Thursday, January 10, 2008

Keg Seats

Over the last few years I have collected, or rather acquired a number of keg shells. Mainly off of craigslist, which is a good place to look for all sorts of brewing equipment. A keg shell is simply the metal part of a beer keg. When I refer to a keg shell I mean a empty keg of beer which has often had the tap coupler removed. This allow different solutions to be placed inside the keg. For instance after cleaning out the keg. Which is done by adding water and bleach and a foot long food grade stainless steal chain.
A batch of beer could now be fermented inside of the keg. A full size keg holds three times the volume of the average home brew fermenter and the metal conducts heat better then plastic. If one had access to a swimming pool during the right times of the year. For instance winter, a keg filled with lager to be fermented could be placed on the steps on the pool so as only the top fifteen or so cm was exposed and then cap the top off with a rubber bung and a air lock. The pool water would keep the yeast the proper temperature for a strong healthy fermentation. An open keg shell could also be used as a boiling vessel for a fractional distillation apparatus to used to produce essential oils, vinegar or possible ethanol for uses as fuel (this would of course only be done once the proper permits were obtained from the ATF and the ethanol was only used for fuel.) I will post later on methods for producing fuel ethanol.
Needless to say there are a lot of uses for a keg shell besides just holding draft beer. As I mentioned before I have a few keg shells not including the full keg of Widmer Hefeweizen I currently have in my kegerator, it is such a great beer. When you can get it on tap at your local bar, restaurant or pub, it's awesome.
Currently in my garage I have three empty keg shells. All on them happen to be Sierra Nevada keg shells also. I have had then in my garage for about two or three months. What I figured out was that if you flip the shell over you can sit in a mildly comfortable fashion on the bottom of the keg. Although one's butt and legs get rather sore quickly, so maybe not so comfortable. In our garage we currently have a shortage of seating. We have two lawn chairs and the four chairs from inside at the dinner table. When we have a party there is not enough room for people to sit. Our garage is not big enough for us to seat everyone, but a few more seats would help. I flipped over all the keg shells and people didn't really sit on them, they just got in the way.
Early last month I had this idea, do you see where I am going with this. I tend to take a long time to get to the point. The kegs needed a soft seat to go on top of them. My idea was to take a piece of plywood and cut it in a circle the diameter of the keg. Then take a two by four and cut a hole which would fit over the opening on a keg shell. See the pictures for an example of what the opening on a keg shell looks like. The two by four would be fixed to one side of the round plywood and then a few centimeters of foam would be placed on the other side of the plywood to be held in place by a piece of fabric.
While up at my grandparents home outside of Reno, Nevada I had access to my grandfather's shop, which contains the tools needed to produce the seat. I took a keg shell to their house for this very purpose. Once he understood what I was trying to build we managed to knock the wooden portion of a seat out in under an hour. Then next two only took forty minutes to make both.
The next aspect of the seat construction required I travel to Carson City, Nevada which is not to far from their home, to pick up the necessary foam and fabric. We got the supplies at this hole in the wall fabric store. We settled on firm two inch foam and black marine upholstery leather (or rather fake leather that is.) Stretching the leather over the foam and stapling it to the back side of the wood seats went really fast. We managed to finish all three of the seats in under an hour.
The only changes from my original design in my head is we used three two by fours to hold the seat in place on top of the keg. as opposed to the single two by four with a hole in it. I don't feel that it makes any difference either way. All the wood used for the seats was scrap wood to cutting down on cost. My final cost for each seat was ten dollars, basically for foam and fabric. Take a look at the pictures, I think the seats turned out really nice and are very comfortable. I'm really looking forward to our next party/gathering to get some feed back on these seats which essentially turn a keg shell into a comfy stool!


homain said...

I will need to make a trip to davis to see these seats and sample your keg/liquor closet. Currently I have a sore throat, and I don't think drinking beer and whiskey is helping it, so I'm going to take a break. It's blasphemy.

President said...

Great minds think alike.

"The Official Barstool of Beer"

Jeff said...

Great minds may think alike, but I built these seats for a mere ten bucks a piece, as compared to 130 from I won't deny they have a great product it is just really expensive and seems to require drilling into the keg, which my seats don't so one can still use the keg for other functions.

homain said...

Perhaps you could devise a strap system to hold the seat on to allow a back support to be added. The cool factor would rise to the fourth power.

Anonymous said...

I bought a few kegstools. There's no drilling involved in the kegs as mentioned above. In fact, there's no damage at all. The price looks scary, but if you're in the market for stools, then, you know you can't find anything decent for less than that. Over all, I'm very happy with the functionality and it looks impressive in my bar downstairs. Plus I can dismantle the stool in ten minutes and fill my keg right up