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Family Handyman’s Vintage Authentic Oak Ice Chest Project

Family Handyman has always taken great pride in teaching readers to DIY through the use of step-by-step projects. To celebrate our 70th anniversary, here's a look back at this vintage authentic oak ice chest project.

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1982 Authentic Oak Ice Chest

Family Handyman first launched in 1951, so 2021 marks our 70th anniversary. We’re celebrating with some of our favorite content from over the years. This vintage authentic oak ice chest is from our January 1982 issue. The ice chest is made from solid oak and has the “look of yesteryear, down to the detailed hardware, but with a functional purpose for the eighties.”

Do you love the eighties? Check out these Family Handyman vintage truck ads from the ‘80s.

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vintage ice chest project drawingsFamily Handyman

Project Drawings, Shopping and Cutting Lists

If you’re interested in building this vintage oak ice chest project, check out the project drawings, shopping and cutting list above.

Check out these things everyone had in their house in the ’80s.

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ice chest step by stepFamily Handyman

Planning the Icebox

We recommend studying the plans before cutting the oak to make certain you understand the box parts and how they’ll go together. Construction of the unit is actually easier than it looks. It is important, however, that you follow the steps as outlined. Here are some of our expert tips for cutting into wood.

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Tips for Shaping Oak

Because this wood is hard, it splits easily. Thus you must use absolutely razor-sharp cutters. Also, be sure to push the router with a slow feed rate to reduce the chance of splintering the edges severely. Read the clip above for more tips on shaping oak.

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ice chestFamily Handyman

The Plywood Panels

When all stiles and rails are edge-shaped and grooved, use the previously-made match marks to resemble the panel and door sections temporarily. At this point, you can take accurate measurements for the panels to fit the various openings. Finish reading these step-by-step instructions above.

Plus, check out these 14 ’80s decor trends that are back in a big way.

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Finishing the Oak Ice Box

Check all surfaces carefully for smoothness by rubbing the palm of your hand across the wood. Take special care to check joints, corners and the like for glue squeeze-out. If you spot any, carefully remove it using a sharp chisel.

Learn these 41 genius sanding tips you need to know.

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ice chestFamily Handyman

Some General Construction Hints

There are a couple of professional cabinet maker tricks you can use when building the icebox. For example, most cabinet makers do not install screws between members at the same time that they apply glue to the mating surfaces. They hold up on the fasteners until the glue dries. Read the page above for more general construction hints.

For more amazing vintage Family Handyman content, visit our 70th Anniversary Page.