Asked on Oct 24, 2014

Vintage Ammunition Box As A Piece of Furniture? Your Advice, Please!

Charlda WSheila CarrSharron Abrams


When my husband texted me a photo of this vintage ammunition box and asked me if I wanted him to haul it home for me, of course I said yes. Always up for a challenge, I was determined to find a way to repurpose this thing!
It's really large, like 45 1/2" long, 8" tall and 14" deep.
It's rope handles are conveniently located on each end of the box. It also has the original hardware which includes a lock mechanism on the top of the box.
Can you guess what I want to do with it? Yup, turn it into a table! Only question is, what kind of table?
I need your advice as to what you think I should transform it into, what type of stain to use and what type of sealant would work best on this type of wood. So what do you think? Don't be shy - I can't wait to hear you ideas!
35 answers
  • Chris aka monkey
    Chris aka monkey
    on Oct 24, 2014

    @Kathleen A. Charm Bracelet Diva {At Home} wow what a find..of course first thought is coffee table,,then of course is a side board with some nice chunky legs,minwax makes all kinds of stains and sealers,looks like it might need a hefty sanding good luck xx

    • Lois Watkins
      Lois Watkins
      on Oct 25, 2014

      @Kathleen A. Charm Bracelet Diva {At Home} I would only sandpaper the rough splintery spots just enough to do away with them. You want to preserve the age and writings. Helps retain the value.

  • Marion Nesbitt
    Marion Nesbitt
    on Oct 25, 2014

    I'd oil it to preserve the printing and character, put on some square feet, and add a heavy glass top. Then I'd use it for a great coffee table with some room for display under the glass, and storage under the top.

    • Marion Nesbitt
      Marion Nesbitt
      on Oct 25, 2014

      @Marion Nesbitt I've used Cabot's stain wax (was a light oak, I think) on an old wash stand with success. Goes on like oil. I've also used Danish and Teak oils. The teak oil actually sinks in and strengthens wood fibres. All will enrich the tone without covering the lettering. You could experiment in a remote spot to see which you like best.

  • Cool idea to use the glass top! What kind of oil??

    • Marion Nesbitt
      Marion Nesbitt
      on Oct 25, 2014

      @Kathleen A. Charm Bracelet Diva {At Home} I've used Cabot's stain wax (was a light oak, I think) on an old wash stand with success. Goes on like oil. I've also used Danish and Teak oils. The teak oil actually sinks in and strengthens wood fibres. All will enrich the tone without covering the lettering. You could experiment in a remote spot to see which you like best.

  • Busymomhelp
    on Oct 25, 2014

    It's a very lovely box. I'd repaint it and decoupage it and then turn it into a small table. Or i'd cut or curve holes and openings in it and set leds inside and turn it into my kitchen hanging box for spices and stuff.

  • GR
    on Oct 25, 2014

    I think it would be a shame to lose the details (which is what really gives it it's character) so I'd go easy on the sanding/staining and I certainly wouldn't paint it and it's not often you hear me saying that! We have something called Danish Oil here which is great for protecting wood but I'm sure you have even more choice in your stores than we do. Good luck with whatever you end up doing :-)

    • GR
      on Nov 9, 2014

      @P.j. C Actually that sounds really interesting, did she send you any pictures of the finished project? Re the historic house question, I don't have a problem with updating old houses to make them compatible with modern life (afterall that's what people have been doing for centuries!) but I start throwing things at the TV when some trendy couple gut a Victorian townhouse and turn it into a minamalist white/glass box. Sadly it is the location and size of the plot that they are buying into not the period features and as long as the exterior remains unchanged the planners don't get involved.

  • Melinda Lockwood
    Melinda Lockwood
    on Oct 25, 2014

    I would clean it, lacquer it and use a glass top. Love the little square leg ideas! These are great for storage of all sorts of things.

  • Debs
    on Oct 25, 2014

    I would not touch the box with sanding, paint etc. I would simply add legs, to use as an entry way table or along a wall as a "seasonal table" Change it with the seasons, flowers, etc. A tiny village at Christmas. Fall leaves and colors, add Photos of the family. Lay a throw over the lid....It has so many potential ideas! Let us know what you decide to do. I love these type of boxes. You can always change it later!

  • Traci
    on Oct 25, 2014

    I would not sand it. Hang it on the wall with the lid hanging open, use it as a shelf to display things in.

