I built my first keezer in 2010. At the time I was living with my wife in a one bedroom apartment. I don’t remember how I spun it, but I managed to convince her a 4-tap keezer would save space. It was built with an 8.8 cu ft black freezer and some oak 1×12 to make a tall collar, stained red. I had a few tools and less experience at the time, but I put together a nice keezer that lasted eight years. Sadly I had to say goodbye to my original keezer last year as it wouldn’t drop below 45F, and even then it would run constantly.
Faced with needing a new keezer and having a lot more build experience, I wanted to do this one 100x better. This build will be a multi-part process. The ultimate goal is to build a bar-top with coffin box, and make it a real show piece. I want to be able to sit around this on bar stools with friends, maybe even with enough room to play some board games.
Part one will be to build a new lid. The keezer lid will be the basis of everything else that I do. I need to be able to run beer lines through it, attach the bar surface, and coffin box. Challenges I’ll face include finding a way to open it without the lid being too heavy and maintaining easy access to the kegs inside.
Building a Keezer Lid
To start with I picked up an Insignia 10.2cu ft chest freezer. I have experience with this unit as I have one as a proper chest freezer. It has space for 6 kegs on the floor with room to spare, and easily one 3 gallon keg on the hump if not two. If you can wait you can get them on sale. I got this one for $180.
I wanted a lid made of wood to replace the existing lid. My immediate need is to be able to run gas lines through it to have my CO2 tank on the outside. The lid won’t be visible once the build is done, but I still want it well built as I’ll be looking at it for a while before I finish the project.
The parts list on this is pretty basic:
- 2x – 2×4, 8ft length, finished pine
- 2x – 2′ x 4′ half inch plywood
- 1x – 4′ x 8′ sheet of half inch pink insulation board
- Rubber weather stripping
- Leftover 2″ and 1.25″ decking screws from when I rebuilt my desk last year to hold it all together
- Liquid nails to attach the insulation
The lip on which the lid rests is wider than the wood I’m using to frame the lid, so I opted to cut it to fill the space to the outermost edge. I also decided to get a little fancy and hide the screws behind plugs. I’d bought plug cutters for a different project, so I already had them on hand. I used a Forstner bit to sink the screws in about a half inch.
If you don’t own any corner braces, don’t do another project without them. I bought the cheap Harbor Freight ones and I have used the hell out of them. They make lining up your corners simple as can be, and they even hold it all firmly in place for drilling or gluing. Seriously, go buy some right now. You can even use them to better line up slightly warped wood, as I did on this build. The board weren’t perfectly flat, but I could force them into alignment and lock them in place with the braces. From there all I needed to do was screw them together and they were perfectly aligned.
After getting the initial frame built, I realised I might need a center brace for structural stability of the lid surface. I had plenty of the framing board left, so I added a center brace.
The size of this keezer lid was about 44″ x 25″, so just too big for one 4′ x 2′ plywood board to cover it. I bought two and cut them down to equal sizes. I’m sure I’ll find uses for the extra wood.
To keep the insulating properties of a chest freezer lid in tact, I picked up a 4′ x 8′ sheet of 0.5″ pink rigid foam board. I could have gone with 1.5″ or 2″ thick, but then I would have had a lot of extra material. The 0.5″ sheet allowed me to layer it in and use almost the entire sheet. I ended up with 2″ of layered insulation in the lid.
While the glue was setting on the insulation boards, I attached the weather stripping to act as the lid gasket. My previous keezer used foam strips also intended to be weather insulation. I found it to be lacking in structural integrity and eventually it just kind of squished and stayed that way. It generally worked, just never looked great. This time I opted for a slightly wider rubber seal. So far I am very happy with it, but we’ll see how well it holds up.
Once everything was set, I removed the original lid and placed the new lid on the keezer. The fit was excellent, pushing right to the edges of the freezer’s wide lip. The weather stripping held in place nicely and appeared to have a nice seal. The freezer comes with three hinges, which is way overkill for the standard lid, but I’m happy for it with the extra weight of my new lid. The hinges manage to hold the new lid up perfectly, so I won’t need a rod to prop it open while I am swapping kegs.
The final task for the keezer lid build is to run my CO2 lines in. My 20 lb tank doesn’t fit inside with any number of kegs, it’s just too tall. I like having the tank outside anyway, and am already setup to run it that way. I drilled two 5/8″ holes through the back of the lid to pass a hose from each of my regulators through. Those lines split into 3 and 4 line manifolds inside the keezer. I need to find a mounting solution for the manifolds inside, but that will be a later stage of the process.
After putting this all together I realised I didn’t have a handle to open and close the keezer lid. It was doable without a handle, but it was a little awkward. A quick trip to the store solved it with a chest style handle.