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Old 01-06-2013, 02:12 AM   #1
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Default Jersh's Coffin keezer build - second attempt

I built my first coffin keezer back in the summer of 2010 using an old Whirlpool freezer that was the perfect size to hold 6 cornies on the floor and 2 on the hump with a collar. It was my first attempt at a project like this and I learned A LOT from the build. Unfortunately the compressor crapped out on the freezer about this time last year and I was forced to scrap the entire thing due to the way I built it. Using my Sawzall to tear apart that keezer was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I tried to get it fixed but nobody would even come out to look at it because it was fully encased in tongue-and-groove pine paneling and the freezer couldn't be removed.

Which leads me to the three key lessons I learned from my first build. 1) Build the cabinet so that the freezer can be easily removed if necessary. 2) Use a freezer that you can easily swap out with a same-sized unit if needed. 3) Use a new or relatively new freezer, not one that is 10+ years old.

My original keezer had a 6 inch collar that was connected to the freezer with liquid nails. I attached the t & g pine directly to the collar and also to the base that I build. There was a small plastic ridge around the upper lip of the freezer that I didn't account for so there was also a small buldge in paneling, creating a small gap of about 0.5 cm between the panels and the freezer skin. The pine would get pretty warm while the compressor was running and I'm pretty sure that this caused the compressor to run much more than it should have, and this is what caused the compressor to die.

I am now embarking on my second attempt at a coffin keezer build, armed with much more knowledge, better tools, and a fair amount more wood working experience than I had in 2010 with my first build. I will be using the 7.0 GE freezer that has been used by many others. This unit was attractive to me because it can hold 4 on the floor and one on the hump (I will be putting a 2.5 or 3 gallon on the hump). I considered the 8.8 and 10.2 Danby freezers but am trying to keep the scale of this build a little smaller than my last build. I picked up a used 7.0 GE from Craigslist for $100, it's 2 years old and is in very good condition.

I was initially worried that SWMBO would not allow me to build a new keezer, however she is in full support of my build. In fact, she even surprised me with an AWESOME idea that I hadn't even considered. There was really only one place in our house that I could put this keezer and that was in the landing directly inside of the front door, it would literally be the first thing you saw when you can in the house. I was fine with it being there but SWMBO wasn't so sure. We kept the first keezer in the living room until our son was born in Sept 2011, it was then moved into my office. The office has since been converted to a playroom for our son and we have changed the layout of our living room and the keezer will no longer fit. SWMBO's idea was to sell the formal dining room table and put the keezer in that room, converting the space to more of a bar/game room. I was shocked when she suggested this but it's perfect. We have only used the dining room table 3 times in the 2 years since we moved in to this house, so we will not miss it. The only downer is that I'm probably going to loose my a$$ on the table, I paid $1800 new for it and will be doing good if I get $1000 for it.

Anyways, enough of my long winded first post. I will be starting construction this week and hope to get most of the cabinet and lid built. I will try to take as many photos as possible and will post them back here as I have time.

In loving memory of my first keezer, here is a photo of her after I finished construction.... I eventually added a 5th nitro tap in the middle.

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Old 01-06-2013, 03:45 AM   #2
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Nice work. Hope you choose the same stain on #2. Did you have to burn some of the wood to get the dark spots?

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Old 01-06-2013, 01:54 PM   #3
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Thanks Bilc16.... I do plan on using the same stain for the new build, however all visible surfaces will be oak instead of the cheap pine/white wood that I used on the first build. No burning for the dark spots on v.1, just crappy wood that was a PITA to stain

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:58 PM   #4
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Well at least you have something to look forward to and keep you occupied. Oh wait, you have a son who is now nearing 1.5yrs old...your hands are already full! That means no sawing or hammering after he is sleeping and you'll have to baby-proof everything and block all the stairs and keep everything out of his reach...and...and...and I went through all that back in the 90s and wish I could do it again. But now, one is in her 3rd yr of college and the other is a Jr in High School. Now that I think about it I stopped brewing beer shortly after my 2nd daughter was born and sold all my stuff which included quite a few cornies and keggles. I started brewing again in 2009.

BTW, that stain color will look very nice. If you like a big bold grain in your wood, oak will be a good choice. I believe the GE has a vent on the side like my Magic Chef which I believe is just a re-branded GE. I went to HD and bought a wooden AC register and mounted it into the side where that vent is. I also built a bottom into my lower frame instead of just going with the furniture dolly type structure. The freezer slides in and out of the entire structure with ease. I left several inches of air gap on the sides and front.

