Bar Building Blog

Customer Project Spotlight: Bridget H.

hardwoods nov1

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we love seeing the creative and beautiful ways our customers use our products.

Recently, we received completed project pictures from first-time builder Bridget H. in Concord, North Carolina.

She wanted a home bar that was fit for home concerts to share her love of music with her friends, as well as a relaxing evening enjoying a glass of wine. The bar also had to fit the space chosen for it, an 8 ½-foot-long space in her basement.

“I looked at hundreds of photos on Google, Hardwoods Incorporated, and Pinterest. Hundreds. But there was one picture that kept catching my attention and one color that I had in mind,” Bridget said.

When looking at her options, she wanted to find something that had a beautiful grain and that would age well. Bridget almost selected maple, but then moved in the direction of cherry for its rich tones and long-lasting wear.

Bridget hand-designed her entire bar, drawing inspiration from pictures and plans found online. 


She had some specific things that her bar needed to have, including:

  • One end for liquor and storage
  • Space for an ice chest, kegerator, wine cooler, and mini fridge
  • The capability for the kegerator to roll in and out of its space in the bar for easy cleaning

What she ended up designing was this 8  ½’ x 4’ beauty built to commercial height.

Initially, Bridget wanted a traditional boxed look for her bar, but was inspired by the radius curve that accented the BR-550 Chicago bar rail she chose. Based on early reviews from guests, that was a great choice, as she’s heard comments on how beautiful the bar’s curves are.

Even though the 8 ½’ length of the bar meant that she needed two separate bar top pieces that had to be biscuit-jointed together, she made use of nearly every extra scrap of wood from her project. All the shelving inside one end of the bar was made and trimmed with pieces leftover from the main bar build.


Would Bridget recommend this project to others considering building their own bars? Yes!

“Know your design. Draw it out and know what your want the bar to be,” she said. “You won’t regret it as long as you think through it and work on it consistently, but not too fast.”

Some of the things Bridget learned when building her bar include:

  • Use wood screws for framing
  • Use four levels of grit when sanding your pieces
  • Use an orbital sander connected to a shop vacuum for minimal dust
  • Buy clamps to hold pieces together tightly while glue dries
  • Buy tack cloths to remove any dust left on the wood pieces
  • Take your time when staining and finishing your bar
  • Have a buddy! “Have a buddy that can help when moving the framing or other tasks. I think a second person is invaluable,” she said.

“I read so many articles on bars and saw Pinterest photos that always said, ‘man cave.’ Well, women can build bars, too!” Bridget said. “Seriously, there is no limit to what someone can do.

“The quality of the materials and great customer service provided by Hardwoods Incorporated were phenomenal, and this bar was built by two women.”

Great job, Bridget!

Quality Hardwood Bar Parts

If you’re thinking of building your own bar, take a lesson from Bridget and just go for it! At Hardwoods Incorporated, we’ve got all the high-quality materials you need to get a gorgeous bar that will last for years. And if you need help during the building process, our Bar-Building Resources page has tons of guides and videos to help you out.

Still stuck? Email us at, or call us at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

Bar Top Materials: Exploring Your Options

bar top kits

One of the more important decisions you need to make when planning to build your own bar is what type of material to use for the bar top.

While wood is a traditional choice – and our personal favorite – there are a variety of materials you can opt to use for your bar top and get a gorgeous, personalized bar.

Here are some of the most common materials used for bar tops:


Laminate is a choice for many builders for its inexpensive prices and easy upkeep. This material comes in a wide array of colors and patterns, allowing you to choose something that suits your unique design style without having to custom-create a finish.

It’s also easy to clean, and liquid spills wipe up easily.

However, laminate does scratch easily, so you’ve always got to take care that you’re using cutting boards when using knives, placing padding under heavy or sharp objects, and also keeping trivets on hand for hot food and drink items.

Also, if you do get a scratch or ding, or you leave liquids sitting near a seam for too long, laminate can warp and buckle, exposing the underlayer.


If you’ve got the budget for this high-end option, granite is a great choice.

It’s natural and durable, and comes in a variety of colors so you are almost certain to find something you’ll love.

The big downside on this material is the overall cost of ownership. 

