Tuesday, December 6, 2011

DIY Wooden Beer Case

I'm on the Instructables weekly mailing list, and a couple months ago I saw a neat project someone had built- home made wooden beer bottle cases. I thought this would be a great Christmas gift for my brother, who is an avid home beer brewing enthusiast. Shh, don't tell....

The instructable project was nice project, but I thought for a gift I needed to kick it up a notch or two. For one, the referenced project used simple screw and glue construction to join the four sides of the case together. That works great, but isn't the prettiest. I thought I'd try dovetailed joint construction instead. I've never tried it, but I thought it would be a great skill to learn. It also a much nicer looking and stronger joint.

I picked up a General Tools dovetail jig from Home Depot. It's pretty basic, but much cheaper than a nicer setup from Rockler. Since the sides of the crate are 12" tall, you have to reposition the jig three times per side. A bit time-consuming, but not a big deal. Once the board is clamped in the jig, you use the included router bit to form the "tails" and "pins" of the joint. I chose to use a half-blind dovetail, with the exposed tails on the handle side of the beer crate.

I sized the crate to fit 12x standard beer bottles. I discovered shorty Sierra Nevadas don't fit, but anything "normal" will fit fine. The sides are constructed from 1"x12" pine, and the bottom, sliding cover, and internal dividers are made from 1/4" birch plywood.

The internal dividers are cut from 1/4" birch plywood ripped to 6" tall strips, cut to length, then notched so they lock together. I didn't glue them together or to the box so they can be easily removed if necessary.

Crate 1 of 2 ready for finishing!

To finish it off, I'm planning on using T-shirt iron-on transfer paper to print out some custom brewery decals and iron them on to the wood. That should really add some nice personalization to the project. There is a nice article also on Instructables about this technique