How to Build a Trunk

A trunk or chest is a popular piece of furniture for storing large or bulky items, clothes, towels or anything else that is used regularly but needs to be stored somewhere safe and out of the way when not in use. You can build a trunk using basic materials inside of a day and it will last for many years.

You Will Need

  • 12 pieces of 2-by-4 timber
  • 6 pieces of 1 inch thick hardwood
  • Circular saw
  • Wood glue
  • Long screws
  • Hammer drill
  • Screwdriver drill bit

Step 1
Cut four pieces of 2-by-4 to 20 inches in length, using a circular saw. Cut four pieces of 2-by-4 to 36 inches in length. Cut four pieces of 2-by-4 to 16 inches in length. Cut two pieces of 1 inch thick hardwood, such as beech or oak, to 36 inches long by 16 inches wide. Cut two pieces of 1 inch thick hardwood to 16 inches long by 16 inches wide. Cut two pieces of 1 inch thick hardwood to 36 inches long by 16 inches wide.

Step 2
Apply wood glue to the ends of each 36 inch long piece of 2-by-4. Attach one piece of 36 inch long 2-by-4 to one end of a 20 inch long piece of 2-by-4, so the 20 inch long piece stands at a right angle to the 36 inch piece. Attach another piece of 36 inch long 2-by-4 to the other end of the 20 inch piece, to form a “U” shape. Repeat this process to make a second “U” shape.

Step 3
Apply wood glue around the edges of the 36 by 16 inch pieces of hardwood. Slide the pieces into the “U” shapes. Attach a second 20 inch piece to the other ends of the 36 inch pieces to form two rectangular frames with hardwood inners. Reinforce the joints on the frames with countersunk long screws using a hammer drill with a screwdriver drill bit.

Step 4
Glue the ends of the 16 inch 2-by-4 pieces. Attach the 16 inch pieces to the corners of one of the wooden frames so the pieces stand at right angles to the frame. Glue the edges of the 16 inch by 16 inch hardwood pieces. Slide the hardwood between the 16 inch 2-by-4 pieces.

Step 5
Attach the second rectangular frame to the ends of the 16 inch 2-by-4 pieces to form the main body of the trunk. Reinforce the joints with countersunk long screws. Stand the trunk so one open face is facing upward. Glue the edges of this open face. Place one of the 36 inch by 16 inch hardwood pieces on top of the trunk, to form the base of the trunk. Reinforce the base using four countersunk long screws per edge.

Step 6
Attach the two long hinges to one of the 36 inch length edges of the remaining hardwood piece so they are equidistant from the corners. Turn the trunk over so the base is now on the ground. Stand the hardwood piece on the open face of the trunk. Screw the hinges onto the trunk. Open and close the trunk lid to test the hinges.

Tips
Paint or varnish the trunk to protect it from scrapes, knocks or weathering.

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