The Project:
Beer Caddy and Beer Flight gifts

The Drink:
Spotted Cow

The Pairing:
It'd be pretty dumb to pair a beer caddy with anything but a nice, tasty beer, right? Only available in Wisconsin, the Spotted cow is a "naturally cloudy farmhouse ale" with a "fun, fruity and satisfying" flavor.

Christmas is tomorrow. Being a woodworker, it only made sense to build a few presents this year. My wife's boss had mentioned wanting a beer caddy with bottle opener for taking his suds out on the boat. We set out to make one for him, then added a beer flight to his gift and I made another caddy for my brother.


Let's get started. First things first: search around for a bottle opener to pop that top off your Spotted Cow. Always a pain to find one of those. Just don't use your newly-completed work bench as a bottle opener as it's sure to get dented.

We need a plan.  Youtube has plenty of ideas. But the one that stuck out as being most like what we wanted came from The Drunken Woodworker. I didn't really like the look of the plywood edges, so we opted for some hardwood. Actually, it was some 4/4 cherry and some 4/4 walnut.


Here we go! First, cut some pieces of the wood down to a more manageable size on the mitre saw. Then take them to the jointer and joint 1 face and 1 edge.  Over to the table saw to made the other edge parallel to the jointed one, and finally a few trips through the thickness planer to get all the pieces the same thickness.

The plans call for a side piece that's 6-1/2 inches wide. But the wood we had was at most 6". Time to get creative. We edge-glued-up 3 pieces of the cherry so the wife could later cut 2 pieces of the correct width. I decided to line the sides of my pieces with 1 inch of walnut.

For the front/back pieces, we did a combination of cherry and walnut strips.  The wife decided that the sides weren't tall enough, so she changed the pattern and added an inch to the height there. Glued everything up using alomst all the clamps I have in the shop and called it a night.

It'd be pretty dumb to pair a beer caddy with anything but a nice, tasty beer, right?

The next day, we transfered the pattern onto our newly-glued pannels so we could cut the sides. My bandsaw is sort of a piece of shit, so the wife decided to cut her sides down with the jigsaw. I opted for the band saw and only messed up once. Since the shop lacks any sort of sanding aparatus, we tuned the hand-held belt sander upside down and clamped it in the vise. One side of each of our caddies got sanded down to the template line. I set the router table up with a flush-trim bit and taped the two side pieces together. That made quick work for getting both pieces identical and the router dust is a lot easier to deal with than the belter sander dust.

Once that was done, we made sure the pieces were cut down exactly to the size we needed. I put an 1/8 inch straight bit into the router and put a few dados in at the bottom of the pieces to accept the 1/8 inch plywood bottom. The plans didn't call for this, but I thought it would be a bit stronger and also help us during the glue-up.

I hate sharp edges, and am not a big fan of the chamfer, either, so I went out and got an 1/8" roundover bit to run around each edge. If I'd had a trim router, this part would have been done after assembly not before. But that's the way it works. There's no way I'm going to be holding a huge router with a tiny bit on a tiny piece of wood trying to clean up an edge. Good thing I grabbed a palm router for my next project!

One of the first glue ups

Time for a glue-up.  This was quite a bit harder than I had expected, trying to keep everything square and tight. Perhaps on the next go-round, I'll do the glue-up in stages with corner blocks to help with keeping things square.

For the finish, I grabbed a can of spray lacquer and put on two coats. Amazing how fast this stuff dries! And also how nasty it makes the house smell. I may only use that outdoors from now on, provided it's not the dead of winter.

Adding a pretty finish

Next Time

If I ever make these again, in addition to a better final glue-up clamp, I'd like to box-joint the corners, or maybe even dovetail them with my dovetail jig. And perhaps give myself more than 2 weeks to complete this project, or at least 2 weeks without 4 evenings a week filled with playing sports!

Beer Caddy for brother
Beer Caddy for boss
Beer flight for boss