Not only is granite more expensive on the outset, but it must be professionally installed and requires periodic re-sealing to maintain overall quality and good condition.


This is our favorite bar top material, for obvious reasons, and its long-standing status as top of the charts is a testament to how versatile, affordable, and long-lasting wood can be when treated correctly.

Wood comes in a variety of species and colors, and can be further stained to create the look you want. If you properly seal and care for the wood, it should stay in good condition for a long time, but be sure to quickly clean up spills and be careful when using sharp or heavy tools to avoid too much damage.

Solid Surface

Solid surface bar tops, such as Corian, are a popular choice for their affordability, ease of care, and range of color and pattern options.

This option is mid-range in terms of price, falling somewhere between laminate and granite.


While epoxy isn’t technically a bar top material type – it must be poured over a base such as wood – it qualifies for this list because it provides a different finish than the other options.

Epoxy comes in a variety of colors and styles, and you can even have your epoxy bar top mixed to a custom color. This option is fairly easy to install for a DIYer, but takes much less time and may present fewer hiccups if professionally installed.

It’s very easy to clean and care for, as there are no seams or grooves for dirt and liquids to get stuck in. Epoxy also can withstand more use and abuse than some other finish options, making it longer-lasting and less expensive to care for long-term.

Stainless Steel

If you’re going for an industrial, sleek feel with your custom bar project, you may be considering a stainless steel bar top.

This hardworking option is seen most commonly in commercial kitchens, so you know it’s easy to clean and maintain. However, it also can easily show scratches and fingerprints, so it may not be the best option if you’re really concerned about overall appearances.

Additionally, stainless steel can be expensive and needs to be professionally installed, driving up the overall cost of this bar top material.

These aren’t your only bar top material options by any stretch of the imagination. Find something you like that fits into your design, and get creative with it!

Beautiful Bar Tops & More

At Hardwoods Incorporated, it’s our mission to help you build the bar of your dreams. Whether you’re opting for a traditional wooden bar top or something a little more modern, we’ve got the parts you need to craft a gorgeous bar.
Need help building your bar? Our Bar-Building Resources page has videos and guides to help you every step of the way. And if you still have questions, email us at, or call us at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

Mitered vs. Radius Corners: What’s the Difference?

bar rail radius corners

When you begin to work on your custom home bar, there are a variety of decisions you must make.

How big will your bar be? What wood species will you use? Will it be a single length or make a turn?

Among those initial decisions is how you choose to finish your bar’s corners and ends. Some bar builders prefer to finish their bars with mitered corners, while others opt for a rounded radius corner.

Learn more about each type of corner finish, as well as some of the pros and cons to each choice:

Mitered Corners

Mitered corners are the sharp, precise corners you see on baseboards and trim work. 

They give your bar a crisp, professional appearance and work well in rooms that have clean lines and bar arrangements that are angular.

To create mitered corners for your bar, you will need to carefully measure, angle, and cut individual pieces of bar railing and trim to create the right look. When done correctly, mitered corners are beautiful examples of craftsmanship and make your bar look professionally made.

However, they can be difficult for newer carpenters to execute properly, leaving the potential for a less than perfect finished product.

Pros of Mitered Corners

  • Great finished presentation
  • No additional parts to buy
  • Looks very professional when done well
  • Great for bars that want an angled look

Cons of Mitered Corners

  • Can be difficult for new carpenters
  • Lots of careful measuring and cutting
  • Can look sloppy if not done well
  • Not always comfortable for guests

Radius Corners

Radius corners are extra rounded pieces that go on the corners of your bar.

These provide a nice, curved profile to your bar and makes the corners safer and more comfortable for guests.

They can be found in a variety of wood species and styles, so you’re sure to find something to match your bar. Radius corners are installed on your bar top, next to any bar rails or trim you might have.

