JSBULL's Keezer Build

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JSBULL

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Well, this was my first metalworking and first woodworking project. I'm surprised the wife approved it, but it turned out well. Here's how it all went down.

First, the finished product:
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So, I started by making a rolling base. I later had to find a way to cut it off because the swivel wheels hit the trim work and created issues. I replaced it with 2 small furniture dollies, which work wonderfully. So, my advice would be to do that up front. They are cheap at Harbor Freight and super easy.

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I then bought some 2" black pipe and fittings from Grainger (expensive) and cut a rectangle section out of the long piece. I found an old muffler pipe that was scrap at a friend's place, ground it clean and cut it in a size just larger than the slot in the pipe. I had to tap the pipe and drill the cover to fit properly. It was a hair away from not fitting, but I got lucky.

Note that to cut the pipe, we tried a plasma torch first, but went with a grinder in the end to get a better (smoother) cut.
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Following the cutting, I used a drill press and carefully drilled the holes in the cover for my faucets.

Then the woodwork started. I did pretty simple cuts and staining for the trim. I used birch plywood for the panels and painted it with chalkboard paint. I glued and used small screws to attach the birch to the freezer, then attached the trim. My brother-in-law helped me route paths in the birch for the ventilation. By some miracle, the routed slots lined up perfectly with the vent slots.

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JSBULL

JSBULL

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The big work I hadn't bargained for was the top. I bought 1/2 in. x 4 in. x 4 ft. Weathered Hardwood Board from Home Depot and used a miter saw to cut small pieces from it. I then laid them all out on some birch to make it fit and trimmed the final side straight. I then glued all of those pieces down on the birch over the next couple of days with a lot of patience. After that, it was the task of getting it mounted to the top of the freezer, which required some clamps and glue.

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The next part was the scary part. I had to measure, decide and drill holes with a hole saw for the pipes and tap lines. This was nerve racking. Measure twice and cut once, right? Nope, measure 25 times and cut once. One thing to know is that the pipes are super heavy. So there was consideration about where to put them so that they would offer a bit of balance to the lid. I also realized that I needed sturdy handles, so I built those out of black pipe fittings and used much longer screws than needed to install them. They hold the front trim onto the top of the keezer more than the glue and nails do.

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(continued in next post)
 
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JSBULL

JSBULL

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One of the tricky things was securing the top so that the heavy weight didn't break the lid off of the back or crush my head while I was working inside the keezer. I thought I would just need a chain, but I didn't realize that it was more forward weighted than I expected. Therefore, I needed some type of lift/bar. I tried hydraulics used for trunks and hatches, but they were too strong. I finally settled on a chain to keep it from over extending and a simple bar I rigged up out of Home Depot junk to work like the bar that holds up a car hood.

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Well, everything worked out in the end. I installed the Perlick faucets to the lines and everything fit well. There was definitely luck involved. Now I needed some tap handles. I had searched the web for weeks to find tap handles that fit the theme. With the bourbon barrelesque theme, I felt like I needed some color. I found this guy on Etsy that makes tap handles out of recycled skateboards. I commissioned him to make 6 custom for me with the colors shown, in the size I needed to make it work. They were perfect!

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Finally, my buddy Brett did some art work in chalk to help identify the beer and we were set.

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The End.
 
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JSBULL

JSBULL

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Nice.
I especially like the detail and photos providing your step by step process/trials.
Thanks. I learned a lot from different message board posts, so I thought I'd give back a little. No reason to have others repeat my mistakes.

I originally planned to make this an Instructable How-To, but after facing a few early setbacks, I realized that it was going to take twice as long if I recorded every step. These pics were the compromise.
 

Jtk78

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Really nice build. I envision a lot of beer in Bretts future, especially when a new keg goes in this beauty.
 

mongoose33

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Very nice. I like the sort of steampunk look of pipe towers like this.

How are you chilling the lines inside the tower? I see they're insulated coming out of the lower part of the keezer. Do you blow cold air through there, or what?
 
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JSBULL

JSBULL

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Very nice. I like the sort of steampunk look of pipe towers like this.

How are you chilling the lines inside the tower? I see they're insulated coming out of the lower part of the keezer. Do you blow cold air through there, or what?

Thanks.

I'm actually not controlling the temp in the pipes. I had a couple of different plans, but in the end, it wasn't needed. I did use insulation which helps some, but that was more to keep condensation from forming on the pipes.

What I've found is that the first 2-3 oz of the first pour are a bit warmer than ideal, but if you're filling a glass, it levels the temp out nicely. So if I'm doing tasters for people, I'll dump the first couple of ounces. If it's a 1/2 - full pour, it's not an issue.
 

craigzyc

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I took some definite inspiration from this for mine. Thanks JSBULL

PrbXxtK
 

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