Build a Wood and Leather Growler Crate
This post is a part of a series of projects I’ve been contracted to develop for The Gorilla Glue Company that will be featured at the Cincinnati Mini-Maker’s Faire, September 13-14, 2014. Click here for more information on the event.
Now is about the best possible time in my city’s history to drink beer if you live in Cincinnati. The city itself has a long and esteemed history of breweries, best experienced through a brewery tour. Today, now more than ever, we have a continually growing number of choices. From MadTree to Moerlein, Rhinegeist to Rivertown, just about every part of town has seen the growth and expansion of microbreweries. Aside from visiting each to sample what’s new, the best opportunity to drink fresh draft beer is to fill a growler—a 64 ounce glass container—which is good for at least a couple of days after opening.
I love getting them filled for the weekend, but carrying more than one and keeping it from rolling around in your car can be a real pain. That’s what prompted me to design and build my own growler crate out of wood and leather. I’m on my second batch of 20 crates in the last few months, this time made with some beautifully clear Sugar Pine. This project is easy to accomplish over a weekend, and making a half dozen doesn’t take much more time than just one. I’m using Gorilla Wood Glue, along with some nails, leather and screws and a variety of finishes. Here are the plans you can follow to build your own growler crate.
2. Shape the handle: Mark lines along two of the bottom edges (both sides) as shown above and shape to a 1/4 round-over with a block plane, files or sand paper. Sand to a 150 grit finish breaking all of the sharp edges.
3. Ease the edges: With coarse sandpaper, or block plane make a 45 degree bevel on all edges on the slats and divider pieces. I found about 1/16″ is just about right.
4. Sand smooth: Sand all flat surfaces with 150 grit sand paper, and remove any excess dust.
6. Assembly: Place the slat squarely on the bottom edge of the two side pieces and affix with two pin nails.
7. Repeat this process on the top and bottom edges of the crate to ensure it sits squarely. Evenly place the slats along the sides and bottom as shown in the photo above.
8. Slide in the divider taking care to ensure it is centered and sits squarely. Affix with 3 nails for each point of attachment with the slats.
9. Handle holes: Drill 3- 5/32″ holes about halfway through the top of the handle as shown. One hole centered, with the other 2 holes positioned 1/2″ from either end. Sand smooth.
10. Crate strap holes: on each side of the crate, drill 2 – 5/32″ holes about halfway through the sides as shown. Each hole is positioned 3/4″ down from the top and 1″ in from the side. Sand smooth.
11. Leatherwork: using either a 6-7 oz. veg-tan hide, or precut strips cut 2 pieces 1″ wide by 9.5″ long, and one strip 1″ wide x 28″ long.
12. Trim: Cut a rounded end on all pieces as shown.
13. Punch Holes: using a 1/4″ leather hole punch make holes centered on the ends of every piece approximately 1/2″ in from the end on the short and long pieces. On the long piece, then fold over the ends so you create a loop 3″ long, then mark the position of the hole on the underside and punch a hole through the other piece so it can accept the copper rivets. Then find the center of the longer piece and mark out and punch hole locations corresponding the the holes drilled on the wood handle in step #9.
14. Finish the leather: If you want to dye your leather, select a water-based dye and finish and apply to both sides of all leather pieces, following the manufacturers instructions.
15. Copper Rivets: Using #9 3/4″ long copper rivets, fasten the loops on either end of the long piece as shown above.
16. Trim the excess and pound the burr flat.
18. Set aside leather pieces for final assembly once finish is complete.
19. Stain: If a darker finish is preferred, apply two coats of an oil-based penetrating stain with a clean rag. Allow to dry over night.
20. Finish: For a lighter color, or as a finish coat, spray two light coats of a polyurethane finish to all sides of the wood parts.
Now all you have to do is attach the side loops and handle as shown in the photo at the top of this post. Then, head out to your favorite micro-brewery and filler-up! Don’t be surprised if people stop to ask where you got your growler crate. Now you can be proud that you made it yourself.