Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Outdoor Cedar Cooler

My wife came across an outdoor cedar cooler for the back porch.  She sent me a link to one and then asked me to make one like it.  As always, it got away from me. I made two of them at the same time.  One was for my wife and the other was for my sister in law and her new husband as a wedding present.  

Side View

Lots of plans are out there, but having made one without using a cooler, I would do it again using a cooler.  I made mine going a little over the top, which I would not do again to make it easier.  For example, mine was made totally out of cedar (2x4 or 1x6 fencing) and galvanized outdoor decking screws.  I used a Kreg pocket hole jig to make certain none of the screw showed.  This added a lot of work, but was worth it.  The bottom had a shelf, which was a great feature.  All of the boards were sanded with 80 grit paper.  This kept a rough look, without being so rough one could hurt themselves. I used a tub and insulated it, but if I do it again, I will search garage sales/ Craig's list for older square coolers.  The tub was insulated by both pink Styrofoam and that expanding foam from a can.  Once all done, I then applied some water sealant and keep it covered on the back porch. 

Groove Cuts for the top boards

Bottom part is done

Top Part before putting on handle

Inside the tub

I overdid the supports

Finished Front with bottom shelf

Top down view of tub

Insulation on lid

My push block

Push sticks such as this are not as safe as push blocks such as this when feeding wood into a table saw.  The main reason being that the longer push blocks allow for downward force along the wood and provides for less chance to slip than a stick.

Lots of designs can be found on the internet for them, such as here.  I had a reciprocating saw break on me and I saved the handle to make my own.  Below are pictures of it. I had some 1" pressed board and made it out of it.  One thing very nice is that it allows me to have 16" of wood pushing down on the piece I am cutting.  In addition, the my hand is unlikely to slip from the large handle. 

Fancy wooden USB wall outlet cover

So someone at work gave me a combination USB /120 wall outlet.  I have been wanting to get one to put in by our kitchen; however, it was white and the ones in the room were the almond.  Being a different color, I did not want to install it.  With that, I decided to build a wooden box for it with the intention of my wife bringing it to work and use it there.

I think that it turned out really nice and was a good project to work on. At the bottom I put in there some information on how I made it.  I almost wonder about selling them. I found something similar for $25; however to me it looked like it was made in 6th grade wood shop class.  If they sell for that, I should be able to sell them for much more. 

The Outlet on the desk

View of outlet

Different View

Back of Outlet

To start with, I used a metal handy box bought from a local big box store.  I had a spare 16 gauge 3-prong outlet.  I put the cord through a metal clamp and wired it up correctly.  I am not showing that, but there are plenty of places that can tell you how to do it correctly.

One not of warning.  Do it properly, DO NOT make this with an plug without a ground wire. 

Once I figured out the length of board (1x4) to use, I first ran the face that would show through my planer and then used a power planer on the one narrow to smooth out the sides that would show.  Then I cut a grove in it ~1/2" from one side to allow the faceplate to rest in.  I believe this gives it a polished look.  Next I used a 1/4" round to round out the two sides that would show.  the four sides were cut on the table saw using a 45 degree cut to also give a polished look.  Three of the sides were then put together with glue and 23-guage pin nails to hold it while the glue dried.  A piece of oak vainer plywood was cut to fix in the groves loose, followed by cutting the hole for the outlet cover.  I made the plywood piece fit loose so it could move to get the final location of the outlet centered in the correct place. Once it would fit correctly, I then put it into the grove and put the 4th side on with glue and nails.  The nail holes were covered with wood puddy and then it got stain and 2 coats of polyurethane.  The outlet was put into the box and held in place with some cleats & shims.  Once it was good, a small strip was nailed in the back to hold it in place.  Once done, I realized I should have put on a back.  I added this as an afterthought, but should have done in the first place.