Pros of Radius Corners

  • Easier to install
  • Less chance of error
  • More comfortable for guests
  • Lots of species and styles to match
  • Gives your bar top a beautiful curve
  • Great for beginners

Cons of Radius Corners

  • Extra pieces to purchase
  • Cuts off sharp corners

Bar Rails, Radius Corners, & More

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we want to help you get the bar you’ve always wanted. Whether you’re going for a small corner bar for everyday use or a big, showy setup to entertain your guests, we’ve got the materials and knowledge you need to build a great bar. 
Not sure where to begin when building your own bar? Our Bar Building Resources page can help. Still have questions? Email us at, or call us at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

3 Small Extras to Make Your Home Bar Feel Expensive

how to build a bar

You’ve got grand plans to build a beautiful home bar fit to be the gathering place for all your friends and family.

All the big items are taken care of, including finding the right location, choosing high-quality materials, and settling on a design. But there’s still something missing.

Sometimes, it isn’t the big, grand things that make your bar look and feel its most high-class. Here are 3 small extras you can add to your home bar to give you the feel of luxury at home:

Unique Back Bar

if you’ve got a wall behind the back of your bar, your back bar area will become a major focal point for anyone sitting and enjoying a drink.

Adding a TV and some artwork to the back wall is great, but if you want to take things up a notch, there’s a lot you can do to add some great ambiance.

For a more traditional pub feel, consider wooden shelves for displaying your glassware and stone. Stone comes in lots of different colors and sizes, so a large wall could be relatively easy to cover quickly.

If you want a more modern look, consider dark subway tiles, glass shelves, and backlighting. This look gives you the sleek feel of a modern metropolitan bar no matter where you live.

Your back bar area is a blank canvas waiting to be dressed up, so use your imagination!

Accented Glassware

Clear martini glasses and highballs are gorgeous in their own right, but using glassware that has some extra details can really amp up your bar’s elegance.

Gold- or silver-rimmed glassware elevates the drinks your guests are enjoying, making them feel as if they’re sitting in a posh spot in the city.

If you’ve got a little extra money to spend or you’re just really into personalized items, consider glassware etched with your initials, name, or a drawing that speaks to you.

Not only will the drinks you serve look good, but your fancy drinkware can become a conversation piece.

Elevate Personal Items

Do you have a favorite sports jersey, medal, or other piece of memorabilia you’d like to display in your new bar? Rather than just sticking it on a shelf or hanging it from a hook, turn that item into a real focal point.

Jerseys, t-shirts, medals, and other items can be framed and hung on the wall. If you really want to get fancy, add some accent lighting around the frame to draw even more attention.

Statues, trophies, or other larger objects can be put in display cases and given a place of prominence.

This extra touch really brings home the fact that this is your bar, something you created to share with friends and family, and seeing little pieces of your life around will help remind your guests of this.

Quality Bar Parts for All Styles

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we want to help you build the bar of your dreams. Whether that’s one full of traditional pub charm or something a little more modern, we’ve got what you need to build a bar that lasts. 

Are you looking to start your own custom bar project but don’t know where to begin? Our Bar Building Resources page can help. Still have questions? Email us at, or call us at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

Customer Project: Thunder Bar

bar rails

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we are always impressed by the creativity and talent of our customers. They always find new and interesting ways to incorporate our products into their projects, creating exceptional custom bars for home and commercial use.

One of those great, creative projects is this “Thunder Bar” built by Shane.

Shane told us he was talking with his daughter, who was months away from her wedding, about an idea he’d had years ago to build a bar out of a 1966 Ford Thunderbird.

bar tops

His daughter thought it was a great idea, and said it would be great if Shane could complete the project in time for her August 2019 wedding.

The bar’s super structure is 2” x 2” square tubing with the car’s disassembled panels mounted to the structure.

Shane used our Chicago bar rail moldings and radius corners in oak, as well as three sheets of oak veneer plywood, to create the bar top.

He began the project in April and it was finished the day before his daughter’s wedding on August 3. 

bar front parts

Shane plans to sell the Thunder Bar and use the proceeds to give his daughter and her spouse a nice wedding gift.

Great work, Shane, and thanks for sharing your project with us!

Oak Bar Rails & More

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we have spent decades creating the highest-quality bar rails, radius corners, and more to give your bar the professional finish you desire.

Are you looking to start your own custom bar project but don’t know where to begin? Our Bar Building Resources page can help. Still have questions? Email us at, or call us at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

Thank you for choosing Hardwoods Incorporated.

