Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Segment 2 - Completing the Beer Caddy

In this segment of the tutorial, I will tell you about how I assemble, stain and finish the Beer Caddy. After cutting all of my pieces (as explained in Segment 1), I sanded everything to 220 grit and made sure to round the corners a bit. Since everything was freshly sanded, it was now time to start assembling. I chose to use my nail gun with 18 gauge nails in both 1-1/2" and 3/4" sizes. If you don't own a nail gun, you can use trim nails. Just about any home supply store should have a variety of trim nails available. I made sure to glue all of my piece as well as shoot them with nails to ensure the caddy would hold up over time (Picture 1).
I used the 1-1/2" nails to attach both sides to the bottom as well as the handle. The 3/4" nails were used for the side rails. In order to have the rails on both sides of the caddy line up, I made a spacer block out of scrap wood. By putting the spacer in between the rails, I knew both sides would match. It is completely up to you to decide the space that you want between the rails. I chose to make the rails a bit wider so the beer label would show between them. Here is a picture of the caddy fully assembled (Picture 2).
I let the glue dry over night and then mixed up some stain. For this project, I used two different stains made by Minwax. I wanted something dark, but not too dark so I mixed two parts Dark Walnut (2716) and one part Early American (230). This gave me exactly what I was looking for (Picture 3).
Staining the piece was quite simple since it is small. I chose to use a foam brush which helped me get into the corners of the caddy. Simply apply the stain liberally and then wipe it off. I recommend having some mineral spirits on hand to make the clean up process much easier. I wanted the rustic look with this caddy, so I didn't apply a wood conditioner before staining. Depending on the species of wood you are using, a wood conditioner is essential prior to staining. Since this is pine, a wood conditioner would help with blotchiness and make the stain appear more even throughout the piece. You can find out more about wood conditioners online. Once the stain is applied and the excess is wiped off, you have to wait a good 24 hours prior to applying any top coat (Picture 4).
After a 24 hour dry time, the next step is protecting the piece. There are many different products that can be used to help protect the finish. I have found that when finishing small pieces, an aerosol can finish is quick and sufficient. I chose to first apply three coats of Zinsser's Bulls Eye Shellac followed by two coats of Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane. I followed the instructions on the can to ensure adequate dry time. After each coat of finish, whether shellac or polyurethane, I used #0000 steel wool to knock down any dust nibs that were in the finish. Make sure to wipe the piece down after using the steel wool. Any broken off pieces or dust left on the wood will get trapped in the next layer of finish (Picture 5).
After applying the last coat of polyurethane, I let the piece dry for 48 hours undisturbed. It was now time to install the bottle opener. I acquired the opener from a seller on Ebay. They range from $2-$3 each. The screws were purchased at Home Depot. I really like the screws because the screw heads are painted brown and match the opener quite well. The screws come in a pack of 25 and are #8 X 1/2" (Picture 6).
When attaching the opener to the side of the caddy, I just used my best guess as far as placement. I marked where the screws will go and drilled two pilot holes for the screws. Once again, placement of the opener is entirely up to you (Picture 7).
I chose to put felt pads on the bottom of this caddy. I think it softens the sound up when setting a full caddy on a countertop and.....it helps with any wobble in the caddy (Picture 8).
All you have left is to put the inserts in and you have yourself a beer caddy. These make great gifts and are relatively easy to make once you have a system down. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Be on the lookout for more builds in the future (Picture 9).


  1. I didn't glue the inserts. They fit snug within the caddy so they don't really shift around. This way, they can be taken out if the person chooses to put something else in there. Thanks for the comment.