I have a love/hate relationship with chest freezers. I will try to sum it up in a few bullet points, even though we are all trapped at home and desperate for something to take away the boredom.
- They are more efficient than upright freezers - they don’t have all the cold air pour out every time you open the door.
- They fit better in my mud room / laundry room
- Stuff gets “lost” at the bottom and becomes part of “the glacier” at the bottom if you are not fastidious and keep tabs on what is in there and how long it’s been there.
To combat bullet point #3, I measured my chest freezer and determined how I wanted to divvy up the space. I found that I can get 3 crates across the bottom of the freezer that are 10.0" wide, 21.0" long and 13.0" high. That will allow me to have three on the bottom row, and another three above them, with space to slide the top ones around so I have access to one bottom crate at a time.
There is a “hump” in one corner of the freezer where the compressor is housed, so that area is off limits on the bottom row of long crates, but the top row can slide over it. There will be a smaller 10.0" x 10.0" x 13.0" high crate next to the hump.
I designed the crate using a tabbed box maker extension in Inkscape. You have to download this one and put the files in the “Extensions” folder. This is not the “Laser Cut Box” extension included with Inkscape - that extension did not work properly and I ended up cutting 3 sides that did not fit together correctly.
This extension wasn’t really designed to cut boxes with a 1/4" bit either, but if you add in overcuts (red lines) to the inside corners, the pieces will fit together as they should. The overcuts need to be at least half the diameter of your cutting bit long, but I like it when there is just a bit more so you can see the flat of the cut, not just the radius, so for my 1/4" bit, I made the overcuts 3/16" long.
I added slots to allow the cold air to pass through the crate, and handles to two sides to lift them into and out of the freezer as needed.
I made one of these crates (a tabbed crate using this extension - not this freezer crate) for my truck 3 or 4 years ago, and I put it together with 1/4" crown staples in the tabs, and I wasn’t happy with the look. This time, I thought I’d glue them together and man, that was a mistake. I used Titebond II glue, because I had about a gallon left over from a previous something or other. . .
That stuff was a pain to try to clean up, and in the end, I think the glue everywhere looks like crap. Too many nooks and crannies for the glue to get to. Next crate I make will have 3/16" holes centered in the tabs, and I will use 3/16" dowel pins to hold it together. That way, I can put just a bit of glue on the tip of the dowel - just enough to hold it in place.
Anyway, on to my completely not pretty - yet fully functional tabbed freezer crate. Oh, the icing on the cake? I was applying a coat of spray varnish outside when it started raining, (I don’t have a place to spray that is indoors) so there are sprinkles on the fresh varnish.
EDIT: Can anyone recommend a decent belt sander? I love my 5" RO sander, but nothing removes material like a belt sander.