Project: Attempted Antique Trunk to Beer Cooler Conversion Pt. 2

As you may have noticed, part one of this project didn’t have all that much in the way of progress.
It had to serve more of the “explain the project” purpose, and those of you that made it all the way through it will be nice and up-to-speed.

Those who didn’t read it yet, go do it now, we’ll wait for you.

Part 2 will cover insulating the interior, and figuring out a drain spout/hole.

A quick trip to Salvation Army and Home Depot resulted in this fly-ass pile of materials.


That insulation foam board was originally quite large but just under $10.00 (for the 1/2in thickness). The 2 pipe fittings were approx $1.50 each, and the book was only $.90 and that’s for a possible cosmetic option later-on.

A “pro” tip: the fine workers at Home Depot will help you a ton if you let them/ask them to.
In a situation like this one, where I wasn’t sure at all what I wanted to use, I decided to forgo waving down an orange apron and spent my time sifting through the pipe fittings ’till I found a solution I liked.

BUT, When it came to the foam, I approached the nearest orange blur and asked for help.

These sheets are 8ft long.
I drive a sunfire, and I wasn’t about to borrow a truck for this.

Luckily I had taken all of my measurements before venturing out, so I knew that if I asked them to cut it into roughly 2ft sections it would still handle my needs, as well as fit in my car.
I say “roughly 2ft” because the guy helping certainly me wasn’t going out of his way… Luckily I had a fair amount of play in the 2ft measurement.

These ended up being my best friends for a few hours:

A garage sale T-Square, a Sharpie, a tape measure, and an everyday run-of-the-mill box cutter.

Always try to at least START the cutting by measuring from a factory edge, it helps cut down on waste, as well as eliminates several needless cuts. (Those are going to happen a ton anyway.)

I decided I wanted the floor of the cooler to be one solid piece that spanned edge to edge… to edge.


I then spent an hour or two measuring and cutting the sides. I decided to make the short sides span edge to edge as well, that way the long edge pieces will help hold them in place.


Finishing all four sides meant it was time to move on to the drain hole.

For the drain hole, I was conflicted on using simple pipe fittings or a funkier looking spout or fixture.

I ultimately decided against anything that was going to jut 2 inches or more off the side of the trunk.

That being said, a brass spout sticking off the side of a cleanly finished trunk/cooler would look pretty boss. I just decided to go basic and black since I’m not sure if I’m going to re-finish the outside of this particular trunk.

While there are a few tricky parts to this step (especially when pulling this project out of my ass) I think the trickiest for me was determining placement.
There was also the fact that I would be drilling through metal to make a hole that could take a 3/4 bushing.

I pulled the side foam off in the area I wanted to install the hardware, but left the floor foam in place so the spout would rest on the finished floor when all said and done.

I decided roughly where I wanted it, and marked it out on the inside.

To get it lined up in the outside (since I wanted to drill from outside in) I used the finishing nails as a spot indicator, pried out the offending nail and drilled that muther a new one. (Hole, that is.)

I wanted to drill from outside in because the trunk is covered in a thin sheet of metal on the outside and if it was going to gnarl up, I could hide/fix it easier if it was curling inward as opposed to being blown outward.
I also didn’t have access to a drill bit that was actually large enough, so I used that serious looking bastard to drill the pilot then I reamed it out.

After struggling with that for a little bit I was able to get the bushing seated and screw on the cap. I lucked out pretty hard that the pieces ended up being the right size as I failed to take into account all the bindings, nail heads, and other finishers on the outside of the trunk.

Ultimately I was able to tighten the cap to my satisfaction and after some caulking and sealing, the drain will be complete and legit.

I replaced the side foam panel, cut a corresponding notch for the drain, and decided that this was a good place to stop for a bit.

If I am able to set aside real time to work on things this coming week, I plan to foam panel the inside lid, attempt a few style/finishing options for the inside edges, then it’s time to move on to fiberglassing this thang.

So, check back next Friday and see if I’ve gotten any farther.

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The oft-times random, and weirdly awesome musings of an easily distracted thirty-something.
It'll all make sense once I start posting more frequently....
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