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Rustic Pallet Wood Trunk

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This rustic trunk was made out of some 1x4 pallet lumber that I picked up from a local farmer. The whole box except the top are 3/4" in thickness, with the top being 7/8" in thickness. To fasten the trunk sides together I used old fashioned fine cut nails that I dipped in vinegar to give a rustic appearance. I also dipped the hardware in the vinegar to add a little patina as well.
For the finish, I went with a nice semi-gloss polyurethane.
Time: 8 Cost: $75 Difficulty: Easy
If you want to watch how I made the trunk, check the video out above. If you want to see some awesome step by step pics, keep going!
Before we begin, here's a rough part list for you if you want to build along.
These are the 1x4 pallet boards I picked up for a quarter each from a local farmer.
  • rustic pallet wood trunk, pallet
With the side panels cut to length, I edge joint each side and glue them up to make the panels.
I do the same with the rest of the panels which include the front, back, sides, bottom, top, and false bottom.
  • rustic pallet wood trunk, pallet
With the panels glued up, I did a mock up of where the parts go to get an idea of how it's going to look. The trunk is huge, but looks awesome!
  • rustic pallet wood trunk, pallet
To join the panels to make the box, I nailed the sides to the front and back panels using BT&C fine cut nails.
Before nailing them in, I dip the heads of the nail in some vinegar to add some rust to them. This was to add some age to the nails so it would match with the whole project of "rustic".
This is what the nails ended up looking like after the vinegar dried.
On each of the 4 box corners I attached 2 corner brackets (one at the top and one at the bottom). They came painted a flat black from the store so I used my random orbit sander and 220 grit sandpaper to remove the paint. I then dipped them in the vinegar to once again form some rust on the surface of the brackets.
This is what they ended up looking like.
  • rustic pallet wood trunk, pallet
On each of the 4 box corners I attached 2 corner brackets (one at the top and one at the bottom). They came painted a flat black from the store so I used my random orbit sander and 220 grit sandpaper to remove the paint. I then dipped them in the vinegar to once again form some rust on the surface of the brackets.
To seal the rust in and to prevent it from rubbing off, I sprayed a coat of polyurethane on them.
  • rustic pallet wood trunk, pallet
I cut rabbets along the bottom of the side and front/back panels for the bottom panel to sit in.
  • rustic pallet wood trunk, pallet
As you can see, there's now a groove for the bottom panel to sit in. If you don't want your bottom panel to be inset, you can always just nail it to the bottom edges of the trunk box.
  • rustic pallet wood trunk, pallet
With the trunk box and bottom put together, I lightly sand the surface with 180 grit sandpaper. The goal here is to NOT sand away the rough appearance of the wood as that's what makes it look "rustic".
  • rustic pallet wood trunk, pallet
I installed 6 little blocks on the bottom inside of the box to hold the secret compartment lid.
  • rustic pallet wood trunk, pallet
With everything built, I applied 2 coats of spar urethane with a brush.
  • rustic pallet wood trunk, pallet
And finally, I made and attached 2 leather handles to assist in lifting the trunk.
Thanks for checking my trunk out! If you enjoyed this build, check my YouTube channel out where I build all kinds of things: https://www.youtube.com/simplecove

Materials I used for this project:

  • 1x4 Pallet lumber   (Local farmer)
  • Fine finish cut nails   (http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com)
  • Corner brackets   (Amazon)

To see more: http://www.simplecove.com/232/rustic-pallet-wood-trunk-with-a-hidden-compartment/

  • Renata
    Renata Hermiston, OR

    Love it!

  • Diane
    Diane Albuquerque, NM

    My dad would have loved to have made this. Beautiful chest, you do great work.

  • Kathy Reid

    I love the rustic look of the trunk. It's really beautiful.

  • Giorgia
    Giorgia Brazil

    lovely

  • Susan Schueler
    Susan Schueler Lexington, KY

    I love it. I recently make a bench with a back on it for my porch. I love it. Just love pallets. You did a great job!

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