Brackets for 2x4's (L brackets would also work)
Wire (I used rebar wire)
Mountable Beer Bottle Opener
Saw (I used a miter saw)
Step 1: Building the Frame
The tabletop is 6 feet by 18 inches with 45 degree angle miter cuts making up the bar's corners. I cut the legs to 30 inches and attached them to the sides using wood screws, glue and metal brackets, making sure to place them about a half an inch from the top (so the pallet wood boards will rest inside the tabletop) . After the sides are secure its time to attach them to the front and back of the table top once again using the metal brackets (after drilling the holes in the appropriate spots of the front and back) and the lower back board (simply drill through the back and into the leg). I didn't take a picture of the additional leg being secured in the middle of the back boards but it is pretty simple (just glue and screw it after finding the center of the table). Be sure to cut this leg a little shorter to compensate for the strip which will rest on top of it.
Once the table is up and stable I cut the strips of wood to the inside of the length of the table and glued/nailed them in place. These strips will be what the pallet wood boards rest on.
Step 2: Cutting the Pallet Wood
I cut the pallet wood boards with a miter saw to 15 inches which fit perfectly into the tabletop. This length allowed many of the pallet wood board's nails to remain in the wood which added to the rustic look. It took 15 boards of alternating widths to fill in the table (you may have to alter your last board so they all fit snuggly). I decided not to secure them to the bar so they could easily be removed in the winter (even with the spar urethane I don't quite trust the pallet boards in the Wisconsin winters).
Step 3: Staining and Spar Urethane
I used a stain called Cabot's on the frame of the bar because I've had good results with it in the past (it holds up pretty well against rain and sunlight). I applied two coats to the bar and rubbed any excess off with a rag. For the top I wanted to retain the rustic look of the pallet wood while still making it relatively weather proof so I used a spar urethane from Minwax. After sanding lightly sanding the boards, I applied 3 coats of the urethane, sanding lightly in between. I also added a bottle opener to a corner of the bar.
Step 4: The Finished Product
To catch the caps (hopefully many) that fall from the bottle opener, I decided to use a Mason jar. I felt like this complimented the rustic look of the bar and it was easy to boot. I took basic re-bar wire and wrapped it around the grooves of the Mason jar. Then created a loop at the top which was then hung around the bottle opener. I then worked a little all purpose grease into the wire to keep it from rusting.
With everything dry, the bar was ready for its new home and place next to a hot tub! I think it turned out very well and the addition of the bottle opener/jar was a fun touch (I think I will put an electric tea light in it for nighttime use).
Hope you enjoyed the Instructable and feel free to cast a vote for me in the Outdoor Structures Contest!