I was able to get a fairly large, not sure of the exact size, chest freezer on Craigslist the day before we started moving back in early May. Heck, it was not only a great price, but the people delivered it to me and hung out a while having a couple beers when I told them what I was going to do with it.
Anyway, today I finally got the chance to start my build. I am trying to do it as cheap as possible, within reason. So I am using scrap wood and all to do this. Because of that, parts of it probably wont look that nice, until I finally give in and either skin it or paint the freezer itself (as it is white now with a lot of rust spots that will need sanded and treated before painting). That, more than likely, will not happen right away.
Today I got a later than planned start, so I wasn’t able to get much done. My first thing was to remove the lid. I have read several posts on the internet from people that have done keezer builds, looked at their pictures/videos and wouldnt you know it, the freezer I have has hinges nothing like those others. There was no place to put the nail or drill bit to hold the hinge in place.
Sooooo, I decided to make my own hole and drilled it myself on each hinge. Took me a while to get to the point to decide to drill, but it appears that its working just fine.
After taking the lid off I had to remove the seal and the inside plastic molding (with the light). Due to my huge hinges I couldnt do a standard keezer collar, so I decided to use my buddy Scott’s design and make the collar lift up as well. I really like his design better, but it seems like a big PITA to get done, compared to the other design. No looking back now!
Next I took some scrap plywood that I had, cut the 1st piece to fit as close as I could and then the 2nd piece was pretty close, but there is a small gap there (if you can see it from the pic you have amazing eye sight). I will fill that gap with silicone eventually. So I used liquid nails around the edges and then screwed it down tight with some 1 1/4 inch exterior screws. That baby seems to be super tight now.
Since I needed to let the liquid nails cure for several hours, I called it a night. The next morning I got up and set to making the 4 cuts I needed on the 2×6′s to make the collar itself. 3 cuts were easy breezy, but wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to charge my battery pack over night and it went dead on me 1/2 way through the 4th cut. I needed to run to Lowe’s anyway, so I put the battery on the charger and off I went. When I got back with what I needed, the battery was fully charged and I finished my cut.
I then attached the collar to the lid that had the liquid nails cure over night and was ready to rock. I used 2 different kinda of brackets to do the job… only because it’s what I had. I then measured and cut the holes for my 4 shanks/taps.
As I was looking at the collar, I just didnt liked it. I honestly sat there thinking that I was going to have to skin the entire keezer to get it to look even remotely decent. Then I remembered a video I watched online of a guy that built his with an outter collar. It acted as a skin to cover the main collar, and looked pretty darn cool! So this is what I decided to do and when I went to Lowe’s earlier I picked up some 1×8 red oak. Of course no matter how many times I measured, I still blew a cut and had to go get another piece (I would have needed to anyway because my measurements were off by a hair, I needed another board). So, once I got the 3 pieces cut (because I’m not gonna put a piece against the wall, nobody will see that side anyway… if I eventually decide I just have to do it, I can then), I clamped them on to hold them in place…
Since I had already cut the holes for the shanks/taps in the original collar, I needed to make sure that I was cutting them in the same exact spot. What I did was, using a spade bit, I started cutting from the inside out. I didn’t want to complete the cut because I didn’t want to take the chance of some of the wood breaking off, like it usually does, on the outside. So I cut just enough to get the tip of the spade bit to come through the oak and I went to the other side to finish the cuts (notice the dots in the line off to the left of my bit 3 and 6 inches away).
I then attached the red oak to the inside collar using 1/4x4inch bolts with washers and nuts. I did this cause in that video I saw, I liked the look. Could have just as easily screwed these on and looked at the tops of the screws as well… but I like this look better.
Once I was done with bolting on the red oak, it was time to test it on the keezer body. I can tell you this, man it was a TIGHT fit! My cuts arent 100% perfect and I am sure that is a big reason why, however, I was able to fix that by adding a shim between the hinge and the collar. It fits snug now
A look with the lid open… This is before I added the shim to the right side, so if you look close you can see how it is uneven, and thus made the whole thing really tight/tough to close.
The next step was to silicone the gaps and the brackets on the inside of the lid heavily. Once it dried and set up I hit it with a couple thick coats of poly to seal it really good.
I then brushed on some wood conditioner to the oak… and let that sit for 4+ hours to soak in.
After a not so quick run to my LHBS, I brushed on my 1st coat of stain. Gonna let it sit a few hours and hit again later.
After at least 1 more coat of stain, I will cover it in wipe on Polly. Let that sit and hit it with one more coat of Poly.
Next up was installing freshly cleaned shanks/taps and beer lines. I still have to sand the actual unit itself and paint it, but its functioning now, so the paint can wait. Thinking I will paint the lid chalkboard black and the bottom white so I can put stickers and magnets on it that can still be read good.
Anyway, he is my partially done, yet functioning, Keezer
The beer is flowing…
P.S… yes that is SUN in Washington State lol