Apartment Projects #5: A sort of Trestle/Skid/Box/Tray? type of thing...

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Blog entry by littlecope posted 01-14-2010 11:51 PM 3133 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Paying the Bills Part 5 of Apartment Projects series Part 6: Another Quick Hour's Work »

Ordinarily, in my “Apartment Projects” entries, I showed you things that I’ve done over the course of the years I’ve lived here. This one is a small work in progress. The Problem: I have two steamer trunks that were given to me by my Dad about five years ago. They came from his Parent’s house and belonged to his Grandmother; the very trunks she used when she came to America back in the late teens.
One has a curved topCurved Top Steamer Trunk
The other a flat topFlat Top Steamer Trunk
It’s my understanding that the curved top ones were more desirable, way back when, because they always ended up at the top of the stacks in ship’s holds. But in my situation, because of the contents and the relative conditions of the two, I want to stack them to conserve some room but I want the flat top one on top of the curved… The Solution I decided to build a small trestle-style skid, purely utilitarian, to provide a flat surface. I was telling my Girl Friend that I was taking a brief break from box-making to do this and she asked “Why can’t you make it into a Box?”
Why indeed, or should I say why not? :)
So I took a few quick measurements the other night, then scrounged around in the lumber department… I found two bed rails that aren’t pretty but they’ll be perfect for this simple job, and a drawer bottom that I’ll use as well.I have the wood
They’re some sort of hardwood plywood, Maple I believe, and have a hardwood cleat that was glued and tacked to the rails to hold the bed slats. I had previously tried to pry one of these off and it was a cursed nuisance. The Glue proved stronger than the Wood and tore layers off no matter how careful I was. So I resolved to simply cut those areas off. First I cut the pieces I need to length,Cutting pices to lengthCutting pieces to length
And then cut away the cleat sectionsCutting cleat off
I then cut a shape on one end of the long “Stretchers” and used the cut-off to mark the other endsShaping the ends
Then I put them in place on top of the trunk (which I protect with an old sheet) to measure the length the rails have to be, in this case 10 3/8”. If you look closely you’ll see that I cut a Round out of the bottom already, I forgot to take pix of that step… Sorry…Sides in place for measuring Rail length
Drew some lines on the rails by centering on 15” on the rule and measuring out 5 3/16” in both directionsMarking the Rails
And that’s as far as I got yesterday. This would take only a few hours if I had the time to devote to it, but precious Shop time is coming brief and intermittently lately…
I hope to have this done by the end of the weekend, but who knows? Stay tuned though! I’ll keep you all apprised of any new developments… :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

6 comments so far

View HallTree's profile


5664 posts in 3766 days

#1 posted 01-15-2010 12:55 AM

An interesting project. Looking forward to see the progress.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3190 days

#2 posted 01-15-2010 09:14 AM

The round top chest is a treasure—-as is—-Is it going to be displayed in the Livingroom??? What a great treasure, I love family history stuff.

Also some of those old chest have great value, you might want to research them. Don’t try to restore them that can effect the value.

Looking forward to the finish….oh you just started…lol

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3501 days

#3 posted 01-15-2010 11:52 AM

Bob: For now, I just want to get them out of the way, and together! But it is in my mind to later get a glass top for this curved top one and use it as a sort of Coffee Table and conversation piece. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to “flatten” this top in the first place… ;-)
Restoration is out of the question as they’re in pretty tough shape, particularly this one. The Hinge on it is gone, along with the locking mechanisms, and both of them lost their trays many years ago. But they do still have all of her stickers of passage from various ports, on both sides of the Atlantic so, if nothing else, they’re definitely Family Heirlooms. I put all of our Family photographs in the flat-topped one, while this one contains various Family “Treasures”, small things of little value, but meaningful to us…
Rather than restoration, someday I may attempt to recreate one or both of them, using these as a guide. The construction is remarkably simple! But there are a lot of elements to them, each contributing to the strength of the whole. We shall see… :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3333 days

#4 posted 01-15-2010 12:57 PM

Wonderful family treasures to have. It’ll be interesting to see how it comes out.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3108 days

#5 posted 01-15-2010 01:07 PM

I love the story behind this one and very well thought out plan on storing them without disturbing them as much as possible. I spent some time, a couple years ago, on family genealogy and played connect the dots with a few family heirlooms so I understand how important that family history is.

I think recreation is a great idea. Just an additional thougt, when that time comes…

They make replica steamer trunk labels on a few different sites. One of them is here. You might be able to find some that are exact, or close anyway, to the labels on the current trunk and that would allow you to also preserve the travel history of that trunk as well. If you can’t find a suitable label, you might be able to take some close up shots, scan them in, crop them, print them out on regular paper, glue them on the project, then seal them on the new trunk.

Good luck with your current project,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3190 days

#6 posted 01-16-2010 09:32 AM

Sometimes the stickers on the chest are the real value of the chest. Certain ships for example that might have carried Royality, or the famous people of the day. You maybe able to research that and find out about your greatgrand parents voyage-the peole they were with, the points of origin might even lead you to find out who your great great grand parents were. One day you may have time to look into these things. I find the whole thing fasanating.

The glass top idea is a good one. I know how hard it is to get all the projects done. Starting next week I’ll be working 60 hour weeks for a month.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

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