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Old 04-17-2009, 06:21 AM   #1
monkeychef
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Default Can I replace the lid on a chest freezer?

Okay, sorry I'm having to ask this because it's probably pretty basic but I'm not very handy with building things, and a lot of you guys are.

I got a chest freezer for free from work that probably holds about 8 cornies with room on the hump for a 5# co2 and various other things. I already have an external thermostat on it, and it works great so far.

Except that the lid had been used as a sort of tabletop/workspace/storage area for quite a few years. It's seen better days, and the middle is dented down a bit, leaving the front left and right corners (the ones on the opposite side from the hinges) bent upwards, and it looks like they're not sealed well. I weigh them down with some 20# barbell weights to ensure a good seal, but I'd like a more permanent fix. The plastic liner for the lid was falling out too but I fixed that with some "Great Stuff"... that stuff really is awesome.

I was thinking of eventually building a collar anyways so that I could install some taps eventually (although kegs fit just fine in the freezer as is with a few inches of room above them and I already have picnic taps).

Do you guys suppose I could just get a sheet of wood or something and put that on top of the collar instead of the lid?

I realized it'd still be a good idea to insulate it, and suggestions on that would be welcome as well. Again, I've never really done any sort of carpentry at all and finding the tools to borrow would be a task in its own, but do you think this is the most feasible approach to fixing this thing up? If this was your keezer, what would you do?

Thanks a lot guys. I've been staying up pretty late recently reading the DiY forums, and I'm excited that I could have my own little project too.

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Old 04-17-2009, 07:03 AM   #2
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Sure you can replace the lid, it's just an insulated top. A super cheap way would be just a piece of plywood with some 2" polystyrene insulation glued to the bottom of it would be just fine. Take off the old hinges and attach to the new lid and there you go. You could do something fancy with it too like add some tile to the top of it or something.

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Old 04-17-2009, 08:47 AM   #3
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Cool!

The only thing I liked about the lid was that it had a little light in it that came on when you opened it, but with the external thermostat cutting power to the freezer when it reached the proper temperature, most times it doesn't come on anyways when I open it so I suppose that's really a moot point.

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Old 04-17-2009, 11:41 AM   #4
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I would wait until you decide to add the collar. Then just make the collar part of the lid as well. Many folks attach the collar to the lid and it makes changing out kegs easier since the taps and lines swing up and outa the way. Do search for the show me your kegerator thread and you'll see many ideas. good luck!

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Old 04-17-2009, 02:05 PM   #5
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Absolutely! And actually this is an awesome opportunity for you to do something really cool with it....

You could build your collar and then make the actual top out of butcher block or a segment of a bowling lane or stainless steel or even a nice countertop piece (which you might be able to get a deal on at Home Depot/Lowes in their returns section).


Since you are going to be making yoru own custom top, you are freed from many of the contraints people often feel about modifying old freezers. Take advantage of that and do somethign really slick.


Then share! : )

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Old 04-17-2009, 03:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeychef View Post
Again, I've never really done any sort of carpentry at all and finding the tools to borrow would be a task in its own, but do you think this is the most feasible approach to fixing this thing up? If this was your keezer, what would you do?
If you don't have access to tools, or are not into buying a circular saw and a drill, then why not trade some homebrew with a carpenter? Would a case of mixed HB be worth a new top for the keez?

I'd post on craigslist or the like, asking for someone to build it for you. You pay for the materials and hardware, they measure and build it. When they deliver it, you trade for some brews.

OR, you could get a circ saw, framing square, clamps, insulation, ect and build it. You could hand sand it, but a sander will make your life a lot easier.

It would be killer easy to build, just a 2x6 or 2x4 frame and a sheet of plywood. Some iron-on wood edging, and a couple of coats of stain and poly, or paint. You could easily build it in a day, then paint it in another day.
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Old 04-17-2009, 03:46 PM   #7
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Just a heads up for you guys without tools...hah...anyways, Home Depot usually has in in-store panel saw and a crosscut saw. I take advantage of this service whenever possible even though I own probably a dozen saws. Easier and no mess at home to seep up. You do have to have good hard measurements to cut "once"

Monkeychef,

You could go to home depot, purchase say a 1/2 piece of plywood and 3-4 two by threes, have the store cut the plywood to the freezer size, cut the lumber to the edge dimensions. A box of screws and a screwdriver and your done w/ a basic keezer top.

