I’ve had a pile of reclaimed wood sitting up on my lumber rack for about a year now waiting for that perfect project. I wanted to build something with this old tongue and groove barn wood that would keep with the spirit, so I designed this antique style wooden storage chest.
Step 1: Lumber Prep & Cut List
Unfortunately the tongues and grooves were mostly broken off during the demo, but the wood was otherwise in good shape. The first step (and the least fun) was to rough cut the lumber and get rid of the tongue and groove. I used my table saw to take a little off each side of the board and rip down the boards to 3 inches wide.
I then used my miter saw to cut down all the boards to their final lengths using the cuts list below. The overall dimensions of the storage trunk is 39” x 21” x 16”.
Reclaimed 3/4 by 3 inch boards
- 10 @ 37 ½” - front & back walls
- 10 @ 18” - side walls
- 8 @ 15” - corners
- 6 @ 36” - base
- 7 @ 39” - lid
- 2 @ 17 ½” - lid supports
- 2 @ 18”
- 2 @ 33”
- 1 @ 15”
Step 2: Build the Base
It’s also a good idea to pre-drill pilot holes on the inside of the base frame so it will be easier to attach later on.
Step 3: Pre-assemble the Side Panels
I found it easier to first assemble each of the sides individually. I cut out a spacer strip for this. The spacer should be the same as the thickness of your reclaimed wood.
I laid out the 5 pieces for the front wall flat on my workbench, then butted my spacer up to the edge. I then placed a 15 inch corner piece on top, flush with the outside edge, and used some brad nails to attach it to the panels. Repeat for the other side, and the 3 remaining walls.
Step 4: Assemble the Trunk
With the 4 individual walls assembled, building the trunk is a matter of standing them up and making a box. To make things easier, I first put in a few brad nails from the outside, then screwed the base to the wall from the inside. This was a lot easier with my mini palm driver.
With the base secured into place, simply lay the floor boards into place and attach the boards to the base using your brad nailer.
You could use pocket hole screws to join the walls, or add a piece of wood on the inside corners to fasten them together, but I chose to use metal corner braces. I first spray painted them black, then screwed them in from the inside.
Step 5: Make the Lid
Step 6: Mount the Hardware
For the handles, I cut up 2 eight inch strips from an old belt and screwed them onto each side of the chest.
I also installed a latch to the lid to accommodate a padlock, but really I just liked the look.
Step 7: Finishing Touches
I wanted a way to hold the lid when open, so I simply screwed a piece of rope both to the inside of the lid and the side of the chest.
I finished off by rounding all the edges with my orbital sander, and touching up all the screws with some black paint.
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