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Patio Cooler

Level of Difficulty: medium
Submitted by:

Red Beard Customs

Andrew Boyd, owner of Red Beard Customs. Creating one of a kind, hand crafted pieces of furniture, lamps, tables, bookshelves, shuffle board tables & more.

Preparation and Cutting of Pieces and Mortises

  1. Rough cut lengths for all pieces, allow 1-2 inches excess to trim when making final cuts.
  2. Joint the face and corresponding side, so they are square. (See Picture 1A)
  3. Plane opposite face of each piece to proper thickness.
  4. Trim remaining rough width side for each piece to proper widths. (See Picture 1B)
(TIP: Organize all pieces into batches of same thickness in order to plane all together to maintain uniformity. Same principle applies when cutting widths, set fence on table saw and trim all pieces of that width together.)
  1. Trim legs to final length using crosscut sled on table saw or miter saw, be sure to set up a stop block in order to ensure precise uniform lengths on all legs.
  2. Measure and mark all top, middle and bottom rail mortise locations on legs. All mortises are 1” from the inside side of the leg, 28/32” wide to accept rails,1” depth for top mortise’s and ½” depth for middle and bottom rails. (See Picture 1C)
  3. Use a ¾” straight plunge router bit on router table to cut out mortises for the top rails. Set up a stop block to control proper depth, make several passes roughly 3/16” per pass. (See Picture 1D)
  4. Test Fit and make adjustments if necessary. (See Pic 1E)
(TIP: Set fence to router along one side first all depths and then move fence to trim out remaining material to proper width and depths, to keep exact mortise widths.
  1. Measure and make proper height marks for middle and top rail mortises. 12” from top of leg to top of middle mortise and 2 1/2 ” long, 1” from inside of leg and 28/32” wide. Bottom mortise is located 33” from top of leg, 2 1/2” long, 1” from inside of the leg and 28/32” wide. (See Picture 1F)
  2. Rough out middle and bottom mortises using 1/2” straight plunge router bit in a plunge or trim router to 1/2” depth. Be sure to make passes at several depths. (See Picture 1G)
  3. Chisel out remaining material to proper size testing fit throughout process to maintain a proper fit. (See Picture 1H/I)

Cutting and Fitting Box Slats

  1. Install 1/2” dado stack onto table saw.
  2. Mark 1/2” height and width on top and inside corner of bottom rails. Mark 1/2” height and width on bottom and inside corner of top rails.
  3. Line up fence to cut proper width and adjust blade height. Cut rabbet in several passes to avoiding putting stress on blade and work piece.
(TIP: Utilize test piece of same dimension to dial in proper blade width and height.) (See Picture 3A)
  1. Dry fit legs and rails together. (See Picture 3A)
  2. Measure distance from inside of top rail rabbet to inside the bottom rail rabbet.
  3. Set up stop block and cut all box slat lengths on table saw crosscut sled or miter saw.
  4. Measure distance between inside of front legs, divide the measurement by five to determine box slat widths for front and back box slats. Trim all front and back box slats and test fit.
  5. Measure distance between inside of front and back leg (left or right side), divide the measurement by three to determine side box slat widths. Trim all side box slats and test to fit. (See Picture 3B)

Measuring and Trimming

  1. Measure distance between inside front bottom rail rabbet and inside back bottom rail rabbet.
  2. Using stop block cut all cooler supports to that measurement. (See Picture 3A)
  3. Make halfway mark on inside of bottom side rails. Measure distance between these two lines.
  4. Cut cooler support rail to this length. Center rail on center marks and clamp in place. Transfer center line to face side of bottom side rails, make cross mark at 3/4” and 1 1/4” from bottom on center lines. Predrill and counter sink 1/4”
  5. Cut bottom shelf support rail to same length as cooler support rail length.
  6. Center rail on center marks and clamp in place. Transfer center line to face side of bottom side rails, make cross mark at 3/4” and 1 1/4” from bottom on center lines. Predrill and counter sink 1/4” for trim screws. (See Picture 3B)
  1. Measure distance from the top outside of side bottom rails.
  2. Add 1” ( 1/2” overhang for each side) to measurement and cut all bottom shelf pieces to that length.
  3. Trim to 4 1/2” widths. (See Picture 3C)
  4. Determine front and back bottom shelf slats. Measure and mark line 2 7/8” from width and length of each outside corner for both outside slats.
  5. Using a jigsaw, notch out each corner to fit between front and back legs. (See Picture 3D)

