Old Trunk to Shelf Unit


So, I found an old trunk in a skip and sawed it in half. With the top half, I made a shoe cupboard – I described that in this post.

The other half of the trunk now: for shoes, evidentaly.

But I was still stuck with the remaining bottom half. I really didn’t want to chuck it out, it seemed a shame to given its age (100+ years maybe?). So, it sat in the garage for a bit.

The pressure mounted to find a use for the rest of the trunk in the last few weeks. We were considering buying a new house and I didn’t particularly want to cart a part-rotten half-a-trunk to the new place to sit in the garage there. But, I still could not stomach breaking it up and putting the bits in the bin.

So I made a shelf unit out of it, some old palette wood (the mid shelf) and what I think is mahogany from an old chair.

It looks okay, I think? I’d hope better than a chipboard unit with a faux-wood veneer anyway? Or at least it tells more of a story?

Stuff Done to Rotten Half-Trunk

  1. Glued in the shelf (just palette wood from a ‘nicer’ palette)
  2. Cleaned the fabric stuff that covers the trunk and PVA glued it back onto the backing wood where it was coming adrift
  3. Cut out the woodworm/ rotten bits and grafted in the (relatively speaking) new wood. I like this aesthetic, its shouts “I’m old” “I’m new” “We’re doing the same thing though”. Yes. That’s right. I am (shouting) an imaginary conversation between two bits of wood.
  4. Created a front perimeter with the mahogany  – stuck that in with glue and some bronze rose head nails I had.
  5. Made some feet with some mahogany offcuts
  6. Reinforced the top and bottom of the shelves. These had previously the trunk side walls and so were pretty flexible and (unreinforced) would bow with any out-of-plane weight on them.
  7. Restored (ie painted over) the cover fabric with black paint, sanded the timber ‘straps’ and polished up the rivets
  8. Sanded the timber ‘straps
  9. Polished up the rivets and edge metal work with aDremel
  10. Varnished the whole lot