3 Tips for Balancing Quality & Cost in Your Bar-Building Project

build a bar

Choosing to build a custom bar means you have full control over the entire project. From where to build it right down to the lighting you’ll use, you get to make all the decisions.

For many bar builders, their dreams get a little out of pace from their budgets, with great ideas flowing faster than the cash to purchase the necessary pieces.

If you want to create a high-quality custom bar without totally breaking the bank, follow these 3 tips:

Prioritize & Make Necessary Cuts

Being on a budget with any project means you’re unlikely to get everything you want at the very beginning. Instead, you need to prioritize the pieces of your project and, where necessary, make cuts to save money for the important things.

If you’re dead set on getting a more expensive bar rail, for example, you may have to decrease the length of your bar in order to spring for the bar rail.

Making cuts doesn’t always have to be making huge changes to your plans. Even small cuts here and there can add up.

If you’re considering a wine fridge, built-in shelving, and other smaller features, eliminating some of these smaller expenses can help you make room for the bigger purchases that you want to make.

Before you get married to any particular design elements or features, sit down and make a list of the items you’re considering adding to your bar.

Include everything – style of bar top, size, any appliances you’ll need to buy, decor. Once you’ve gotten it all written down, begin ranking every element by importance. 

If you just can’t imagine having a bar without gorgeous shelving on the back wall, make sure that gets put high up on the list of priorities. There are no right or wrong answers here; this exercise is all about looking at what makes a great bar for you and helping you achieve that.

After you’ve finished your list, take a look at the items near the bottom. What ones can you downsize or eliminate altogether? If you take those items out of your list, how much money do you save and can you shift that money to another item?

Using a ranking method allows you to choose your priorities and make room for the elements that are most important to you.

Consider a Staged Process

Just because you’ve deleted an item from your list early in the process doesn’t mean you can never have it.

If you decided to forego the fancy wine fridge to make room for a little more money elsewhere, consider saving up and buying it down the road. 

For projects where budget is a big concern, think about a staged build process.

Stage 1 can be getting the bar structure built. Throw your budget into this process and look for creative low- or no-cost ways to round out the other elements, such as taking decor from elsewhere in your home or using your existing upstairs refrigerator to store beer and mixers.

When you’ve saved up enough money to add extra elements, such as appliances, furniture, and decor, purchase them and add them to your bar area. 

Repeat this process as many times as necessary to get the bar of your dreams!

Choose Quality Where It Counts

Is it really going to make much difference if you go with the $300 bar stools over the $50 look-alikes? 

Unless your bar is getting heavy traffic and people are sitting on those stools for hours a day, every day, it probably won’t matter much.

Look at your list of plans and think about what really needs to be high-quality, and what you really want to be high-quality. Your bar’s basic structural pieces, such as the bar top, the bar rails, and the bar front, should be of the highest quality materials you can afford.

Pick quality on the areas you want to last for a long time and that would be difficult to replace if they fall apart. For everything else you can shave little bits here and there, at least initially, to give yourself a little more budget to work with.

Build a Bar with High-Quality Materials Made in America

You deserve the best hardwood products when crafting your custom bar. Whether you’re looking for exceptional bar rails made out of oak or you want a unique live-edge bar top from an exotic hardwood, Hardwoods Incorporated can help.

Have questions about building your bar? Check out our Bar Building Resources section, email us at, or call us at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

Thank you for choosing Hardwoods Incorporated.

Introducing a New Bar Rail Profile: The BR-350!

oak bar rail

In our quest to offer the products that you, our loyal customers, want to see, we’ve developed a brand new bar rail profile!

The BR-350 bar rail features a first for Hardwoods Incorporated – a fully curved profile.

Give your guests the ultimate in armrest comfort without sacrificing your custom bar’s sleek style. The curved profile appears to rise up out of your bar top.

The BR-350 comes with a notched section for easy attachment to bar tops ranging from ¾” to 3” in thickness. Just use glue and screws underneath the bar top and you’re in business!

This gorgeous vintage bar rail profile originated in the Hardwoods Incorporated family mill in 1930s Pennsylvania, crafted for a variety of bar and speakeasy clients.

In recent years, we’ve fielded a number of commercial requests for this unique bar rail profile and, as a result, felt it was time to bring it back for wider use.

