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Old 01-13-2010, 03:01 AM   #1
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Default Vintage Kelvinator freezer restoration

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Here is the shell of what I am working with. I would like some ideas and interest into some possibilities of what I could turn this old school bad boy into. It is a 1950's "Kelvinator" chest freezer that can hold 2 cornys with out a collar and 4 with a collar. Ideas have been tossed around to make it into some sort of hot rod style theme based on the fact that I grew up in a racing/car show/hot rod family tradition.

The final cost of the total build is limited to about $500. Any suggestions?



You copied the url not the actual link to the picture. Cool project!
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:55 AM   #2
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89OctaneStang:
To keep the clean lines of that vintage freezer intact, I'd use a collar rather than a tower, maybe skin the collar with metal plate like brushed stainless or aluminum, find some nice looking gearshift knobs for tap handles, and do a paint job that will work with the room. It does run well, right?

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Old 01-13-2010, 02:35 PM   #3
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89OctaneStang:
To keep the clean lines of that vintage freezer intact, I'd use a collar rather than a tower, maybe skin the collar with metal plate like brushed stainless or aluminum, find some nice looking gearshift knobs for tap handles, and do a paint job that will work with the room. It does run well, right?
When I got it home yesterday evening, I let it sit for about an hour and then I plugged it in. It was running maybe an hour and it was already ice cold on the inside. I let it run for a little longer then unplugged it. I think one of the hard tasks to complete is going to be getting the smell some what dimenished out of the side walls.

If you notice, the walls have a thin alluminum plate on top that is held in with two screws on each side. When I pulled one up, it was wood underneath. And that wood smelled strong of(?).., you know when you went and got into grandma's fridge when you were younger, that smell it had. Not of anything spoiled, but it had its own unique smell. Well, this fridge has that going on strong.

I think I will go with a collar for this one.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:58 PM   #4
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Would it be difficult to remove the wood and replace it?

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Old 01-13-2010, 06:49 PM   #5
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Would it be difficult to remove the wood and replace it?
That is the plan. It does not look difficult to do. I'm also going to remove the plastic cover that is on the interior side of the lid since it is cracked anyways, and see if I can get the insulation out of the lid and make a new cover and reinsulate that... You think that would work?
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 89OctaneStang View Post
That is the plan. It does not look difficult to do. I'm also going to remove the plastic cover that is on the interior side of the lid since it is cracked anyways, and see if I can get the insulation out of the lid and make a new cover and reinsulate that... You think that would work?
Shouldn't be hard at all to cut out insulation and re-apply.
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:18 PM   #7
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Default Vintage Kelvinator freezer restoration

I spent some time searching for internet sites with information on old school vintage freezer restoration with little results. When I picked up this freezer, I thought for sure this had already been done a time or two before so it should have been easy to get instructions and tips on what to do. But, with the help of the people on this site and just diving straight into it head first, we will create a step by step process of this vintage Kelvinator restoration.

A little history that I have been able to dig up so far about this freezer. It did not have a model # sticker or any pertinent information on it so I had to try and find as many pictures lurking around the internet to match up mine with another. Turned up a lot of results but no positive year it was made or model number. I did however, learn that it was produced sometime between 1949 and 1952.

Bottom line, Kelvinator was established in 1916 and based their ideas, designs and Company name off of a famous British scientist who had pioneered in the principles of refrigeration and William Thompson, Knighted Lord Kelvin for his noteworthy scientific accomplishments.

And Project "Kelvin-Keger-Ator" begins...

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Old 01-14-2010, 10:25 PM   #8
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Here is what it looked like when I picked it up and first brought it home...




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Old 01-14-2010, 10:46 PM   #9
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First thing was first in my thought process. I really needed to locate where the strong musky mildew smell was coming from. Upon looking for possibilities, I noticed that there was a thin aluminum cover on top of the side walls and was only held on with 4 screws total. I gently lifted it up and looked under it, surprised to find that a lot of the interior works are made of wood. And that wood was definitely rotten and appears to have some black mold of some sort going on. The closer I got to the wood with my nose, the more positive I was that the smell is coming from that area.


I then began carefully taking out the 4 aluminum cover screws. Removed all 4 covers and started taking out the screws that were holding the wood piece down. A couple of the screws were so rusted that I couldn't unscrew them by hand so I just prayed that when I went to pull the wood out, that it was rotted enough to just fall apart around the screw. And I was glad to see that is exactly how it happened.


The next step will be to expose all the insulation in the sides and lid, remove it, and replace it with some updated insulation. Now, anyone have any knowledge about the current insulation that was used in the late 40's early 50's? Did it contain asbestos? Anything else harmful that we should be aware of when removing it and handling it?

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Old 01-14-2010, 11:01 PM   #10
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Moderators,

Should this possibly be in the DIY threads? If so, can you move it there?

Thanks,
Brian

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