A "Trunk N Chest" - DIY wood storage chest

This entire project was completed using ALL recycled and re-purposed items and without spending a DIME!

OK so I am a hoarder for cool nifty useful parts, so when my girlfriend wanted to get rid of this old cushioned trunk that we had just sitting around, I wasn't able to let it go that easy! It appeared to me, to have a great solid structure and some awesome heavy duty hinges.
I made a deal with her that instead of getting rid of it I would turn it into something more useful, like an outdoor storage chest. A doubting look and sigh later, she agreed...and I began..

Step 1: The Decision

This is what the old cushioned trunk looked like. It was still in pretty good condition but we just had no room for it in the house.  

I didn't want to use it outdoors with all the foam and cloth still on it as it would just start to stink and rot if it ever got wet.  Living here in California we don't get a whole lot of rain.. but still, not the best idea to have a water absorbing cushion outside.

Step 2: The Disassembly

I started by taking off the hinges and than tore away all the material and foam. To my disappointment the trunk lid was made out of some cheap OSB press wood :(   Oh well.. I just reminded myself that I was reusing and re-purposing this, so I would just deal with what I got.

Step 3: The Sigh!

After removing all the fabric I am dismayed to discover that the entire chest is covered in large staples!

Step 4: The Staples

Next step was removing the 100's of tacks and staples that had been used to secure the cloth and foam to the wood.

This part was a real pain!

A pair of needle nose pliers and a lot of patience...

I would estimate that I removed over 500 staples when all was said and done! I had to be careful not to leave any of the staples laying around that could puncture our car tires or any barefoot walkers. uhmmm 

Step 5: The Wood

My design idea was in place but I needed wood to build out the box.

Since this project was to re-purpose, I wanted to use reclaimed parts with material I had laying around.

Then I remember that we have an old bed frame sitting out back by the garbage can to be put out with the trash...lets see if I can use that!

Surprisingly enough, IKEA makes some good box springs with some nice nice wood, but of-course, there were a lot of sharp nails that had to be removed. 

I used a Pry-bar and hammer to get all the nails out. While making sure not to leave any nails laying around in the yard.

Step 6: The Box

Now here is when I had to figure out how I wanted to design this new chest using all my reclaimed wood.

The trunk had a nice solid base, so I decided to keep it and just extend the box upward.

Using the wood planks some short wood screws, elbow grease and an electric screw driver I extend the box to create a larger fillable space.

Step 7: The Lid

For the lid I used the press board that was underneath the cushion on the old ottoman.

The cut edge of the press board looked a little plain and not very attractive so I decided to glue and staple a nice rim around it with a small little trim piece that came off the box frame. 

Step 8: The Hinges

The nice heavy duty hinges off the old ottoman were the best part of it all as they were still in very good condition. So I attached those to the lid of the box for an easy open and close feature.

Oh look, Yep! That's me.

Step 9: The (More!) Staples

While initially removing the thousands of staples I noted that leaving some in may add to the "recycled/re-purposed" look that I was going for so I left some rows in. Once the lid was on I noted that there were still a few more that were just not in the right spot - so my buddy Martin took the initiative to removed them. Way to go man! Thanks

Step 10: The Progress

Time to take a step back and reflect on our progress... LOVE IT!


and Back

Step 11: Wood filler 

I couldn't stand the look of all my screw holes so I i patched it up with some wood filler and than sanded it down lightly.

Step 12: The Stain

Now for the color - I think a stain! Since it was my goal to do this whole project using only recycled products I took a look in my "mad lab" for an old can of stain. I found a few, and after testing each color, I decided on this one. Well to be honest, my girlfriend made the executive decision on this one. 

Look how nice that press wood board looks after it's stained. Who would have known?

Step 13: Clear Coat

I applied 1 coat of stain and when that was dry I finished it off with a clear coat spray (also from my mad lab)

Step 14: The Handles

It is time to add some Dope Rope handles - cause, well... they're DOPE!

Strong dope and simple. Drill holes and tie the ends from inside the box.

Step 15: The Stencil

Wasn't quite sure what else to stencil on the box so I just went with FRAGILE. "Fra-gee-lay".. it must be Italian!

Using some old letter stencils that I had laying around, I spray painted them on the front of the wood trunk

Step 16: The Reveal

Ta-Da! And Done! Time to get the girlfriend and show her - she LOVED IT!

We carried it straight to the back yard and loaded up the kids toys and the rest is history!

Step 16: The Video Transformation - Featuring Jack Johnson 


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