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How to Build a Plywood Bar Top

If you just finished framing your bar, you might be wondering how to build a plywood bar top. We’ve got you covered with detailed instructions on to make a DIY bar top for your bar frame.

These plywood bar top plans make it easy for a beginner to build their own bar. In this tutorial we will guide you throughout the entire process of building a plywood bar top with a sub top and primary top.

Tips to Building a Plywood Bar Top

There are many variables that could impact the measurements of your DIY bar top. So, make sure to carefully measure your lumber and cut as you go to ensure accuracy.

plywood bar top

Before making any cuts for the wood bar top, ensure the Chicago Bar Rail of your choosing will fit these specs. These cuts are specific to the Chicago Bar Rail that was used for our bar top.

If you are using a different size Chicago Bar Rail, these are still helpful instructions to use as a foundation to guide your through your own project. Make sure to adjust the cuts as needed to best fit the bar rail that you are working with.

Plywood Bar Top (Sub Top)

The first step to building a DIY bar top is to measure and cut the plywood for the sub bar top. The sub bar top is the first layer of the bar top that will not be seen because it will be covered by another 3/4 inch piece of plywood.

diy bar top

The left side of the sub bar top is cut to the measurements above. It will overlap on the front sides of the bar about 8.5 inches and roughly 3 inches on the back side.

The bar top is adhered directly into the top of the frame with wood screws and wood glue. We used screws every 6 inches in a staggered or zig-zag pattern to ensure strength and contact with wood glue.

This piece will be covered by another piece of plywood so there’s no need to conceal screws but they should be flush with the top, so no screw heads are sticking up.

Much like the first piece, the second piece will have an overhang of 8.5 inches in the front and about 3 inches in the back. It is also attached to the bar frame with wood glue and wood screws directly into the top of the frame.

making a bar top with plywood

Primary Plywood Bar Top

These cuts for primary bar top layer are not the same as the bottom layer of plywood. If you are using the same the Chicago bar rail as we mentioned previously, it will be 1.5 inches shorter in all places that the bar rail touches. The seams of the plywood are also offset for added strength.

primary bar top

The DIY bar top is ¾ inch plywood of your choosing but note that this piece will be visible, so you should go with a better quality piece of wood.

Assuming the bar rail referenced above, at 18” x 62.5” it should be 1.5 inches shorter on the front sides. The back sides should be flush to each other.

This layer was attached with wood glue and wood screws, screwing in from the bottom up into this layer. This way the screws are concealed.

how to build a plywood bar top

Make sure the screws do not protrude out of the top layer. I held a screw up to both layers, making sure the screw wasn’t too long before attaching.

This piece is also 1.5 inches shorter on the two front facing sides. The sides that face the back are flush to the bottom piece.

2 layer bar top

It is adhered with wood glue, and wood screws, going in from the bottom up.

Note: If there is a slight gap or seam where the two top pieces meet, fill it with wood putty. Then sand this area with find sandpaper to smooth it out.

diy bar

Finalizing the Plywood Bar Top

Trim was used on the back of the plywood bar top, and to conceal any remaining screws heads. As an alternative, you can countersink screws and nails, then fill the holes with putty.

We also, frame the outside of the plywood bar top with Chicago bar rail. After finishing the bar rail we sanded and stained the entire bar, followed by pouring two part epoxy to plywood bar top.