I never understand why some things I build are so much more fun to make than other things, and this standing drink cooler was one of those "surpriose" fun builds. It is meant to be somewhat rustic, after all, it is an outdoor furniture piece, and a great compliment to the Barbecue or backyard grill that is a great place for entertainment and enjoyment.
The concept is simple, find a square plastic container suitable to hold ice, then build a free standing, waist level stand to hold it, give it a lid and in no time you have a standing cooler.
For this build I used pocket holes and suitable screws. I prefer pocket hole technology for out door projects as they hold well and if they become loose over time, the screws can be easily tightened.
My experience in using glues, even outdoor glues, has been less than satisfactory, but maybe I am expecting too much from them. I not found a glue that holds for more than a couple or three seasons. Perhaps there are marine glues that hold better, but I think the problem is less with the glue and more with the fact that the glue doesn't seem to want to bond ... long term with the wood ... but I digress.
On with the build. For this project I selected construction grade fir from the lumber store. Yes, cedar would be better, but this unit will last for many, many years, even out in the weather, before it needs to be replaced. Cedar would outlast it, but regardless it will need to be replaced in a few years so I opted for fir.
The first thing I found was a plastic container to use that was large enough to hold ice and drinks. I made sure in measuring that I would still have enough room on the sides of the plastic tray to lift it out of the box to dump the used ice or water. I was able to find 1"x6" fir that I could get away with only using 2 horizontal planks for each side and I even used pocket holes to secure these together.
I cut out all the pieces, then took a few minutes to secure wood spacer strips to each side so I could stain them all before assembly.It is much easier to finish many projects like this before they are assembled because you get better coverage and it is much easier to finish raw boards than assembled boards.
So, I made sure all my pocket holes were drilled ahead of time, then finished all the raw boards and waited for the stain to dry.
Assembly was pretty easy, just a matter of attaching all the boards together like a big 3D jigsaw puzzle.
Once all the legs were attached and leveled, it's time for the fun stuff, adding the details and decorating. I attached the hinges, then the handle and even put on a stopper chain so that the lid would not be get forced back and loose or tear out some of the screws in the hinges ... just a cautionary move. I also made a wooden towel rack for the side, a nice addition to dry your hands or your drink that may have been sitting in ice water for a couple of hours. What would really be fun to see it how other people would decorate a unit like this, baseball stickers, football pennants and memorabilia .. the list could be endless.
I couldn't have been more pleased with the finished project ... it's a perfect height at 3 feet and not only does it look good in it's rustic form, it's a great addition to summer entertainment and events and a perfect compliment for your sundeck or patio parties.
Copyright - Colin Knecht