U-shaped Cherry Bar w/Mahogany Top

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Project by Patrick Jaromin posted 01-29-2008 05:44 AM 23033 views 17 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I designed and built this bar last year just after the birth of my son for a neighbor looking for the centerpiece to their basement remodeling project. If you don’t count my former life as a theatrical designer/technical director, this was the largest piece I’d ever built. The carcass, doors and moldings are all cherry ply and solid cherry. The top is made of shop-cut genuine mahogany veneer over light(er) weight MDF.

The piece isn’t all that complex—fairly standard plywood carcasses and trim. The biggest challenge for this build was logistics. The bar is roughly 8’ square and constructing it in a 2-car garage filled with tools in the dead of winter (closed garage doors) required more planning than the original construction drawings. Finishing the piece in these close quarters was something I’d rather forget.

While most of the mahogany was rather straight-grained, I did manage to find a piece that made for an interesting 4-way book match for the back bar countertop.

One of the highlights of the installation was surprising the client with the rope light I mounted on the underside of the from bar countertop. They added a nice extra touch and the client was very pleased.

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

18 comments so far

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 4296 days

#1 posted 01-29-2008 05:50 AM

Did you find it difficult to do the veneering? The reason I am asking is I am contemplating a mahogany dining room table. I think it would be wise to veneer the top both from an economic and stability point of view. I have never applied veneer.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

406 posts in 4313 days

#2 posted 01-29-2008 06:01 AM

I have to thank David Marks’ Woodworks for the method and courage to cut my own veneers. This was the second shop-cut veneer job I did and I’m very pleased with how both jobs came out. In fact, my first veneer job was a mahogany dining room table top—photos of the process here:

The biggest challenge with the tops was handling the long boards. In both projects I was resawing 8’ long 8/4 boards…pretty heavy to handle. I also didn’t have near enough clamps or a veneer press so I decided to use all the clamps I had augmented with cinder blocks and cases of beer. :)

To answer your question directly, I would say it was nerve-wracking due to inexperience, but I wouldnt’ say it was “difficult” and the finished job came out very nicely. Go for it!

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4469 days

#3 posted 01-29-2008 06:25 AM

Excellent work! I love mahogany.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Grumpy's profile


25623 posts in 4332 days

#4 posted 01-29-2008 10:00 AM

Beaut job Patrick. One day I will finish my 1/2 complete bar. Are the overhead glass fronts sliders or openers?.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4355 days

#5 posted 01-29-2008 01:50 PM

Breathtaking. Great job!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4302 days

#6 posted 01-29-2008 02:30 PM

This project would be a welcome addition to any home. I am sure that it is the focal point for their lower living area. The bar is simply gorgeous. I love the match with the floor and trim as well.

Great job. Thanks for sharing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

953 posts in 4293 days

#7 posted 01-29-2008 03:04 PM

That is something absolutely amazing. Nice grain.

-- Jiri

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4254 days

#8 posted 01-30-2008 04:52 PM

Hi Patrick

You are a craftsman in the true sense of the word. It is definitely a piece to be proud of. I have only done one bar but it was not as elaborate as yours. The guy also wanted a builtin gun cabinet in the wall. I put it in a door way leading to a small room behind the bar. It was hinged in such away that it would swing out after you pulled a hidden pin in the locked cabinet. When he went on vacation he could put his guns and other valuables in the hidden room.

I see your from Chicago. I was born there and then moved to Skokie till college. My brother lives in Glennview. Perhapes we can have a cup of coffee and talk woodworking someday. Tom

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4641 days

#9 posted 01-30-2008 05:41 PM


-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

406 posts in 4313 days

#10 posted 01-31-2008 01:56 AM

Thanks all!

Grumpy- The back bar “hutch” is open glass shelves. The one thing I screwed up on here was significantly underestimating the cost of the glass shelves. I’d never used glass shelves before and they needed to be thicker than I had originally estimated..cost me a couple hundred $$ off the top!

Elk- Thanks for the compliment…I’ve perused your stuff and was duly impressed. If you’re (or any LJ’er for that matter!) ever in the Naperville area you are very welcome to stop by the shop! We’ve got two woodworking clubs within 1/2 hour of my house but I hardly have any time to attend a meeting. Another LJ’er buddy of mine (blackcherry) lives just a couple blocks away…I’m sure we could all find something to talk about!

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 4197 days

#11 posted 06-26-2008 06:34 PM

Great design.Great job.

-- jeanmarc manosque france

View xylosapiens's profile


198 posts in 4095 days

#12 posted 10-28-2008 10:54 PM

Admirable neat work. Congratulations. Did you decide the space distribution? Somehow I percieve a certain scenical impression.

-- Alejandro Moreno alias xylosapiens, CANARY ISLANDS

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

406 posts in 4313 days

#13 posted 10-31-2008 05:19 AM

Alejandro – Thanks! The design was entirely mine, but the homeowner knew exactly where they wanted it and the space pretty much dictated the size/arrangement.

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View DMS's profile


1 post in 3763 days

#14 posted 06-01-2009 01:35 AM

What did you use to finish the bar. I’m putting a bar in my basement. Looking at using Cherry. I’m sure the wife is expecting the same looks as the “cherry finished” cabinets in the kitchen. Since we don’t have windows in the basement, I’m thinking the natural aging isn’t going to be much. I like the color you were able to achieve.

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


117711 posts in 4058 days

#15 posted 06-01-2009 03:38 AM

super job great bar

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