Introduction: Live Edge Beer Caddy - 8 Pack
I've always wanted a better way to carry my beer and I though that 6 was just not quite enough for me. So I designed this 8 pack holder. I used some live edge walnut scraps I had left over from another build. (If you are interested, you can check out the charcuterie board I made here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Live-Edge-Serving... It was a fun build and a great way to use some scraps!
Don't forget to check out the video at the top of the page, I had some fun with a friend of mine, Pat Lap (AKA le Pic Bois), but if you are just interested in the build portion, skip to 2:15 in the video.
Below are links to tools and materials I used in this article. It is either the exact tool/supply or something very close.
- Live Edge Walnut (4/4 minimum 13")
- Maple (4/4" x 5 1/2" X 11 1/4" and 4/4" x 16 1/2" x 3")
- 1/8" plywood (12 1/2" x 5 3/4")
- Glue Gun
- Prying tools
- Mallet (If you want to build your own, check out this article: https://www.instructables.com/id/Mallet-in-Under-1-Hour/)
- Finish (I used Watco Teak Oil, but any finish will do)
Note: The links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
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Step 1: Making the Sides Part 1 - Measuring and Mounting
As mentioned earlier, the sides of this project come from a cut off of a previous project, so I guess the first step is to roughly cut a live edge board to a length a few inches over 13" (you will be cutting it to final length in a later step)
I then take that board and place marks at roughly 4" from either edge. These measurements are rough because the live edge on the wood makes it impossible to get something exact.
I then mount the wood to a scrap bit of plywood using hot glue. I line up the plywood with the marks I made earlier.
Step 2: Making the Sides Part 2 - Cutting to Height
I set the fence on my table saw so that it was at the same width as the piece of plywood, and then cut through the walnut.
I pried off the board using a combination of a putty knife and a flat head screwdriver.
I repeated these steps on the other side of the board.
For fun, I ran the board through my thickness planer, but that was mainly to quickly remove the hot glue, and you can do that with a knife if you want.
Step 3: Making the Sides Part 3 - Cutting to Final Length
Now that I had a nice flat side I could use my miter saw to cut the sides to the final length.
I first made a cut on one end to ensure that I had a perfect 90 degree edge. I then used that edge as the reference to mark out the length (13") and cut the first side to length.
I repeated these steps with the second side.
Step 4: Making the Ends Part 1 - Jointing, Cutting to Width and Length
I wanted a contrasting wood to go with the walnut, and being Canadian, my first choice is always maple!
As the wood I had was rough cut, I first started by using my jointer to put a straight edge on the maple. I then set my table saw fence to 5 1/2" and cut it to width. Finally I took it to my miter saw and cut it to length at 11 1/4"
Step 5: Making the Ends Part 2 - Resawing and Planing
To keep down on the weight and to give the project a bit of a thinner look to it, I re-sawed the maple in half. I find that drawing a line straight down the middle very difficult to do by hand. Instead I drew two lines that were equidistant from the edge and used the white space between the lines as a guide. You could also use a center finding jig (like this one: https://www.instructables.com/id/Center-Finder-Jig... to mark the line in the middle, but I didn't have one handy.
I then used my bandsaw to resaw the maple. I did it by eye without the assistance of a fence, but if you have a good fence system on your bandsaw, that could definitely help.
Step 6: Making the Ends Part 3 - Cutting to Shape and Drilling the Hole
The final step in making the ends is to add a bit of shape to them.
Starting at the bottom, I measured 4" up on the work-piece and made a mark. Then at the top I measured 2" from the side and made another mark. I joined these two marks using a straight edge. I repeated these marking 3 more times so that both of the ends were marked. (If you are smarter than me, you only need to mark one of the ends and then you can stack them together and cut them out in one step)
I then headed over to the bandsaw and cut along the lines. In order to ensure that the peices were the exact same size, I used some double sided tape and stacked the two end pieces together. I then used my handplace on the edges that I had just cut. This also had the side effect of removing the marks left behind by the bandsaw.
Finally I made a mark that was 1" from the top and exactly in the middle and drilled a 5/8" hole using a forstner bit in my drill press.
Step 7: The Bottom
In order to attach the bottom to the side and end pieces I had to cut a dado (groove) along the bottom of each piece. I set the height of my table saw blade to the halfway point on the wood. I then set my fence at approximately 1/4". I then ran all of the pieces through. Although my blade states that it has a 1/8" kerf and the plywood is 1/8" the plywood never seems to fit in on the first pass. So I moved the fence over a very tiny amount and made a second pass. I kept doing this until the plywood fit into the groove nicely. Be careful, even though the blade is below the height of the wood, still ensure that your hands don't get to close to the blade area.
For the bottom piece I wanted to use a thin bit of plywood. I find it difficult to locate and purchase 1/8" plywood locally, but luckily there is a free alternative. I used the skin from a hollow core door. If you are interested in reclaiming the wood from a hollow core door, I suggest you watch this video
I first set my table saw fence to 5 3/4" and cut the plywood to width, then using my miter saw I cut the plywood to length at 12 1/2". The measurements are a bit over-sized compared to the sides and ends so that the bottom piece fits into the dado (groove).
