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California Cooler

Author http://www.instructables.com/id/Resurrecting-the-California-Cooler/?ALLSTEPS

 California Cooler Showing in and out vents   California Cooler

Close up of Metal Racks   Showing plwood lined insulation
Resurrecting a 1930's California Cooler
First, they removed our old cabinets and exposed the old vent. This was a single vent that was fairly large. Perhaps it was divided into two vents originally, but what we needed for the dimensions of the new cabinet was to seal off some of this vent and then to cut a new one up higher.
 
When the new cabinets arrived, they cut holes in the back for the new vents before installing the cabinet on the wall. For louvers, we used a pair of heating registers with little levers for opening and closing. After the cabinet was installed, the new vent was cut in the side of the house to match the upper cabinet hole (See Intro Photo). A strip of adhesive foam insulation was also added along the vertical edge, to prevent air exchange with the kitchen.  Soon similar pieces of insulation will be added at the top and bottom.
 
Next, we added insulation to the back and sides of the cabinet, and Eric made some custom pieces of wood to cover the insulation and line the cabinet. The wood and insulation in the back was given holes that matched the vents and into these holes the heating registers were mounted.
 
On the side walls, we drilled sets of holes for the shelf pegs. The wire cloth was cut with a grinding wheel, and then bent to the right size by a metal shop.
 
Finally, insulation was cut for the door. It has not yet been permanently installed (still trying to figure out how to do this), but it's put in place for most of the day, except when we are home, cooking.
 
For now, the thermometer probe has just been inserted through the gap at the bottom of the door, but soon we'll drill a hole in the bottom of the cabinet and mount the thermometer on the wall.