One user on reddit.com decided to turn this quite boring and ordinary cooler into the most awesome pirate chest ever. A pirate chest that still works as a perfectly fine cooler, to keep those beers nice and cold when out fishing or plundering on the high seas.
Check out the fantastic transformation below, and if you want to try your hand at making one for yourself I’ve included the step by step guide.
Arr ya scallywags, now fetch me a cold grog.
I chose a 52 qt igloo cooler because of its shape and the fact that the hinges, handles, and drain plug assy were easily removable. Though, any squared or rectangle cooler would work.
- I found some threaded PVC fittings (1/2″) that fit through the drain hole (keep the original o-ring to reuse on the new drain assy).
- I used a typical hose bibb from Lowes and some threaded PVC fittings to make the drain assembly.
- I had to use a 1/2″ flange to get a tight fit. ( I know it doesn’t look great, but it is hidden inside the box).
1. Used 5/8″ plywood.
2. I used wood glue and a finish nailer.
3. Don’t forget to drill a hole for your drain valve.
4. I do not have the exact measurements. The bottom piece is an exact of the length and width of the cooler top.
5. The height I made right up to the top of the bottom part of the cooler.
6. The bottom part of the cooler does not attach to the box in any way. Except maybe the drain actually going through the box. The box is so tight that it really won’t move around in transport. But, not so tight that you can’t pull it out if you want to.
7. When measuring the top half make up for the difference in how high the bottom box is. The actual lid to the cooler will stick out of the top wood cover. I did this by placing the cooler top on and building the top around it while it was like that.
8. You can make the top half taller or shorter, what ever looks good to you.
9. Just measure across to recreate the supports I put in so that the lid will not fall out or push up when it is closed. These are secured by 4 stainless steel screws.
Once the top and bottom are built just add some door hinges of your choice. I sanded it before I put on the trim.
What is good about not gluing the bottom or top of the cooler is that you can take it out to clean it or replace it if it breaks. Just remove the screws to take out the lid.
The trim is just pallet lumber. It’s free and has a worn look to it. This was the tedious part. Just measure an cut. For the edges, just make some L channel out of two pieces of cut pallet lumber.
You don’t really get a good view of the back. Though if you could see it I had to cut the trim at an angle so that it could open and close.
I found all of the hardware on random sites by searching Rustic nail covers, rustic handles, and rustic lock in Google. These nail covers really make it look authentic. They just nail right into the wood.
After I had the trim on I sanded it again then put on a dark stain and then 2 coats sealant. Once that was done I used an escutcheon plate where the drain valve goes through. Again, wish I had more pictures.
When it is finished it isn’t as heavy as you’d think. When empty it can be carried around by one person. The handles support it even when it is full of ice and drinks. When its full it might take two to carry it.
Since it’s a “pirate chest” it is okay if its dented, there are minor gaps, or its a little dented or scratched. I think it gives it a more authentic look. So nothing has to be exact or “perfect”.
Now all it needs is some super bright gold LED lights that turn on when the lid is opened, to give it that glowing pirate’s gold feel.