Cutting Board + Fermentation Chamber =
Last weekend I finished up my new fermentation chamber but I've been lazy, so I didn't detail anything out during the build process. I did manage to get some pics though, so I thought the details were worth posting. This is actually a pretty simple project, all things considered. Much easier than the Keg-O-Vision.
I started out with a hickory kitchen cabinet that is finished on 3 sides.
The one we bought was damaged in the corners, so after removing the door, drawer and drawer slides, I cut away the damaged parts and created a dutchman (sort of). The corners are a little lighter because it's a different wood, but I decided I didn't care because the overhang of the countertop will prevent it from being apparent.
By following this thread on how to remove the guts of a mini-fridge, I disassembled a 1.3 cu ft fridge.
Next I placed the guts of the fridge in the cabinet to determine how I wanted them mounted.
With that done, it was on to making the cabinet mobile. I sadly don't have any pics of this and have a beer fermenting in the chamber now, so I can't turn it over. Basically, I glued and nailed a couple of short 2x4 pieces to the bottom of the cabinet. This allow the 150# casters I bought to barely clear the bottom of the chamber (cleared by about 3/32"). Then I started insulating (the longest part of any of these jobs for me). I used 2x.75" thick pieces rigid foam board and 1 .50" thick piece for all the surfaces. The bottom actually got a little more because I insulated around the mounted 2x4s on the underside and I insulated on the inside of the chamber. Here the sides and bottom are insulated and the casters are mounted.
After the sides were cozy, I started work on the back. The main piece of wood on the back just slides into rabbits cut in the sides and bottom, but, IMO, this wasn't really beefy enough to hold a chest freezer style piece of wood that was 1.5" thick. So I improved the brace at the top with a 2x6. :D
It's hard to see but the 2x6 is nailed on, and then I used a couple of metal straps to attach it firmly past where the dutchman was made. If I was smart, I would have used corner brackets on the inside, so you couldn't see them, but the sides were already insulated and I didn't want to mess with that.
I also drilled a hole in the back piece, then cut it in half so I could slide the bottom half in, mount the compressor, then slide the top half in.
Here it is with all of this assembled:
Once the compressor was mounted, I finished up the insulation and put FRP (fiber-reinforced plastic) on over the insulation.
Then it was time to work on the top. The top is 1.5" thick x 27" wide x 30" deep edge grain maple. I insulated it to fit inside the chamber and covered it with FRP.
Once insulated, I mortised out a small section on the 2x6 in the back and the top for the barrel of a hinge. I mounted the top and started work on insulating the front. Without a door, I could see about 1" of insulation that was sticking out past the face frame of the door. To this I glued a .75" thick piece of insulation. I then insulated the rest of the inside, installed the last of the FRP and caulked it.
The last few steps were to get the front of the drawer off so I could reattach it to the chamber, which was easier than I expected.
And finally I glued them to the front. You can see I cut a couple of blocks that gave me the correct distance from the ground for the bottom door, and then a couple more for the drawer front. Using band clamps, I kept it all in place while it dried.
In the end, here is how it turned out.
Very neat. I'll be doing something similar once I stop being so lazy.
Nice Job, Very cool
Is the top a working cutting surface (butcher block style) or just another cabinet top work surface?
That looks phenomenal. Well done!
Thanks. It was actually easier than I thought but insulating things always takes 3 times longer than you initially think.
Nice clean build. I am currently building a fermentation chamber using an old armoire. I like the idea of using several thinner pieces of foam board - cutting the 2" stuff has been the bane of my existence for the past week. How thick and how expensive was that FRP? I might consider lining mine with it if it doesn't throw off the measurements much.
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