Mahogany Steamer Trunk

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Project by Brett posted 09-17-2011 10:35 AM 2503 views 7 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a mahogany steamer trunk that I completed last December (2010) for my oldest son. It was actually supposed to be a present for his 12th birthday that was in June of 2009! I guess I’m a little slow.

I used a plan from The New Yankee Workshop and I changed it up some for my liking. The dimensions are 36” wide x 18” deep and about 22” high. By the numbers, it’s size doesn’t sound that big but, it is seems larger when it is all put together. One of the changes that I made was adding the sliding/removable tray on the inside. That wasn’t in the plan originally but it seemed like there needed to be something else with it besides just being a box.

At first, I wanted to have a blacksmith make some hinges for it however, price soon put a stop to that. Then I thought that I would make them, yeah right. I did make the straps that run from the front, over the top and down the back out of some steel that I picked up from HD. I also made the handles out of the same piece that I used for the straps. I wanted a rugged look to the hardware and boy, did I get it! The handles are rugged but I take pride in the fact that I made them from an idea in my head. Isn’t that why we do this stuff anyway?

I used, I don’t remember how many, coats of shellac sanding sealer to fill the grain some and then I wiped on about 3 coats of poly. It could have been more coats of poly but I don’t remember exactly how many. I always put on at least 3 coats so I know that much is on it. There is a deep green velvet liner in the bottom, a turned knob on the front and a rope to hold the lid, with little whippings on the ends in red embroidery thread to add some small special touches to make it a unique gift.

This is kind of like a boys hope chest for my son. Our hope (Mom and I) is that we would be able to encourage him to fill his life with meaningful treasure that would not just be helpful in this life but, more importantly, in the life to come. That is what this box was presented to him as.

Thanks for looking!

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

9 comments so far

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2861 days

#1 posted 09-17-2011 02:57 PM

This is really cool, I bet it weighs a ton. Great story too.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View LouJC's profile


59 posts in 3232 days

#2 posted 09-17-2011 02:58 PM

Thats a fine job, it will last your son for generations

-- Lou - Maine

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3214 days

#3 posted 09-17-2011 04:44 PM

What a great Steamer. Amazing work on the finish and dovetails!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 2622 days

#4 posted 09-18-2011 01:46 AM

It was worth the wait, the chest is wonderful. Now your son has to fill it with treasure. I love the dovetails, it gives it character. The mahogany is so rich looking when finished.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View Brett's profile


950 posts in 2784 days

#5 posted 09-18-2011 02:56 AM

Thank you for the compliments! You all are very encouraging.

I added the last 3 pictures that were on another computer. That is my son helping to build his trunk.

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3615 days

#6 posted 09-18-2011 07:08 AM

Excellent work!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View AkBob's profile


201 posts in 2572 days

#7 posted 09-29-2011 11:16 PM

Don’t know how I missed this, very nice work!

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2627 days

#8 posted 10-18-2011 03:21 AM

Wow Brett, I love this…great build! Thanks for sharing.

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2829 days

#9 posted 03-17-2012 11:48 PM

Super nice trunk, and gr8 story. I’m sure your son will do just fine filling it, and cherishing it also. Especially since he had his hands into bringing it to life.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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