The Hat Island Bar Project

Design Goals

The purpose of the project is to design and build a bar at our Hat Island home to fit between the kitchen area and the dining area for social gathering. Included in the bar will be an integral liquor storage cabinet.

The appearance will be designed to blend the knotty pine used in the adjacent window trim and kitchen cabinets with the iroco hardwood used in the kitchen window trim, counter edge, and backsplash. The visual attributes will be a contrast of the soft rounded lines of the pine cabinet and the hard angular lines of the hardwood edges and post as the bar top extends out from the cabinet.

The primary structural attribute will be sturdiness and solid wood will be used as much as possible.


  • 2 x 4 x 8 studs; used about 6 to frame the cabinet and anchor the bar top, and to form the core of the post and the beam.
  • knotty pine paneling; reclaimed; obtained from Second Use (7953 Second Ave S, Seattle) at $0.80 per board foot; used about 15 board feet for the cabinet panels and trim.
  • Iroco hardwood; obtained from Crosscut Hardwoods (4100 First Ave S, Seattle) at $4.75 per board foot; used about 12 board feet for the bar top edge and post wrapping.
  • 1 sheet of MDF and 1 sheet of Birch plywood for bar top. Home Depot; about $50 for both.
  • Cherry cabinet door; reclaimed; obtained from Second Use for $3.00.
  • 2 cabinet hinges; 90 degree flush mount; Home Depot; $5 ea.
  • Cabinet door pull left over from kitchen cabinets.
  • 1 x 12 pine; used about 8 feet for the cabinet shelves; Home Depot.
  • Leftover cedar closet strips used for shelf sides.
  • 3 pair of 24 full extension heavy duty shelf rails; Home Depot; $18 per pair.
  • 3 outside mount door pulls; Home Depot; $1.50 ea.
  • Aluminum boat railing and chrome plated fittings for foot rails; Boaters World for about $60.
  • Fasteners: lag screws, 4 and 2 lengths w/ washers. 3 cabinet screws. 3/8 x 4 hanger bolt and 3/8 tee nut. 2 x 4 joist hanger. 15 ga. x 2 finish nails and 18 ga. x 1 brads. stainless steel screws for boat rail fittings.
  • Wood glue, epoxy, Watco Danish oil.

Total material cost: about $300.



  • 10 table saw
  • 10 miter saw
  • Circular saw
  • 6 Jointer
  • Router & router table with champher, round over, and straight bits
  • Compressor, 15 ga. and 18 ga. finish nailers
  • Belt sander and finish sander
  • Drill w/ various bits including spade bits for counter-sinking
  • Clamps, screwdrivers, socket set, tape measure, level



Day 1 Saturday, Nov. 1

Getting the material to Hat Island requires reserving space on the monthly barge run on the first Saturday of the month. While the pine and iroco were brought over previously, the remaining material was brought over today. Started on the cabinet frame and constructed the post from a 2x4 wrapped in the iroco hardwood glued, nailed, and clamped.

Day 2 Sunday, Nov. 2

Completed the cabinet frame and shelves.




Day 3 Saturday, Nov. 8

I decided to stay on the island (with Quinn & Riley) through the weekend and catch the Wednesday ferry. Dave Peters donated his time today, meeting me for the 9 am crossing and returned on the 4 pm ferry.

Dave picked out some good pieces of the knotty pine tongue and groove paneling and assembled the two cabinet side panels.

We mounted the post to the floor by first screwing the hanger bolt (lag end) through the Pergo flooring, the sub-floor, and into a 2x4 mounted between joists under the sub-floor. We drilled a hole into the bottom of the post to accommodate the bolt end of the hanger bolt and attached the tee nut. After filling the hole with epoxy, we screwed the post onto the hanger bolt. We then screwed two x 4 lag screws into the post from the bottom.


We then attached the MDF sheet to the cabinet and the post with glue and six lag screws to the cabinet frame and two lag screws to the post (all counter-sunk).


Day 4 Sunday, Nov. 9

I decided to add a beam between the cabinet and the post to beef things up in the center of the bar top. I attached a joist hanger to the cabinet frame and supported the 2x4 beam on the post side with a hardwood block. Cabinet screws were added from the top and the beam was wrapped with knotty pine.

The cabinet panels were then cut to fit and attached. The birch plywood was glued and clamped to the MDF and left overnight to dry.





Day 5 Monday, Nov. 10

Cut the 45 degree corners on the cabinet top with a circular saw, finished the cabinet trim, and mounted the cabinet door. Also cut the self-edge pieces from the iroco to a width a 2 .








Day 6 Tuesday, Nov. 11

Formed the self-edge on router table by champhering both top edges and adding a 1 x dado in the center for mounting to the MDF and plywood. Mounted the self-edge with glue & brads.

Also added base trim to the cabinet and post. Finished everything with Danish oil.

Day 7 Wednesday, Nov. 12

Attached the foot rails, did the final sanding and added a second coat of Danish oil, then spent the rest of the day cleaning up.

Final task for later: Add a hard finish to the bar top.