How To Install A Bar Rail
On Your Home Bar Top

Most bar rails are a solid wood product molded from a single piece of wood; and the bar rail profile (side view) shows the contour of the bar rail.

In order to achieve the downward slant of the traditional bar arm rest, the bar rail has two offset cuts called rabbets. A rabbet (also known as a rebate) is a recess or groove cut into the edge of a piece of machineable material, usually wood. The rabbets are often used so that the bar rail becomes the mechanism to join the top of the cabinet to its sides, and to attach the back of the cabinet. The width and depth of the rabbet on a bar rail will vary depending on the profile you choose.

To install a traditional bar rail, you will need a bar rail installation unfinished structural bar top underneath the finished top. The finished top needs to be offset from the structural top to match the depth and width of the rabbet joints. The lower rabbet of the bar rail adjoins the lower structural top, and the upper rabbet of the bar rail adjoins the finished top.

If the angle cut between the rabbet joints is long (as in wider arm rests), then you will need to add a third support piece of wood, or shim, at the upper rabbet and attach this third piece to the finished top of the bar cabinet.

Download the EBook to learn more about:

  • Choosing a bar rail profile
  • Bar rail materials and tips on how to match the bar top
  • Mitered vs. radius bar rail corners
  • How to finish the ends of the bar rail
  • Purchasing a bar rail

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