I’m an avid fan of woodworking shows on Youtube. One day while I noticed a link for “funwithwoodworking” for his “Project - How to make a rustic cedar ice chest / cooler box!” and I was impressed with his design and the simplicity of it all.
I used 11 cedar pickets at $2.25 a piece. I think mine were shorter than the ones he used, because I had initially only purchased the 8 he specified. I decided to leave them raw and unfinished. I used the lengths mentioned in the video, however, I decided to not use the 5-1/4” dimensions specified in the video, and instead I left the pickets at 5-1/2” long instead. It really wasn’t intended to have the high tolerances needed to fit the Igloo cooler he used, so I made it easier on myself and left that 1/4” on the boards. I used a scrap piece of Douglas Fir for the lip around the top panel for rigidity, and to avoid running to the big box store an extra time.
All cuts were made on my band saw.
Instead of using a pre-made cooler, I decided to truly make this all original. I used 1” pink insulating foam from the big box store and bought a roll of 14”x25’ of aluminum flange material for roofing, and wrapped the foam in it on one side. Before attaching the foam sides to the picket, I sprayed the inside of the box with the spray-rubber”Flex Seal” coating to aid with any leaks that might happen. Then It was a matter of epoxying that to the sides of the cooler and sealing it up with some silicone caulk. I used a 4” length of threaded copper pipe, which I trimmed down to fit the inside edge, and screwed that directly into the 1/2” spigot, and just epoxied all of that into the hole. I strayed from his plans a few times, for example, I made the bottom extra beer/soda holder a different size than he did. Due to this design, I wanted a fully enclosed bottom the the icebox, so I did not want any gaps with the wood as he has done. Everything else was pretty much directly off of his PDF file that he posted.
I applied a coat of water seal on it to finish it up. I’m really happy with how this came out and the only bad part about it is people are now asking if I can build them one! I’m thrilled with how the icebox portion of it came out, however, if I were to do it all over again, it would be much faster and about $20 cheaper to just buy the prescribed cooler that is in the video.
The finishing touch was the Moxie bottle cap. Being from northern New England, this is a staple/classic soda that if you have never tried Moxie before, I will forewarn you that it is an acquired taste!