The 2.5gal kegs are a good idea and I have two of them. They both fit right on the hump with no collar. One of them hangs off just a little but I still have room for at least three 5gals on the floor. I posted a photo below of my 7.0 Magic Chef with two 5s and two 2.5s. A third 5 will fit on the floor with two 2.5s on the shelf. I'm told that it will hold four 5s on the floor, but not with that 2.5 hanging off the shelf. One more thing: the 2.5s are stackable, but they are too tall and will require a collar even sitting on the floor of the keezer.

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Old 01-06-2013, 03:34 PM   #5
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Thanks Limulus, your posts are where I actually learned about those 2.5 gallon cornies. I haven't ordered any yet but will be ordering at least 2 soon.

My design is going to incorporate a hidden 4 inch collar that will serve 2 purposes... first is to allow for stacking the 2.5 gallon cornies on the floor, and 2nd is for a place to route my gas lines from outside to inside... In my original build I included a hidden compartment on the side with the compressor vent and stored my CO2 and beer gas tanks there instead inside or out in the open. With this build I'm going to take it a step further and mount my two secondary regulators and 2 air distributors on the outside as well.

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Old 01-07-2013, 01:53 AM   #6
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Well I guess I've officially started construction, albeit this first step is a baby step. I picked up the 1x4s that will be used for the collar as well as a piece of 3/4" MDF that will be the bar top/lid. I put a few coats of paint on the sides that will be 'inside' to hopefully help seal the wood from any potential condensation/moisture that may build. I'm using 1x4 for the collar to shave a few pounds of lid-weight. I'm debating whether I should use a 2x4 for the rear portion of the collar since that will be holding the full weight of the lid when it's open...



Here is what I plan on using for the bar top...



I've been collecting caps for the last year and also had one of the bartenders at my local beer bar save caps for me as well. I calculated that I would need 680 to cover the entire top, not accounting for the coffin. Not sure if I have enough here, these are the ones that I sorted out, I have about 2x this many in another bucket that I culled out that I can get into if needed.

And last but certainly not least, I thought it was appropriate to crack one of my homebrews... This is my KBS clone that I barrel-aged in a 5 gallon whiskey barrel from a local distillery.

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Old 01-10-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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Well I snuck out of work a few hours early today and stopped at Lowe's to get most of the lumber and hardware that I'll need for this build. They didn't have enough decent 1x4 red oak so I'll have to go searching for more at a different store but I got enough to get started. I also picked up this bad boy, it's a Kobalt 10" Sliding Compound miter saw... I had previously been using an older Craftsman saw, this new saw blows that old saw out of the water.



After making a bunch of test cuts on scrap lumber to make sure the new saw was properly aligned I got started on attaching 1x4's to the MDF top. Here are the front and sides glued and clamped. I'll attach the back later, the back isn't as important to me right now.



The angles for this saw are spot on, here is one of my mitered corners



I also put in some 1 1/4" screws up through the bottom to provide additional support. This photo is looking up from underneath. The next step will be to wrap the front and sides with 1x6s, I will tackle that tomorrow or Saturday after the glue has a day to fully cure.

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Old 01-11-2013, 11:20 AM   #8
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If you haven't gotten too far yet, I'd ditch the MDF. A) heavy as all hell, B) once any moisture hit it, it's toast. If you get any condensation build up on the back, or any leaks anywhere, and you'll be hosed.

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Old 01-11-2013, 02:48 PM   #9
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I also used a little MDF and particle board on my build. The particle board is being used as my top and I used some MDF on my coffin. I veneered the MDF with Mahogany and Mottled Mokore. It has a really good barrier on it, but moisture will eventually find a way in. As for the particle board...I simply coated the hell out of it with Kilz primer and am hoping it lasts...at least a couple of years.

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Old 01-13-2013, 01:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfess1 View Post
If you haven't gotten too far yet, I'd ditch the MDF. A) heavy as all hell, B) once any moisture hit it, it's toast. If you get any condensation build up on the back, or any leaks anywhere, and you'll be hosed.
I think I'm far enough into it that I don't want to ditch the MDF.... I wonder if coating the entire inner surface with this stuff would be sufficient to protect from moisture: http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=563
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