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Crapaud 11-08-2009 04:09 PM

Build a Custom Ice Chest?
I would like to replace my companionway step with a wood/fiberglass ice chest which would fit the odd shapes space. Does anyone have any experience building and insulating a custom ice chest or box?

LaNinfa 11-08-2009 04:23 PM

I just read an article about a dingy that was being rebuilt. Please bare with me while I explain. The author used rigid foam as the replacement bench framing for the seat. He then covered it with a layer of resin and fiberglass for strength. This should work for an Ice chest or whatever else you are looking to frame. using appropriate alternating layers of fiberglass should give you the strength you need to even make a weight bearing step ( with a step notched lid as well. P.S. Iam doing this same thing in my Catalina 27. Hope this helps

rikhall 11-08-2009 05:09 PM

I built a custom ice box on our last boat. Got the ideas, spec and hints, etc out of either Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat by Daniel Spurr or from Don Casey's This Old Boat. Pictures of the project are at:

Ice Box construction


badsanta 11-08-2009 06:24 PM

Check out this and the links at the bottom of the page

Faster 11-08-2009 06:53 PM

We made one some time back.. used blue styro to block it all in, glued into place and then finished the inside with epoxy resin and cloth. Turned out pretty good - used more foam to make two insulated lids (a small one for a quick beer grab, larger for loading and larger items.) It was a huge improvement on the "underhung' cooler that came with the boat.

sarafinadh 11-08-2009 07:20 PM

I have done some reading about this and suggest you at least look into the high performance panels. Following is a snippet of info.

VIP technology is available that uses aerogel as a core material. Aerogel is a powdery silica based material which has an R value of around 9 per inch at atmospheric pressure. Glacier Bay, Inc., uses this core material in BARRIER ULTRA-R super insulation panels. BARRIER ULTRA-R panels have an R value of 50 per inch. They come with a 25 year performance warranty against loss in R value. This is possible because the aerogel core chemically adsorbs gas molecules that pass through the vacuum barrier membrane. This getter activity allows the panel to maintain its high vacuum level and R value over an extended time.
Marine-refrigeration ice-boxes built with BARRIER ULTRA-R have a total wall thickness of about two and one quarter inches. Although the initial cost of this material is higher than other insulation options, it is often chosen for new marine-refrigeration construction and marine-refrigeration ice-box retrofit projects because usable space can potentially be doubled or more for a given external volume. When coupled with the long performance life and superior energy performance, it may offer the greatest value.

Crapaud 11-08-2009 09:13 PM

Thanks for all the help and ideas. I'm not in the habit of documenting these projects, but I will try to do as well as Rik's project. The new extreme commercial ice chest in my size range are about $130 ($165 w/ wheels) - the bar has been set.


roline 11-08-2009 11:08 PM

Look up VIP vacuum insulated panels, R29+ per inch. More expensive but you end up with more storage area. Only down side, they need to be protected from physical harm, being punctured. Don't under estimate the importance of good insulation....

mitiempo 11-09-2009 02:00 AM

While the new thin vacuum type insulation is great on paper, it taakes a lot of paper to pay for it too. Have you priced the Glacier Bay panels?

sarafinadh 11-09-2009 09:28 AM

yes it is spendy. 350.00 a panel, and you need 6 so 2k mas o menos and you still have to build it, unless you go for one of the prebuilt kits, which I suspect is even more...

But you get alot more refrigerated space (4 inches in all 3 dimensions) and long term savings on fuel. Just depends on if you have the budget, or space for bulkier insulation.

Not for everyone, but seems like it could be an excellent option for some.

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