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Jaymie's Trunk

For my sister Jaymie's 12th birthday, we decided to build her a trunk. She has a lot of things, but not a lot of places to store them.

We planned the dimensions of this trunk be 36 inches wide by 18 inches deep by 18 inches tall.

We began by cutting the pieces for our frame. These were cut from some scrap 2x4s. Never underestimate the value of good quality scrap. You can make some really great projects with it! Bryan trimmed 3/16 of an inch from each side of the 2x4, then sent the ripped it down the middle on the table saw. This resulted in boards that were 1.5 inches square.

Then we measured and cut the lengths for each board. The corner posts were 15 inches tall, the rails were also cut at 15 inches, and the stiles were cut at 33 inches. The frame was constructed by encasing the rails and stiles with corner posts and attaching with wood glue and 16-gauge, 2.5 inch brad nails.

As we began constructing the frame, I got a little excited at the prospect of building a table. Before the planks were attached to the sides, the piece resembled an inverted table frame. We'll have to work on one, soon.

Next, Bryan cut the slats to for the body of the trunk. They were all sawed from a 2x10. First, he cut the 2x10 into shorter sections on the miter saw. Then, he ran each board through the table saw multiple times. For each pass, he moved the fence half an inch, the blade removed 1/8 of an inch, and the remaining piece measured 3/8 of inch thick and 1.5 inches wide.

After the table saw got a workout, we attached several planks to the floor of the trunk using wood glue and 18-gauge brad nails that were an 1.25 inches long.

Before we fastened planks around the sides, I gave the floor a light sanding just to kind of knock down some of the saw marks. It was a lot easier for me to tackle the sanding on the floor while the sides were still open. I used 120 grit on our orbital sander.

Next, we cut up slats for the short sides of the trunk. These also measured 18 x 1.5 x 3/8.

For the long sides of the trunk, we cut 24 planks that measured 36.75 inches long. The longer planks overlapped those we installed on the short sides of the trunk.

Once we had constructed the body of the trunk, we noticed that it needed a little extra support along the front and back panels. We installed a brace right across the center at 16 inches to help tie all the planks together and prevent unnecessary movement.

Then, we assembled the trunk lid and called it a night.

The next day, I sanded down the entirety of the trunk with 120 grit just to smooth it up a little bit and get it ready for some stain. Bryan noticed that the screws for our hardware were a little too long for the thickness of the trunk, so he installed a couple of supports along the interior. They also serve as extra support for the lid.

I stained the entire trunk, inside and out, in the color Golden Oak. We had used the same stain on a mirror project and really liked how that turned out.

We let the stain sit for about 10 minutes. The wood really sucked that stain right in and didn't leave many spots of pooling. I wiped down the excess, and we decided to stop at one coat. If you wanted it to be darker, you could definitely wait a couple of hours and apply a second coat.

After the stain had some additional time to dry, Bryan added a coat of spray lacquer for a little extra shine.

He installed hinges along the back of the trunk about six inches from each side. Then he installed two draw catches on the front of the trunk to securely close the lid. He marked at eight inches from each side for those.

Before we delivered the trunk to Jaymie, we did install a lid support to reduce pressure on the back panel and make it a little bit safer.

This is definitely the largest project we've done so far. We could have went the easy way. We could have used some panels of some plywood or something, but we had some spare 2x10s laying around, and Bryan got real creative! Sawing those 2x10s into inch and a half wide boards gave me an appreciation of how expensive hardwood floor is. If you want to build this trunk and get a little more creative, feel free. Use different wood. Use different stain. Paint it. Distress it. Whatever your taste is - something like this is just a blank canvas, so have fun with it.

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