Had some time this weekend and i've been staring at the top and stem that i cut from one of my kegs trying to find out what to use it for or throw away. Figured i'd give a beer tree a shot.
First things first, here's what i used:
Keg lid: on-hand.
Keg stem: on-hand.
5 feet of 1 inch pvc pipe 2.38 Lowes.
5 feet of 1/2 inch cpvc pipe: 2.39 Lowes.
46 no-rust screws: on-hand.
Spare hobby wood plank: on-hand. (decoration only)
Old plastic bowl: on-hand.
Massive Note: I would have had an easier time if i had not thrown away the spring that was in the top of the keg valve to get the stem out.
First: inverted the keg stem. The only thing keeping you from mounting the stem upside down on the base is the tabs... easily cut off.
Now here's where the spring comes in. I didnt save mine so i was forced to try and find another way to mount the stem. I tried numerous ways... first off was to try and drill a hole for a bolt but that is some thick steel around the base and the head of the stem so i gave that up fairly quickly.
In the end i found that i could insert nailheads into the spring groove, secure the nails with metal rings (small lengths of metal spring) and cut the nails so they werent in the way.
I figured 3 feet would be good for the tree, with five bottles per row in a shifting pattern. That came out to eight rows of five for forty bottles.
I had some leftover pvc and cpvc so i did some tests and found that 1 inch of cpvc at a 45 degree angle held a bottle very, very well even when shaken hard or bumped, so i went with 1.25 inches per stem just for the extra piece of mind.
Attaching the pvc was pretty easy. Lopping off the stem to about 3 inches, then drilling the stem itself (much thinner than the base) to secure it with three screws.
The cut stems were deburred (warning of repetition disorder ugh) and drilled.
To measure out the stem placement, i cut a 1.25 inch hold in a spare piece of wood and marked the five evenly spaced points around the hole. Then just measured where each row should be on the pvc pipe, marked it, and ran up the pole rotating the markings just a bit.
At that point it was just finding an old plastic bowl, drilling a hole in the center and placing it at the bottom of the tree, beneath the pvc pipe and reattaching.
But i thought it would be a good idea to start on my custom tap handle and use it until i finally got my kegerator built.