Choose from a variety of lengths, including 4’, 6’, 7’, 8’, and 9’ to suit your individual bar-building project.

Each BR-350 curved bar rail is crafted from hand-selected red oak and milled here in the United States. As with all our bar rails and other bar parts, each BR-350 is carefully packed and shipped to your home to prevent damage. Longer lengths, as well as other domestic and exotic hardwoods, available upon request.

Add a professional look and feel to your home or commercial bar with the BR-350 from Hardwoods Incorporated!

Premium Hardwood Bar Rails & More

Whether you’re looking for a rounded bar rail profile or our more traditional Chicago bar rail molding, Hardwoods Incorporated has what you need to get the bar of your dreams. 

Have questions about building your bar? Check out our Bar Building Resources section, email us at, or call us at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

Thank you for choosing Hardwoods Incorporated.

6 Storage Solutions for Your Home Bar

Creating Bar Storage

Your home bar is supposed to be a place where you can relax and entertain your friends. You all share a few drinks, some stories, and maybe watch the game on TV.

But there’s one thing that’s standing between you and that relaxing home bar: You don’t know where to store everything.

From wine bottles to highball glasses, martini shakers to beer mugs, you’re having a difficult time putting everything in its place. 

Whether you’re battling small space issues or organizational paralysis, here are 6 great storage solutions for your home bar:

Minimalist Wine Rack

Unless you’re a big wine drinker, having a wine rack built into the underside of your bar is a big waste of valuable space.

Instead, consider adding a small wine rack to the wall. It will hold just a few bottles of your favorite wine and makes a great decoration if you arrange it so the labels face out.

Your wines will always be close at hand for quick and easy selection.

Pull-out Cabinets

Cabinets on the floor can provide a ton of space, but getting to whatever’s shoved in the back is a challenge.

Instead of keeping the stationary shelves, install some pull-out shelves for easy access to your appliances, liquors, and other items. This minimizes bending and reduces the risk that you’ll find an expired bottle of grenadine hiding in the back three years from now.

Floor-level cabinets are great for storing lesser-used or large appliances such as blenders. 

They’re still close at hand and accessible without taking up valuable space in other cabinets or on the counter.

Stylish Wall Shelves

Rather than hiding your glasses and gorgeous liquor bottles away behind cabinet doors, consider using the wall behind your bar as an open display.

Install well-made, stylish wall shelving that coordinates with your bar. Use the space to add your glasses and liquor bottles in a pleasing display for some visual interest and easy access.

Adding under-shelf lighting gives an extra level of ambiance and sparkle to your glassware, too.

Mini Fridge

It can be tempting to want to shove everything you’ll need in your home bar into a large refrigerator. But that adds an extra appliance that uses extra floor space, and refrigerators aren’t exactly attractive appliances.

Instead, pare down what you plan to store in your refrigerator at any given time and install an under-bar mini fridge. 

These small appliances are great for a few cans of beer, an open bottle of wine, and some mixers. Everything else can be stored elsewhere and the fridge can be restocked if you need it.

Open Cubes

Do you like the idea of open shelving but worry about things falling over?

Make use of open cube shelving instead!

The cubes are great for keeping like items separated while not feeling closed-off like traditional cabinets would.

You can even customize cube shelving to meet your needs, with smaller cubes for glasses and larger ones for wine or liquor bottles.

Adding some accent lighting can lighten things up a bit and give you an extra bit of glam.

Add a Cart

Who says you have to store everything right in your bar area?

If you’ve got appliances, bottles, or other items that just don’t fit in your bar area, consider storing them on a rolling cart.

The cart can be rolled in when you need it, and tucked away in a closet or spare room when you don’t.

This is a great way to add a little extra storage without adding to your bar area itself.

High-Quality Bar Rails & More

Get the custom bar look you want with high-quality bar rails, bar top kits, and more from Hardwoods Incorporated. We hand-select each piece of hardwood for the best finished product we can make, and everything’s milled in our facility in Maryland. 

Have questions about building your bar? Take a peek at our Bar Building Resources section, email us at, or call us at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

Thank you for choosing Hardwoods Incorporated.

