I didn’t want the keezer to look like a bastardised freezer. If it were to reside in a living space, I didn’t want it to look like a laundry item. This was the motivation behind skinning it.
Now that the framing has been done I have a surface to attach some cladding to. The obvious choice would be thin plywood, but I worried that this would look quite featureless, expansive and plain. So I looked for some v-grooved panelling to mimic the look of wainscoting. This was not the easiest thing to track down and, due to the slightly annoying dimensions of the freezer it would not fit neatly within a standard 2400x1200mm sheet, so it also ended up being more expensive than I would have liked ($91 for 2700x1200mm). I picked the wood up from a company called Bruynzeel and I was pretty unimpressed by the experience. They took two weeks to get the material in and cut it to size and, although I was assured I’d be getting A-grade material specifically appropriate for stain and varnish, I was quite disappointed to discover that the surface veneer was full of cracks and filler and was even marred by black rubber footprints! All I hope is that with a little stain and varnish it still looks pretty smart, otherwise I’ll be kicking myself for not just making it out of MDF on the cheap and painting it.
After constructing the frame I decided to throw in an extra horizontal bar halfway down each side. This serves two purposes: to prevent the 6mm ply from flexing in the middle should it be knocked by something; and to give something meaty to screw the drip tray into.
The ply itself went on fairly smoothly. My approach was to cut the panels too large, clamp them against the top edge, measure for groove symmetry, glue and nail them with panel pins, trim to less than 1cm excess with a hand saw and then flush-trim with the router. This strategy was pretty painless, very tolerant of minor errors and produced wonderfully neat joins (even if it did cover me in wood shavings!)
The next steps will be the addition of some trim to the top and bottom edges of the cladding (to hide all the raw edges) and to start work on the lid.