If you’re looking to add something of a rustic and eclectic feel to your backyard or outdoor sitting area, then an outdoor wooden bar might just be the missing piece of the puzzle.
Wood is not only easier on the eye than more common materials such as concrete and brick, it also helps to contribute to a homely atmosphere in which friends and family will feel completely at ease.
What You Will Need:
- 6 8′ long 2x4s (for the frame)
- 1 12×8 sheet of ¾” plywood (or other suitable material)
- 27 36″ long pieces of 1 ½ x 3/8 flat steel strap
- 57 #10-3 flat washers
- 57 #10-3 hex nuts
- 1 box of 3 ½ inch screws
- 2 boxes of 10d galvanized nails or 50 exterior wood screws
- A drill with a Phillips bit
- Driver bits for the screws and hex nuts
- Saw that can cut angles etc.,
- Electric jigsaw etc.
How to Build An Outdoor Wooden Bar (Step by Step)
Here’s the 5-step process to build an outdoor wooden bar:
Step 1 – Making the Angle Cuts
The first step is to make all of your angle cuts so you have two identical sets of legs. For the most part, my cuts were at 23 degrees (other than the bottom one which was 27 degrees).
To make this easier, you can use a miter saw to cut all of your pieces to length at once, and then you line them up on a level surface.
You can clamp each set together so that they don’t move around while you draw the lines (and to keep me from drawing crooked lines).
Using an angle finder tool (an old skool device with two nails sticking out perpendicular to each other) you can draw angled lines along one side of each board.
Note: You’ll notice that some boards are flipped when compared to others, this is because when you rotate your angle finder the nails are no longer pointing out perpendicular to each other.
This makes it easy to draw your lines at different angles on each board, just don’t rotate it too much or you will have some odd angles.
Step 2 – Cutting the Angles
Once you have your cuts made, you can cut off the bottom three inches of each leg to create a smooth angle for the floor. What this means is that when you look at your legs from below, there should be a 45-degree angle between them and the bottom.
To accomplish this you can simply put two right-angle clamps on one side of the line where you want to make your cut.
Use another clamp as a hold-down so that the board doesn’t slip while being cut with the electric jigsaw. You will find it’s important to support the piece you are cutting well both above and below, this will ensure a nice smooth cut that doesn’t bind up on the blade.
Note: For your first cuts it’s helpful to clamp down each side of the board individually so you can easily reposition if necessary for an easy cut.
After your first few then you should be able to get by by using one clamp at the end of the board hooked to another one that holds down the opposite edge of the workpiece.
Step 3 – Assembling Your Bar
Once all cuts have been made it’s time to put them together. Start by laying down two pieces parallel with one another about 20″ apart (you’ll see why later).
Using your drill, screw in one #10-3 washer and one hex nut to each leg.
Then put on another hex nut, but do not tighten it down all the way. We will tighten this when we insert the screws in step four.
Note: One of the most important things is to make sure that all legs are attached at exactly 90 degrees from each other (use a square or speed square).
You can take some measurements using your tape measure before tightening down these last two nuts so that your legs are equal distances apart. If they aren’t, go ahead and loosen/tighten them until they are exactly the same.
Once you have your two leg sets attached at opposite ends, stand them up and go ahead and screw in the third hex nut to each one (but don’t tighten it down yet).
Once you have all four legs attached, check to see if they are even with each other by measuring from one end to the other.
Step 4 – Finishing Up
With your bar standing on end we need to attach the second sheet of plywood for our top surface.
This is done simply by laying out one sheet as shown above and then attaching it using three screws at each corner.
The bottom sheet of plywood is attached to the legs using three screws on each side. Make sure that your screws are set deep enough so they grab all of the legs, don’t want any accidents when you’re enjoying your new outdoor bar.
Note: Be careful when screwing in these last few screws. This is because it’s very easy to accidentally pull the legs in towards each other and end up with an uneven surface (which will cause you problems when attaching the top).
If this does happen don’t worry, simply slide one hex nut off each leg. Tighten/loosen them until your workbench (or whatever you assembled it on) is level. After doing this it should be even once again.
After everything has been screwed together go ahead and attach your top sheet of plywood. This is done simply by laying it down and screwing through the top surface into your two parallel legs.
To make sure that everything is level, raise up one side about an inch or so then go to each corner and tighten down all three screws until you get a nice even surface for your bar top.
Don’t be afraid to go ahead and give this baby a test run now. I know it’s not your finished product but especially if you plan on having some heavy things up there (kegs, coolers, etc).
Make sure that your screws are secure enough not to come loose when you pick stuff up off of your new workbench/countertop.
Step 5 – Putting it All Together
Now comes time to put all of this together. Start by laying out your six boards on the ground in a 3 x 2 arrangement, making sure that there are two empty spaces in between each board.
After you have laid them down, connect them at their corners using one screw per corner.
After your framing is complete go ahead and pick it up and set it up against whatever wall you want to use for your outdoor bar (mine is along the side of my house).
The only thing left now is to attach some supports across the top using three more #10-3 washers and hex nuts per leg.
You will need to use a large wrench or vise grips to tighten down the hex nuts. Finally, all that is left is to attach your bar top surface and you’re done.
Here are some tips that will help you create your own outdoor bar:
You need to decide what type of wood should be used to make the outdoor bar – pressure-treated pine is unsatisfactory.
This is because it does not last long; cedar provides protection against insects but its high cost makes it infeasible; teak gives maximum protection against elements like water, sun, etc.
Oak is another great choice if the budget permits. Apart from these options, there are other wood types that are used for making outdoor furniture.
Decide the length of your outdoor bar
How long should it be? The size of your backyard or patio will help you decide on the length of the outdoor bar.
If you have a huge area available, opt for a big bar otherwise go for smaller ones depending upon space availability.
It is important to make sure that the structure is strong enough to bear the weight of people sitting on stools etc.
You can take extra measures like placing bricks or stones under each leg if necessary.
Use sturdy lumber i.e 2x4s to construct the frame and remember not to leave any gaps between them because they could cause instability issues – if necessary, use nails to close the gaps.
Shelving and space to keep drinks and other stuff
If you want a built-in shelf at the back of your outdoor bar, remember that it shouldn’t be placed too high or too low.
If needed, use bricks or stones to create a ledge where you can keep bottles, etc. Ensure that there is enough space for keeping ice buckets filled with different beverages.
Lighting options should be kept in mind while creating an outdoor bar
Ensure that proper lighting is available for making cocktails and other beverages; if required add spots on the walls etc.
Make sure that they don’t produce too much heat; generally halogen lights are used but things like LED rope lights will also do a good job and come at a lower price.
Outdoor bars are great for hosting small get-togethers with family and friends, therefore make sure that you make the most of this space i.e whether you want to install a deck or simply place some chairs around it, etc.
Remember the tips mentioned above when creating your own outdoor bar.
Another beneficial thing is to check out online guides related to DIY projects – they will guide you through each step in an easy manner.