Logo Sign Board Assembly

  1. Joint both logo sign board sides and glue together making one board roughly 12” W x 15” L
  2. After glue cures, trim board to 10 1/2”W x 14” L
  3. Sand face to 80 grit.
  4. Print properly sized logo, cut out logo for a stencil, center and trace logo onto logo board face.
(TIP: Trace lines with an exacto knife to help route clean lines.)
  1. Carefully hand route entire logo to approximately ¼” depth, in several passes of roughly 1/8” per pass. Recommend using 1/16” plunge router bit for edges and 1/4” plunge router bit for open areas. (This step can be accomplished with a CNC machine as well.)
  2. Clean up edges with 220 grit.
  3. Pour properly colored epoxy for logo and allow 24 hours to cure. (See Picture 4A)
  4. Sand and plane face completely flat. (See Picture 4B)
  5. If multiple colors are required for the logo, repeat steps 4A-B.
  6. Mark 5/16” dowel holes for each corner 1” from all edges. Set Milescraft Joint Master Jig and drill dowel holes completely through at corner marks.
  7. Trace rounded corners using a corner jig, rough out with a jigsaw, and using corner jig and a flush trim router bit, router corners smooth.
  8. Round over front and back edges using 1/4” round over router bit.
  9. Sand logo sign board through all grit s 80/150/220/320/400/600
  10. Apple Rubio Monocoat Hybrid Wood Protector finish per instructions. (See Picture 4C)

Measuring, Cutting, and Joining with Dowels

  1. Measure and cut top frame pieces to proper length.
  2. Mark center lines along inside joint on the top frame rail sides and along the ends of the top frame stiles. Mark cross marks where dowels will be inserted. (See Picture 5A)
  3. Set Milescraft Joint Master Jig to use the 5/16” dowel and set to align with center lines. Set stop collar on 5/16” drill bit to 1/8” over half the length of a dowel.
  4. Line up and clamp the jig in place with the cross marks for a dowel. (See Picture 5B)
(TIP: Clamp work piece flush with bench to for added stability when clamping jig.)
  1. Line up and drill all additional dowels for all top frame rail sides and stile ends.
  2. Test fit for alignment. Apply Titebond III wood glue to joint surfaces, dowel holes and dowels. Assemble and clamp together, use cauls over joints to ensure they remain flush. (See Picture 5C/D)
  3. Once glue cures use 3/16” round over router bit along the outside top and bottom edges and inside top edge.
  4. Sand entire frame at 80/150/220 grits.
  5. Apply Rubio Monocoat Hybrid Wood Protector finish per instructions.

Assembling and Finishing the Lid Frame

  1. Measure and cut Lid frame pieces to proper length.
  2. Repeat Step 5 B-F for the Lid frame pieces. (See Picture 5A/B)
  3. Sand Lid frame to 80 grit.
  4. Measure distance between Lid rails. Add three inches to that measurement and cut raised center pieces to that length. (1 1/2” overlap on each end.)
  5. Mark cross marks for dowels on tops and ends of each center piece, 3/4” from end and 3/4” from each side. (See Picture 6A)
  6. Set Milescraft Joint Master Jig to 5/16” dowel and depth to properly align on marks. Set bit collar to drill completely through center piece.
(TIP: Clamp spoiler board on bench under center piece when drilling to prevent tear out and bench top damage.)
  1. Align all raised center pieces on Lid frame and transfer center marks in dowel holes into Lid frame. (See Picture 6B)
  2. Clamp jig and drill all dowel holes on Lid frame. Dry fit all pieces to ensure proper fitting. (See Picture 6C/D)
  3. Route 1/16” round over profile edge on all inside center piece top edges.
  4. Apply Titebond III wood glue to all overlap areas on lid frame top and dowels and holes. (See Picture 6E)
  5. Assemble center pieces and dowels, use cauls to hold down all raised center pieces on frame.
  6. After glue sets, flush trim dowels on top and bottom, plane dowels smooth. (See Picture 6G)
  7. Use 1/4” round over router bit on top edge of raised center pieces.
  8. Sand entire Lid 80/150/220grit.
  9. Apply Rubio Monocoat Hybrid Wood Protector finish per its instructions. (See Picture 6H)

Sanding and Assembly

  1. Sand legs, top rails, center rails, bottom rails, cooler support rail, bottom shelf rail, box slats, bottom cooler slats, cooler slats, and cooler guides to 80/150/220 grit. (See Picture 7A)
  2. Glue and clamp in place all legs and rails. Recommend using Titebond Extend II for added glue time. Be sure to clamp all piece’s square. (See Picture 7B)
  3. Glue and attach both the cooler support rail and bottom shelf rail in place with trim screws. Apply glue and insert dowels into trim screw counter sink holes, flush cut when set.
  4. Once glue cures on legs and rails, glue and trim nail cooler supports in place.
(TIP: use 1/2” spacer block to maintain proper spacing between slats.)
  1. Glue in place and trim nail all box side and front and back slats, trim nail to hold in place. (See Picture 7C)