The kitchen counter / keezer sounds kind of nice also.

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Old 04-18-2009, 06:28 AM   #8
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I must say that all of the above posts are spot on. Actually I'm quite impressed with all of the suggestions. I'm a fairly experienced carpenter and this would be a cake walk for even a moderately skilled wood worker. I like the idea of incorporating the collar with the lid. Might as well at this point if the original lid is damaged as described. I also favor the butcher block top idea. You can by the laminated "butcher block" sheets at Home Depot or Lowe's and as mentioned previously, they can cut it for you on their panel saw (I take advantage of that myself occasionally). It would be cool to have the collar flip up with the lid. A collar can be a PIA if too high. It is hard to lean over to reach the bottom of a freezer with anything more than a 2" x 4" collar and you will need to do that now and then for cleaning up spilled beer etc. A 2 X 4 frame covered with the "butcher Block" top would look cool and be very functional. Finish sand it and give it a couple of coats of urethane and you will have a nice looking and durable lid. Yes, do insulate it with some polystyrene foam insulation. The insulationi is dirt cheap and easy to work with. The wood istelf also has some insulation value.

Here's a tip for you that might help. One or both of the hinges houses a heavy spring. This spring acts as a counter force to the weight of the lid. You can access the spring from the bottom of the hinge. There will be a threaded rod with an adjusting nut at the bottom. The rod goes through the spring. Before removing the lid, back off this nut fully to relieve the spring tension. After remounting the hinges on the new top, tighten the nut to tension the spring until you achieve the desired counter balance force so the lid will stay open when you raise it. This is an adjstable feature that you can customize to your new top. It's would be nearly impossible to get the hinges properly positioned without relieving the tension on the hinge. Most smaller freezers have only one hinge equipped with the spring tensioner. Most larger freezers will have spings on each hinge. You will want the lid to have some degree of down force when in the closed position to make a good seal. The biggest problem you are facing is the seal. Try to salvage the seal from the original door if it is usable. If not, you might be able to use some automotive weather sripping material. I'm sure there's something available that would work.

OTOH, used freezers are cheap and sometimes free or nearly so. Which way to go depends on your personal style more than anything else. Building this kind of stuff is fun for me. For others it's one big hassle and not something they enjoy.

One word of caution though. You mentioned staying up late reading the DIY forum stuff and you said you were excited to have a project to work on. These are early signs that you will soon be hooked on this hobby. Most of us drift off to sleep each night dreaming of the next project or just as often, the next recipe and brew session. I think it's a genetic defect of some kind, but do not worry. You are not alone. Have fun with your project and post back with the results (with pics).

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Old 04-18-2009, 09:32 AM   #9
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Thanks a ton for all the suggestions. The butcher block is a personal favorite, especially with my background in kitchens. Now I just need to distill all this down to an idea as well as brew up enough beer for trades! It works well enough with my ghetto corner weights for now, and I think I'm going to concentrate on getting a few backup cornies full for now since I only now just put my first beer in a keg... but I'm chomping at the bit to start this project. I'm so glad there are other avenues for someone to pursue who hasn't the funds to build up their own awesome tool collection yet.

I think this one is SWMBO-approved too. Since her car has to share space with my ugly freezer, she'd be more than happy to have something nicer to look at on the way into the house. But just in case, I'm hunting down a good wheat beer recipe for her

And yes Catt, I definitely have already been there, falling asleep thinking about the next thing on the list. At least it makes the week go by faster when I'm waiting for my next day off so that I can rack my beer, brew a new one, build a stirplate, new lid for the cooler, assemble bits and pieces for an AG setup, contemplate wort coolers.....

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Old 04-19-2009, 03:28 PM   #10
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I replaced the lid on mine with wood as well. I insulated it with insulating foam and sealed the inside with a spray sealer. So far its been running great. I will post pictures later...

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