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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kegerators and Keezers > Vintage Coleman Cooler Jockey box conversion
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:55 PM   #1
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Default Vintage Coleman Cooler Jockey box conversion

I set out to create a portable beer serving solution for my up coming wedding reception, and hopefully many more events to come in the future. At first I was torn between a portable kegerator (there are many great examples in this forum), jockey box, or just an insulated ice box for the kegs and picnic taps.

With only a few weeks before the wedding I was about to take the easy way out until I remembered the old steel sided coleman cooler in the attic of my mothers house. Thus the jockey box was born.
266286_10150286083017594_545242593_9139475_4279587_o.jpg
This cooler was manufactured in the mid 1960s, and had been used as the family camping cooler by my grandparents when my mom was a growing up. It was then passed on to my mother when she had children, and we used it on our car camping trips well into the 90s. As you can see it was in fairly decent condition for its age, but far from mint.

I decided to strip the paint down to bare metal for my conversion. I first stripped the paint with a stripping wheel on my drill and angle grinder, as well as a dremel for the fine work. I then hit it with a medium grit flapper wheel on my angle grinder to remove any rust spots and give the metal some texture.
259649_10150287457757594_545242593_9145954_4292820_o.jpg

I decided not to skimp on the hardware considering the effort and history going into the project, so added some nice shanks and Perlic faucets. The steel was easy to drill, and the insulation is just packed styrofoam underneath the vinyl interior.
265565_10150298036017594_545242593_9165709_6784153_o.jpg

To this point, I'm very happy with how it turned out. It's not pristine, as the vinyl coloration indicates. I've also purposefully left some of the grinding marks in the metal. I haven't yet sealed the metal either (this is mild steel I believe and will rust quickly if left untreated) but will be doing that today. I've got a cold plate that fits great and is currently hooked up to a keg full of PBW solution.

I'll post some interior photos once it is fully assembled, as well as an action shot or two of it's debut.. serving 4 kegs of tasty homebrew at my wedding reception. I'm not sure that my grandmother would be too pleased with the modifications, but I'm thrilled to be honoring the history of this cooler. It was realistically going to be heading for the scrap heap at some point as it was, and now it will be prominently featured and enjoyed my groups of friends and family for years to come.


Prost!

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Old 06-30-2011, 06:01 PM   #2
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Forgive the background mess. I've got several pre-wedding projects going on a simultaneously in there. On an unrelated note, if anyone in the Seattle area wants to rent a photo booth for their event, I can save you some money.

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Old 06-30-2011, 06:09 PM   #3
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That looks great. A nice paint job and some auto-detailing products to clean up the vinyl will make that thing sparkle.

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Old 06-30-2011, 07:38 PM   #4
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Thank you. Yes, I look forward to shining this thing up even more in the future and will definitely be looking to further cleaning (possibly painting) of the vinyl. Unfortunately I don't think I'll have the chance to do if before the wedding, but that'll just have to be ok.

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Old 07-15-2011, 12:56 AM   #5
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This thing performed like a champ with a couple of bags of ice in it during our wedding reception. It was 80ºF+ outside, and it poured cold beer all evening, until the (4) corny kegs ran out!

Big success all around. I got glowing reviews of the beers (Pale, Wheat Blonde, and Yooper's dead guy ale clone) from all who drank i. I will post a few pics of it in action once the photographer get the proofs to me.

I'm looking forward to using it again at a buddy's wedding in a few months.

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Old 07-16-2011, 07:45 PM   #6
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A couple of 'finished' photos from the wedding reception. I ran out of time to fully polish it up, but will get that done before a buddy's wedding coming up next month. The beer was a HUGE success with all who attended, and I'm really glad I put the effort into the brewing and jockey box conversion before the big day.


As always, big thanks to the HBT community for the help and advice.

jockey-box.jpg   beer1.jpg  
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:31 PM   #7
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Very nice! I just made a jockey box out of an old Vintage igloo cooler that's metal as well. Looks just like yours but has a different latch. Best part is it has built in bottle openers in the side handles! Good work, looks just like mine but I used 2 50 ft stainless coils instead of the cold plate. I was looking on eBay but ended up finding a local place to make the coils cheaper than a used cold plate.

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Old 07-17-2011, 05:08 PM   #8
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Very nice, I would love to see your photos too if you have them. I love the bottle openers in the handles of this one too!

Good work on the coils too, that was my original plan until I found this cold plate on craigslist.

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Old 07-17-2011, 06:34 PM   #9
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Very cool. My grandma has an old Coleman cooler just like that collecting dust on her patio. One of these days I may just have to see if I can take it off her hands


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Old 09-08-2011, 08:02 PM   #10
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Minor update. After my wedding the box developed some surface rust (as expected) since it hadn't been properly sealed. I decided my favorite part of the box had been a small back section where I'd left the grinding marks un polished, so I wen't over the whole thing again with a 120 grit wheel on my angle grinder and then sealed it with polyurethane. It's holding up well now, though I may refinish it again next year.

Here is a photo of the box in use at a friends wedding a few weeks ago. It was a big hit as it served 2 commercial kegs and 2 kegs of hombrew.

313037_2334360040049_1281265837_2767097_817285991_n.jpg  
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