The Bottom Shelf

  1. Clamp outside bottom shelf slat in place.
  2. Measure and mark dowel locations to be centered over bottom rails. Outside slat dowel locations on ends are 3/4” from inside edge and 1” from each leg and centered. Middle slat dowel locations are centered over rail and 1” from each side edge. (See Picture 8A)
  3. Set Milescraft Joint Master Jig for 5/16” dowel and proper depth. Set stop collar for 1/8” short of total length of dowel. (See Picture 8B)
  4. Drill all dowel holes, clamping slats in place and using 1/2” spacer blocks to maintain proper spacing.
(TIP: Tap dowels in place as you go to help keep slats in place.
  1. Glue tops of rails, dowels and holes. Attach bottom shelf slats in place and sink dowels. Clamp in place.
  2. After glue sets, flush trim dowels and plane flat and touch up spots with 220 grit sanding. (See Picture 8C)
  3. After drying, touch up sand any glue squeeze out on all joints. Wipe down entire carcass with denatured alcohol.
  4. Apply Rubio Monocoat Hybrid Wood Protector finish per its instructions.

Tying it All Together

  1. Attach Logo supports to back of logo sign using Titebond III wood glue and predrilled trim screws.
  2. Center logo sign and supports on front box slats, where supports rest between top and center rails. Clamp in place. (See Picture 9A)
  3. Drill remaining depths of corner dowel holes on logo sign through logo supports and box slats.
  4. Apply Titebond III to back side of logo supports, dowels and holes.
  5. Attach logo sign and support and dowels. Clamp in place.
  6. After glue sets, flush trim dowels on both sides and plane smooth. Touch up sand to 220 grit and Rubio Monocoat finish. (See Picture 9B)
  1. Remove cooler lid from cooler base and set in space created on the underside of the raised center pieces and between the lid frame.
  2. Mark four corners and attach cooler lid to raised center pieces with stainless screws and washers. (See Picture 9A)
  3. Measure and mark a perpendicular line 7 1/2” from each side on the back lid frame piece on the underside.
  4. Align hinge strap on the line and mark the center holes along the line. Predrill and attach. (See Picture 9B)
  5. Hold and align hinges on back piece of the top frame and trace the hinge outlines.
  6. Set 1/4” plunge cut router bit to depth of hinge. Route out majority of material, trim to lines with a chisel.
  7. Place hinges in inlay and mark center points for screws.
  8. Predrill and attach lid to top frame, test for closing fit.

Finishing Up

  1. Measure, mark, predrill and attach lid stays per directions provided. (See Picture 10A)
  2. Adjust for proper close speed.


  1. Clamp cooler guides in place on inside of cooler stand, even with top of the legs and top rails. (See Picture 10B)
  2. Predrill counter sink 1/4” for trim screws.
  3. Glue and secure guides with trim screws.
  4. Glue 1/4” dowels in place, flush trim dowels when set and plane smooth.
  5. Touch up sand dowels to 220 grit and Rubio Monocoat. (See Picture 10C)
  6. Measure and mark outside of side top rails to center stainless barn door handles.
  7. Predrill holes and attach handles. (See Picture 10D)
  8. Fill cooler with ice and beverage of choice, set back relax and enjoy. Cheers to a job well done!



(4) Legs 3 3/8”W x 3 3/8”H x 41 1/2”L

(6) Top, Middle and Back Rails (Front and Back ) 28/32”W x 2”H x 26 1/2” L

(6) Top, Middle and Bottom Rails (Sides) 28/32”W x 2 1/2”H x 17 1/2”L

(1) Cooler Support Rail 3/4”W x 1 5/8”H x 27 3/8”L

(1) Bottom Shelf Support Rail 7/8”W x 2 1/2”H x 16 7/8”L

(5) Cooler Supports 4 3/8”W x 1/2”H x 18”L

(4) Bottom Shelf Slats 4 1/2”W x ½”H x 30 1/4”L

(2) Top Frame Rails 2 1/2”W x 3/4”H x 32 ”L

(2) Top Frame Stiles 2 1/2”W x 3/4”H x 16 5/8”L

(10) Box Slats (Front and Back) 4 ”W x 1/2”H x11 1/2” L

(6) Box Slats (Sides)  ”W x” H x 11 1/2”L

(2) Cooler Guides (Front and Back) 3 1/4”W x 1 3/8”H x 24 1/2”L

(2) Cooler Guides (Sides) 3 1/4”W x 3/4”H x 8 ”L

(2) Lid Frame Rails 4 1/2”W x 5/8”H x 32 7/8”L

(2) Lid Frame Stiles 4 5/8”W x 5/8”H x 13 5/16”L

(6) Lid Raised Center Pieces 4 3/8”W x 5/8”H x 16 1/4”L

(2) Logo Sign 5 1/4”W x 5/8”H x 14”L

(2) Logo Supports 1 1/2” x 3/4”H x 13”L