6 Pack Carriers

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Project by JayG46 posted 05-13-2014 09:26 AM 3958 views 22 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made one of these around Christmas for my mom’s boyfriend, who is a homebrewer and consummate beer man. It seemed like the perfect gift and he uses it quite often. Recently, he brought it to a family gathering at my mom’s and I ended up getting orders for four more of them as a result.

(The original)

When I first joined Lumberjocks, it seemed that posting an end grain cutting board was like completing LJ101. You Google “end grain cutting board”, find the Wood Whisperer site, go buy some maple and purpleheart and salad bowl finish and go to town. You can make clean, simple designs or get crazy with some of the amazing 3D work that people do here. Anyway, the end grain board is a rite of passage and a project that many people use as a spring board (no pun intended) into more complicated projects.

I would suggest that six pack carriers might be the 200 level course. They are de rigueur around here but once you take one into the real world, people think you are ultra creative for making one. These totes are a certainly more complicated than a cutting board since they must be built around objects of a certain size and they bring in a lot of techniques from box making into the fold. Like cutting boards, you can make them as simple or as complex as you’d like and there’s plenty of room for creativity. And like cutting boards, if you’re going to make one, you might as well make 5!

These in particular are made out of mahogany and cypress which are both excellent in terms of rot resistance, which is important because these things are going to get wet.

One of the hard parts about the material for these is that you need a piece a little less than 7” wide for the uprights, and you don’t want very thick stock or else it is needlessly bulky. This necessitates either resawing or a ton of waste planing. I went with 5/8” which I got from resawing rough 6/4 boards. This mahogany was beautifully tension free so I did the bulk of it on the table saw and then went to the bandsaw to remove the inch or so in the gap the TS couldn’t reach.

I chose box joints for the sides based mostly on looks. I struggle with dialing in the fit of the joints on the jig I made for the table saw but with some handwork did eventually get them all together. In hindsight, I should have just bit the bullet and set up the dovetail jig for this but I was worried about the same problem that I ran into – dialing in the fit.

The bottom of the carrier is made of out cypress with a strip of mahogany that sits in a dado in each of the uprights. There is a gap between the bottom and the sides to allow the inevitable build up of moisture to dissipate. The dividers are also made of cypress (5/16”) with simple lap joints. They fit pretty tightly, so I didn’t glue them together. This way, you can take them apart to apply more finish or combine the two small ones if you have four regular size bottles and two 22 oz, for instance.

The handles were a lot of fun to make and as I assembled the carriers, I added more flair to the designs. For joinery, I used a 5/8” forstner bit to drill identically located holes in each upright, and created round tenons in the handles. First, I used the table saw to establish the shoulders, then a bandsaw to get close to the right size tenon, then a chisel and rasp for rounding. Making 10 joints this way got a little tedious but tit was the best way I could think of doing it.

The first handle design didn’t have quite enough arch and crowded your fingers by the bottles. The second one had more of an arch and was thinner in the middle. By the time I got to the last two I used Guatemalan rosewood and cocobolo to made very thin squiggly handles that I think turned out pretty cool.

The final touch, after the first coat of Watco teak oil is applied are the bottle openers. I got them on amazon but unfortunately they are no longer available in the 4 pack I got them in. It adds a nice functional touch and if you want to get crafty, you can put some magnets below them to catch the caps like I did on the one in the first picture imbedded on the top of the post.

The first one of these got shipped out yesterday but the others will stay in the shop for few more coats of teak oil and possible some extra touches like magnets and so forth.

As always, thanks for checking them out.

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

10 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


18051 posts in 4353 days

#1 posted 05-13-2014 09:44 AM

Nice work, some great beer holders….

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2988 days

#2 posted 05-13-2014 10:58 AM

Very nice 6 pack carriers, beautiful wood and well made…thanks for sharing.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View justoneofme's profile


861 posts in 3644 days

#3 posted 05-13-2014 02:07 PM

I’ve seen a few six-pack boxes around … mostly at the u-brew-it places. They are all very Plain Jane in comparison to what you’ve displayed here Jay! Yours are BEAUTIFUL!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 4951 days

#4 posted 05-13-2014 02:41 PM

These are some of the nicest 6 pack carriers I’ve seen on LJ’s! I’ve contemplated making a few for my brew buds. I hadn’t thought to make the fancy handles, but will now as it certainly gives a high end look. I like the bottle opener on the end. I will also embed the magnet from the inside and plug the hole so it is invisible from both sides but will still catch the cap. For the bottom I was going to use some sort of Al. screen (or 2 dowels) so water would not be an issue.

View 7Footer's profile


2575 posts in 3113 days

#5 posted 05-13-2014 04:45 PM

Those are really beautiful carriers Jay. Well done. I love the box joints, and the contrasting woods, something I’ve also contemplated trying on my growler totes. I would have to agree, the handles are one of the hardest parts, yours look fantastic though.


View Ivan's profile


16904 posts in 4032 days

#6 posted 05-13-2014 04:57 PM

What is more beautiful than 6pack carrier?
- Full 6pack carrier.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View JayG46's profile


139 posts in 3023 days

#7 posted 05-13-2014 05:41 PM

Thanks for the kind words, guys

Ratchet – The magnet from the inside trick is tough. With a forstner bit, you can only get so close to the opposite side without the tip poking through. I’ve tried it on scrap pieces and couldn’t quite get it to work. The other thought I had was to make a contrasting plug, glue a very thin veneer to the top of the magnet and drop that in place. That way, you could control the distance to the surface better. Like the idea of the aluminum screen, too. Good luck when the time comes!

-- Jay Gargiulo, Naples, FL "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things."- Miyamoto Musashi

View oldnovice's profile


7709 posts in 4532 days

#8 posted 05-13-2014 07:26 PM

Nice project, thanks for NOT sharing the contents! chuckle

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View Jos's profile


59 posts in 2746 days

#9 posted 05-15-2014 06:41 PM

Very nice work!

View K_B's profile


16 posts in 2767 days

#10 posted 05-18-2014 09:09 AM

Very nice indeed, may have to borrow the idea in a future project :)

-- -> Kim, Denmark

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