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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kegerators and Keezers > Chest Freezer Collar
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:51 PM   #1
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Default Chest Freezer Collar

I've been using a 13 cubic foot chest freezer for my kegerator. I can fit 5 cornies and a 30# CO2 bottle, plus a few cases of bottles on top of the "hump". Now it's time to take it to the next level and make a nice collar so I can stop opening the lid and using the picnic tap every time I want a draft beer.

My concern is in regards to the hinges on the freezer. They have gas-charged struts to keep the lid propped open, and they don't extend too far down the back of the freezer. I plan on using hemlock 2x4s for the collar. It seems that the back 2x4 will end up handling a good deal of the torque from the struts, and I'm concerned about twisting/warpage fo that 2x4 over time.

Has anyone done a collar install on a freezer that uses these strut-loaded hinges to hold the lid open? I'm wondering if I shouldn't double-up and use two 2x4s along the back edge.

Also, should I permanently fasten the 2x4s to the freezer with construction adhesive, or would that be overkill? Perhaps just a couple of brackets with sheet metal screws on the inside of the freezer would suffice for keeping everything in place?

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Old 01-03-2008, 03:01 PM   #2
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It seems to me that a 2x6 box, properly fastened together at the corners (I eveled the ends and screwed them together with 3, 3.5" deck screws each), will be stouter than the sheet metal screw hinge attatchment method that most chest freezers employ.

I'm still finishing mine up, but I plan on using four to eight angle brackets to screw the collar to the top edge of the freezer, with a healthy dose of weather striping in-between, and a thick bead of syliconized Latex caulk around the inside edge.

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Old 01-03-2008, 03:10 PM   #3
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As far as insulation goes, I was planning on using 6" wide panels of Celotex™ on the inside of the 2x4s. That way there is about 2" of overlap down into the interior of the chest freezer--enough to seal up any gaps, and insulate the wood, but not so much that it interferes with the cooling lines in the walls of the freezer.

I think you are right that the lumber could be even more robust than the sheet metal. Still, I've seen lumber twist up like crazy with sustained loads so I have to wonder if doubling up would be the prudent design.

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Old 01-03-2008, 05:53 PM   #4
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Like this maybe?



I have a double-wall collar and used latex construction foam between the walls. More pictures in my gallery.

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Old 01-03-2008, 06:23 PM   #5
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Nice setup! That's about what I envisioned. Those pics will come in handy as I finish designing everything. Did you put the struts back in the hinges, or just leave them out? Mine has some scary warning about not fooling with the struts unless you want to die or something like that. I figured I'd leave them intact.

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Old 01-03-2008, 08:05 PM   #6
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Are you sure it's a gas strut and not a simple spring? Those in the picture are exactly like the ones on my whirlpool. There are holes into which you insert 10 penny nails to keep them from kicking back on you when you remove the lid.

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Old 01-03-2008, 10:04 PM   #7
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For what it's worth, I added a collar to my chest freezer. It's lightly insulated (2 layers of the mylar bubble sheet stuff), and no caulking between the freezer and collar, and only the stock stripping between the lid and collar.

When I added the collar, I expected a major inefficiency to kick in, but I keep a very close eye on my freezer's cycle, and if it changed when adding the collar, it was negligible. Before adding it (summer), the compressor was on for ~10 minutes every ~70 minutes. It was the same after adding.

Now that it's much colder in my house (-22ºC outside today!), the compressor is on even less (10 minutes every 110 minutes).

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Old 01-04-2008, 08:42 PM   #8
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For what it's worth:

Average R-value of wood = 1/inch

Average R-value of rigid foam = 7.5/inch

That being said, the design of a chest freezer prevents most of the chilled air from escaping; cool gases fall though warmer gases.

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Old 01-04-2008, 11:24 PM   #9
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I didn't disassemble anything. Just unscrewed the hinge bodies from the back and lifted the cover & hinges right off. The collar is sized so the lower holes in the hinges line up with the upper holes in the chest.

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Old 01-05-2008, 02:37 AM   #10
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Well, that's the end of that project. I thought you had drilled new holes there, and by the frost patterns on my freezer, I also thought there was no freon line in that area. I was wrong.

So I'm in the market for a new freezer now, since this one no longer has any freon in it.

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