Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kegerators and Keezers > The Billy Bar, aka, Building an Articulated Tap Tower Keezer Without a Collar
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:55 PM   #1
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Default The Billy Bar, aka, Building an Articulated Tap Tower Keezer Without a Collar

So I recently mourned the loss of my beloved bar that I built in '06. And I had since moved and the old one didn't fit right anyway, I decided it was time for a new bar to sit in my dining room. I love the idea of a kegerator/keezer setup since it can fit in a house and you can make it look nice, but I've never been a fan of the collar setup with the shanks running through. Mind you, I don't mean to knock all the gorgeous setups out there with those, I just have always preferred the look of the tap tower sitting on top, inviting me to come drink.

However, as with the first bar, I knew that one of the big reasons people seem to do the collar is that a tap tower mounted on a chest freezer smacks the wall when you open the keezer. So if you're determined to have a tap tower, you can leave it out in the middle of the floor (tacky) or slide it out every time you need to get inside (total P.I.T.A./ not always an option). So I came up with a design that allows you to slide it out easily, open it up, and then slide it back into hiding inside an otherwise nice looking piece of furniture. When people see it they don't think "oh there's a fridge" they think "wow, cool bar!" That's what I wanted. And I wanted it to be sufficiently awesome to house my baby: a gorgeous antique brass tap tower that I bought out of a bar up North.

I did my best to document the adventure with pics and I hope to see more people join my "no collar" bar movement. Perhaps someone else has done one similar, but I've never seen it so I thought I'd do a write-up on my adventure. I used all my good ideas on inventing this and ran out when it came time to name it, so for now it's just "Billy's bar," after my nickname. I'll start with a picture of the end result, and then move onto the construction.


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Old 05-23-2013, 05:00 PM   #2
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Alright, so here is the beginning of the project: gathering all of the materials. I built the cabinet and the shelves out of birch panels from the local big box hardware store and trimmed it out with what appeared to be some manner of pine. The following pics are of the tray that holds the keezer itself and how it slides out.


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Old 05-23-2013, 05:03 PM   #3
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Now I'm starting to frame out skeleton of the moving portion of the bar. This will provide support for the front which will make more sense later.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:06 PM   #4
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Now it's starting to look like something! Well, mostly just a box. But a box with very pretty wood grain. The front piece is the floating or moving piece and the sides and backs are stationary. And when the top is mounted, it too will "float."
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:09 PM   #5
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At this point the base of the sides, back, front and top. The top and front will move when you slide out the keezer, while the sides and back stay in place. This will make more sense later.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:16 PM   #6
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Now onto the wine racks and lighted liquor shelves. I designed the bar to have a mirrored set of shelves on each side to give me four shelves for liquor (or more specifically scotch, my other vice) as well as 42 slots for wine. The wine shelf parts took almost as much time as every other part of the bar since I had to cut out each individual piece as shown below. I'm sure someone will come along and say "well hell, why didn't you just..." and give me some idea that would have saved a million or so hours buuuut that's how custom work goes for me: I make it up as I go. There are some pics of me testing out the placement of the sides, but I ended up going another direction prior to the final mounting. Everything but the wine slots is birch. The slots themselves are some manner of high grade pine.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:22 PM   #7
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Alright, so in these pics I have

1)Added the back to the side shelves. These entire side units come off for moving this thing into my house, which if you're wondering, is a feat I would call "Herculean" or maybe "Impossible." The problem of a sturdy overengineered thing like this is the weight of it which, I would guess from having moved it, is somewhere in the aircraft carrier tonnage range.
2)Decided to switch up the arrangement of the sides. I think it looks more balanced with the wine toward the inside and the liquor/scotch shelves on the side. I've also started trimming out the bottom.
3)Finally finished the trim all around, including the trim on the front which helps push it closer to "piece of furniture" instead of "pretty wooden box."
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:35 PM   #8
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Time for stain. I was aiming for a classy old pub feel to this thing so I consulted with my buddy Dan who does cabinets and knows everything there ever was to know about all things wood. He inspired me to use this Epifanes stuff which they use on wooden boats and yachts to create a very durable and water protected finish since, surprise surprise, there are the occasional spills on a bar. It's bombproof stuff, but pricey. I paid about 40 or so for a quart, plus about 25-30 for the thinner.

I went with an English Chestnut stain on the bar and used two stain coats before I started using a part stain, part finish coat. I think I probably have 6 coats of the finish on there after it was all said and done. The pics at the top show the part thinner, part stain going on. It really added a nice depth to the woodgrain though the pics don't quite capture it.

And by the way, if you ever get an opportunity to stain 42 individual wine bottle slots with several coats, you should just set yourself on fire instead.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:36 PM   #9
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That is super fancy! Good work! I really dig the wine racks on the side.

Hmmm I think you have inspired me to make a wine rack this summer.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:44 PM   #10
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Wow that's a really cool build! Can you post a pic of the finished product with the freezer slid out?


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