After spending months searching through keezer builds in this forum I have finally decided to take the plunge and try to build one. Hopefully this thread will give future keezer builders inspiration or at least give you ideas on what not to do. Thank you to everyone on this site who has ever taken the time to document their build as I know I wouldnt have been able to do this otherwise.
For this build I have turned to my grandfather who has spent his entire career as a machinist building airplanes and making furniture pieces on the side. He knows a little something about everything and has a shop with any tool you could ever want. I couldnt think of a better way to spend time with my grandfather and learn a little in the process.
I have chosen the GE 7.0 cu. ft freezer for this project because it seems to be one of the more well documented freezers on this site. I will be able to get 4 corny kegs in the floor (tightly) with a 5 lb CO2 Tank on the hump without the need for a collar. We have been working on this for about 3 weeks now so I will post pictures of our progress so far and when everything is finished I will try to compile a parts list with pricing info.
We started by building the base out of 2x4s. The base is larger than the freezer by the width of a 2x4 all the way around in order to let air flow around the freezer.
The design of the base was taken from another build in this forum where the side boards are raised up from the cross boards. This was done so that casters can be mounted while minimizing the height the keezer is lifted off of the ground. The end result will look like the keezer is barely off the ground and the casters will not be visible.
In order to mount the side panels to the keezer we built a frame that will screw into the base and the panels will be attached to the frame from the rear. This could really be done in any number of ways but my grandfather wanted to teach me to make box joints. The joints are very strong but very difficult to make. You have to do a lot of fine tuning to your jig to get the spacing just right.
This is what the side frames look like dry fitted.
Finished frame dry fitted. It is a lot easier to mount these frames to the panels first and then screw into the base
A few notes: If I had to do it over again I would probably do something else for the base. 2x4s were an easy solution but as with any dimensional lumber like this it is hard to get everything straight. We spent a lot of time making adjustments so that everything would sit even without any rocking.
We found a great deal on walnut from a local saw mill for $2.80 a board foot. The reason for the low price is that there is a lot of sapwood (lighter color wood) in these pieces. If you were making a high end kitchen you would probably avoid these boards but I happen to think it looks interesting and it beats the heck the $5-8 a board foot that you would normally pay for walnut. The boards were rough cut lumber so we had to straighten and plane all of them down to 3/4" boards. It is a lot of work when compared to just buying finished lumber but what is the fun in that?
We made raised panels for the front and sides of the keezer so the first thing we had to do was glue the boards together for the panels using biscuits and wood glue.
We then made the stiles and rails for outside frame of the panels and used the router table to cut out the slots for the panels.
Finished frame for the panels.
We then routed the panels and set everything up to glue and assemble. This is a two person job.
I'm still trying to get caught up on the progress we made so far. This post should bring the build up through last weekend and I will have more from the work we do today and tomorrow.
This is what I was referring to in my last post when I said it is much easier to attach the frames to the panels and then assemble the frames together with the panels already attached.
Once we attached all the panels together we set it on the base. The one concern that I had been having since the start of this project was that there was still nothing holding the freezer in place. You could pretty easily slide the freezer forward and I didn't want to be moving the unit around in the future only to have things shift around. I solved this problem in the next step by adding a collar around the top and by screwing in spacers on the base to hold everything in place.
I will start out by saying that I wish I could go back and incorporate this internal collar into my original design. If we had planned for it then we could have made it look a lot better but 99% of the time the top will be closed anyways so it doesn't really matter. The idea for the collar came soon after we put the panels on the base because within 5 minutes I had already dropped something in the gap. I immediately realized that if I left a gap I would inevitably drop something important in there in the future and have to take the whole thing apart to get it. The added benefit of this collar is that it also completely eliminated the movement of the freezer coupled with the spacers at the bottom.
Once we completed the panels we cut a piece of 1/2 inch hardwood plywood for the top and began to lay out a prototype for the coffin box. Up until this point everything was pretty straight forward but once you have to start thinking about things like "where will my lines run", "how do I circulate air", "how far apart should my taps be", etc. progress really slows down.
One of the hard things to decide was tap spacing and height. Ultimately we chose to build a coffin 20" wide and have the taps 4" on center. I looked at several builds in the forums and ultimately decided to have the center of the shanks at 12" in height. It is very helpful to have all of these pieces in hand to get a good visual for coffin design.
Below is the completed prototype for the coffin. One of the things that I was battling with in this build was coffin depth. I am doing a tile backsplash with under mount lighting and when you add in the faucets, 4"+ shanks, 4" cooling fans and 1/2 inch foam insulation you end up needing a pretty deep coffin box. My coffin is about 11.75" deep and the faucets will extend out to about 13" which is half the depth of my table top. I think it will look pretty good in the end but one thing I might would reconsider in a future build is smaller fans. My fans are probably overkill and it would save me an inch or so to get smaller ones.