Wednesday, May 27, 2015
While finishing the cribbage board project and also the bookshelf project, I once again saw this wooden box sitting on my workbench. I had started it probably a couple years ago out of some leftover oak from a project but messed up with the top. I think I was planning on making an inset top for it but when I rabbited the long pieces, I went through the end material leaving notches that would look like giant pimples in each corner. I had other things to do so I used this box to store some of my pen making supplies in on my workbench. For whatever reason, when I noticed it once again sitting there all stained and dirty, an image popped into my head. I thought perhaps I could turn it into a miniature steamer trunk. I cut off the top part with the pimple-like notches and rabbits so I had a smooth surface to work with.
Using some scrap oak, I made a domed top for the box and with lots of trimming, sanding, filling in defects, more sanding and staining, I still wasn't happy. Oak doesn't take stain very well and I was wanting a richer and darker look to it to make it seem old. Normally when staining something, I brush it on thick and then wipe it off after ten minutes or so. After doing this four times, it was still way lighter than I wanted so I did a fifth time differently. This time I just stood there and kept brushing the stain with a foam brush every few minutes to make sure it stayed uniform but never wiped it off. I ended up with the color I was looking for but I had to live with a few imperfections in the stain where it was thicker or thinner in places. I found some antique bronze hardware to attach to it which looks good. The handles that came with it were way too big to attach to the sides like a true steamer trunk so instead I just put one handle on top and moved the two cinch clasps to the sides. I didn't use any of the metal corners that came with the kit because they just didn't look proportionate to the box. They were meant for a full sized steamer box. I'll just save them for a future project.
All in all, I am happy with how it turned out but I still haven't figured out what to do with my mini-steamer trunk yet. I made a lockable trunk about this size for my oldest daughter to put all her 'valuable' baubles that young kids collect so perhaps I will give this to our youngest in a couple years for her stuff. Until then, I need to find a way to use it other than as a large door stop. But at least it is off my workbench which is now clean except for one toy loader project I never seem to finish.