(note: for the side pieces, you will have a tiny bit of the groove showing on the edges. If that is not to your liking, please use a router and make a stopped dado, but it doesn't bother me personally)
Step 8: Cutting the Handle
I choose a very simple handle for this project, it is a 5/8" maple dowel and used my miter saw to cut it to 13"
Step 9: Making the Dividers Part 1 - Cutting to Width and Length
To make the dividers I choose to use the same maple wood that I used for the end pieces. Luckily I had already jointed the wood in step 4 so I just had to cut it to width and length.
I used my table saw to cut the wood to width, I set the fence at 3" and ran it through.
Then using my miter saw, I cut one piece to 12" and three pieces to 5 1/2". I did end up adjusting them to be slightly undersized so that they fit in easily to the beer caddy.
Step 10: Making the Dividers Part 2 - Resawing the Planing
I again drew some parallel lines to be used as a guide for resawing. I went over to my bandsaw and resawed the board in half.
I then needed to plane the boards to the correct width. Depending on your beverage of choice, either bottle or cans you can make different thickness dividers. For bottles, plane the boards to 3/8", if you want to put cans, plane the boards to 1/4" (of course, you can also use the 1/4" ones with bottles, they will just be a bit loose).
Step 11: Making the Dividers Part 3 - Cutting Notches
I decided to make the dividers for bottles, so all of the measurements below are based on a 3/8" thick board. Please adjust accordingly based on the width of your material.
To simplify things for the small dividers, I used double sided tape and sandwiched all three together. I then made a mark at the halfway point (2 1/4") and then make a mark 3/16" in either direction. I then drew perpendicular lines from those marks using a square.
I measured up those lines to the halfway point (1 1/2") and made a mark. I used "x"s to mark the waste material that needed to be removed.
For the longer piece, I did basically the same thing, but instead of marking it in the halfway point, I made marks at the 3", 6" and 9" mark.
I then headed over to my bandsaw and cut the notches out.
Finally, I test fit the dividers to make sure they would fit together.
Step 12: Sanding
As with most woodworking projects, the wood needs to be sanded. I mainly used my my random orbit sander and worked up the grits from 80 to 220. For the dowel I had to sand it by hand due to the cylindrical shape.
I then wet everything down with water. This step raises the grain and makes it feel rough to the touch. I then sanded everything with 220 grit again.
I then took the parts that were required for assembly to my basement work-space as it was too cold out to glue anything in the garage.
Step 13: Assembly
Assembly can often be a stressful time as there is a limited amount of working time before the glue dries. I like to dry fit everything first and plan out the order of operations to minimize the stress.
I started by adding glue and attaching the dowel handle to the two end pieces. I then slid in the bottom piece. Next I added glue to the side pieces and attached them. Finally I added clamps and left everything to cure overnight.
Step 14: Adding Reinforcements Part 1 - Drilling and Gluing
As much as I trust wood glue, I always find it better to add some kind of reinforcements to joints. For this project I choose to use 1/4" maple dowels as I thought they would work well as an accent on the walnut and pair nicely with the other maple in the project.
I grabbed my handheld drill and added a 1/4" drill bit. I decided to go with three dowels per side, but you could add more or less if you want. I drilled approximately 1 1/2" deep.
I then added glue to the holes and pushed in the dowels. As I knew I wouldn't be able to push them all the way in, I cut them off with a bit long and used my mallet to pound them in the rest of the way. (if you are interesting in make the mallet shown, check out the article here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Mallet-in-Under-1... )
Step 15: Adding Reinforcements Part 2 - Flush Cutting and Sanding
After the glue had cured I used my flush cut saw to cut off the remaining bits of dowel. I then used my random orbit sander to smooth out the saw marks left from the flush cut saw.
Step 16: Adding Finish
Now it's time for everyone's favourite part, adding finish! But before we get to that, don't forget to wipe down your project with a tack rag to remove any dust left over from sanding.
As you can see in the pictures, I choose to use my favourite beer* as a finish. It was easy to put on, just pour it over the project, spread it around and then wipe off any of the excess!
*Just kidding, I used Watco Teak Oil for the project, as you can see in the last photo.
Step 17: Adding Bottle Opener (optional)
The last step for me was to add a bottle opener. I got one from amazon, but the screws on it were too long, as you can see in the first picture. They were black screws and I couldn't find any locally that were shorter, so I pulled out my trusty bench grinder and shortened one of the screws (The other screw will go into the dowel, so it doesn't need to be shortened)
I then drilled some pilot holes. The first hole is directly in the center of the dowel and the second I used the bottle opener to gauge where it needed to be. I then screwed the bottle opener on and was ready to use my new beer caddy!
Step 18: Enjoy!
I know that earlier I said that the best part of a project is adding finish, but really it's getting a chance to use the project! I filled up my beer caddy and now I am ready to go anywhere (well except the places where you are prohibited from drinking)
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