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.
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.
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.
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.