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Picture this: you’re relaxing in your backyard, enjoying some time with family and friends. It’s hot out, and your mouth starts to get a bit dry – parched, even. You reach for an ice cold beverage from your very own cooler cart… <SLURP> Ahhh… refreshing. Your friends are impressed and you tell them all about building a cooler cart.
In part 1 of this project, I showed how to take a broken grill cart and fix it up to give us the structure for our cooler cart. I also showed some design considerations that would come in handy for the later steps. In this post, we’ll look at the built-in cooler drainage and start paneling the sides and back of the cart.
In case you missed it:
Building a Cooler Cart – Part 1
Step 1 – Start paneling
So somehow I missed taking a photo of this step. Using treated 1x6s, I cut them to the length of each side and attached them with a brad nailer. (Side note, I love my Ridgid 18V brad nailer! No more dealing with compressors and air hoses!) I added boards until I was close to the bottom edge. Because of the swivel casters, I would not be able to go past the edge of the legs, so I ripped the last board to the proper width on the table saw. I did the same for both sides, and the first two boards of the back, so there was a small gap between the board and the shelf.
Step 2 – Create the drain
Test-fitting some scrap pipes, I found that 1/2″ schedule 40 PVC fit snugly over the cooler drain. I assembled the parts below. A 90° elbow turns the pipe to drain out the back, and the valve allows it to be opened and closed. I didn’t glue the fittings in case anything needs to be replaced later.
I test-fit the drain assembly to ensure it would fit in the space and clear through the gap between the board and shelf.
Step 3 – Notch and continue paneling
With the drain in place, I measured the board above to mark where to notch out the board below. In this case, I could notch out a 1″ square between 13-14″ from the edge of the board.
I cut the next board to length and marked where I would need to notch out, then cut it with the jigsaw.
I temporarily removed the drain so I could attach the next board. The picture below shows the drain reinstalled, to ensure it fits properly. The drain pipe extends about an inch past the back panel.
With the drain notch in the proper place, I again removed the drain to finish paneling the back. Again, I needed to rip the bottom board to the proper width to match both sides.
Step 4 – Securing the drain
I didn’t do this step until much later in the project, but I would advise doing it at this step instead. To secure the drain pipe to prevent any stress when opening or closing the valve, I added a support block underneath and secured it with a pipe strap. I test-fit the block’s position under the pipe, and added the strap so it will be clear of the valve handle. Before installing, I ran some Gorilla Glue around the inside of the drain pipe and fitted it onto the cooler drain, then strapped it down snugly.
Finally with the drain in place and secured, I added a little more Gorilla Glue around the joint between the cooler drain and the pipe. You could also use silicone sealer. This will not be holding a lot of pressure, so it just needs to protect against any major leaks.
With the drain in place, we are ready next time to complete the siding, top, and cooler lid. We’ll look at adding some interior storage and a few nice hardware accessories.