4 Tips for Small-Space Bar-Building

Small Bar Building

You would love to build a bar in your home, but you’re short on space.

Whether you’re living in a condo or you’re squished in somewhere so space is at a premium, you may feel that you’re just living an impossible dream.

However, with a little creativity and some careful planning, you can have the bar of your dreams in your small space!

Here are 4 tips for building a bar in a small space:

Think up, Not out

When you’re lacking in horizontal space, you have to get creative.

That may mean that your bar and its components reach up to the ceiling, utilizing wall space and high shelving.

Rather than storing your liquors and glasses in low cabinets, add shelving or hung cabinets to handle what you need to entertain guests.

Go Inside

Why not look at a built-in bar? 

Built-ins are hot right now, and adding a little extra feature with a bar can help boost the resale value of your home in the future.

In the area where you want to build your bar, find two wall studs. You’ll remove the drywall between these two studs and build your bar in the carved-out space. 

You may want to have a contractor help you with the excavation portion of the project.

This option gives you a great bar in a small space without sacrificing any floor space.

Go Bare Bones

When you’re short on space, you can’t have it all.

That means you need to really make some decisions about what you absolutely need to have in your bar in order to use it.

Do you really need all those martini glasses at hand if you’re only serving martinis a couple times a year? If you don’t entertain much, are 12 wine glasses really necessary?

Sit down and think about your daily bar use habits. 

Maybe that means you only need a couple of wine glasses, some mixing tools, a couple liquors, and some glasses. Everything else can be stored away and brought out when you’re anticipating visitors.

Think Open

Heavy wooden cabinet doors give weight to a room, something that can be overwhelming in small spaces.

Instead of closing off all your liquors and glasses, try open shelving units or doorless cabinets.

You’ll get a little extra visual space which will prevent your bar from feeling too heavy and large, especially if you’re building it in a small room.

Premium Bar-Building Products Online

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we want to make sure you get the custom bar you’ve always wanted, no matter its size. We produce exceptional-quality hardwood bar rails, bar tops, and other bar parts to give you the bar of your dreams. 

Need some guidance designing or constructing your bar? Check out our Bar Building Resources section, email us at, or call us at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

Thank you for choosing Hardwoods Incorporated.

Give Your Bar a Unique Twist with Live Edge Bar Tops

Natural Edge Bar Tops

At Hardwoods Incorporated, we aim to find unique, interesting ways to help you create the bar of your dreams.

Whether you’re planning the ultimate man cave or you’re getting ready to renovate your bar at the local watering hole, you want something that’s going to stand out.

Our live edge bar top slabs give you the unique, rustic look you’re aiming for, backed by our commitment to exceptional customer service.

Each of our natural edge bar top slabs is hand-chosen from the highest-quality wood we can find and planned by our team. We ship the bar top slab to you, ready for installation and finishing in your home or commercial bar.

Because each live edge bar top uses the natural curves and character of the tree it’s cut from, you won’t find a bar top anywhere else that looks just like yours – Guaranteed!

Choose from a variety of domestic and exotic hardwoods in varying lengths. Some examples of the live edge bar top slabs in our shop include:

Live Edge Bar Top

This spalted sycamore bar top has two live edges to give you a natural finish on both sides of your bar top. It measures 2 ½” x 27” x 127” and would make a gorgeous long bar top for any basement or commercial pub.

White Oak Natural Edge Bar Top

Our white oak natural edge bar top slab measures 2 ½” x 25” x 124”. The unique shape and character of this wood is sure to gain you major compliments from anyone who sees it installed in your home or business.

Knotty Pine Natural Edge Bar Top Slab

This knotty pine bar top slab features a gently sloping live edge. That edge is perfect for the front of your bar top, giving your guests a natural place to rest their arms. It measures 2.125” x 21-27” x 127”.

We carefully pack and ship each of our natural edge bar top slabs, just as we do all our other bar parts and rails, working hard to ensure your items get to you undamaged.

Unsure how to install your live edge bar top slab? Our Bar-Building Resources section has all the information you need, or feel free to email us at, or call us at (301) 665-9505 or (240) 285-0565.

Thank you for choosing Hardwoods Incorporated.