  • Jerry
    on Oct 25, 2014

    It would make a lovely cabinet such as a medicine cabinet. Hang on wall add shelves to inside. Might hang on wall add hooks inside for jewelry. Hang over commode if deep enough to put extra toilet paper in.

  • Cheryl Delaney
    Cheryl Delaney
    on Oct 25, 2014

    I of course thought about a coffee table. I also thought it could make an awesome bench add legs, cushions, keep it natural. What a great find. I love it.... Good luck.

  • Dobi
    on Oct 25, 2014

    Definitely refinish slightly, don't want to redo completely! Have you thought about adding legs and making it a side table?

  • John Beeler
    John Beeler
    on Oct 25, 2014

    Easily u could add table legs for extra storage and to fill an bare spot that just needs something. If you get 2 I love the coffee table idea add some wheels with breaks

  • Julia
    on Oct 25, 2014

    I would add some short legs and use it open on my porch to fill with seasonal decorations - flower pots, pumpkins, greenery and ornaments, etc.

  • Terri
    on Oct 25, 2014

    Might make a great place to store CD's

  • Dorothy Collett
    Dorothy Collett
    on Oct 25, 2014

    The henges are really strong; you can hang horzontal to use as a wall desk. You can make a stable stand for it to save the rope handle, add shelves and stand it on end as a cabinet/ gun cabinet with lock. It is also the perfect size for an end of the chest, hair pin legs would look great.

  • Patti
    on Oct 25, 2014

    If it's in the budget or you or hubby can weld, a black metal "stand" with the box on the top to create the right height table would look wonderful. I would do it so the box would sit ever so slightly down into the frame so the metal showed on the sides and no problem with it sliding around. Of course if you could find some kind of metal stand, even if it wasn't the exact size needed, I'd just use what was available. I've often wanted to do this with a trunk that wasn't quite tall enough for a table. I LOVE wooden boxes! I've been deprived of a creative outlet for quite some time as we've just built a new house but haven't been able to move in yet and are trying to keep two households going while we try to sell the old house and I can't make a mess, so I get all itchy when I see what you all are doing!! I'm looking forward to the day when I can try some of these ideas for myself.

  • TwilaB
    on Oct 25, 2014

    I would not refinish! I like the idea of hanging on a wall. Do you have a bar area? Add some shelves and store shot glasses or odd bar items. It's a 'guy' box, find a use for it for your husband! My husband being an avid gun person, I would hang on the wall, add some shelves for him to store his ammo. Or, a short table so he could store his gun cleaning items in one place.

  • Brenda Webster
    Brenda Webster
    on Oct 25, 2014

    I'm seeing an awesome coffee or end table.

  • Wanda sinnema
    Wanda sinnema
    on Oct 25, 2014

    for a table I have seen plumbing pipe screwed on,, you can get it cut to any height you wnat..I'd spay paint the pipe a dark color..depending n your decor,, black, grey or a antiqued brownish bronze....I would just sand it a bitso no slivers.. leave the detail and seal...... you could have 2 small pieces of glass to sit inbetween the slats,,use spacers to make them the same height as them,, or one large would be great place for seasoal stoage,, heavy throws,, or extra pillows..... for that you could a hinge like coffee tables have that you can raisefor eating..For that I'd check with a woodwoking shop.. it ould give you access yet function..... great piece.....

  • PattyV
    on Oct 25, 2014

    I'd stick some iron piping to the bottom (to make four long legs) and add big black cast iron wheels on the bottom. Then I add a light stain with a coat of poly inside and out. I'd add some vintage bar items and add a wine rack across the top. A portable bar.

  • Darlene Shanks
    Darlene Shanks
    on Oct 26, 2014

    My daughter has one that has top painted with American flag and attached to two crates, making a coffee table in her country Americana living room. She keeps magazines, etc. in it.

  • Therese C
    Therese C
    on Oct 26, 2014

    This would make an incredible coffee table in a man cave! Please just do not sand, paint, etc..anything that would change the look of it! You could even raise it up on very short leg lifts 2-3 inches in height, and use for a foot locker storage bench at the foot of the bed. Or raise it a bit higher and use as a tv stand in the bedroom. The possibilities are endless!! Ask the hubby what he would come up with ideas that fly right over us sometimes!

  • Jeanette S
    Jeanette S
    on Oct 26, 2014

    In a household even things not used get grimy with dust so I would at least put a coat of finish on it. I love those rub on varnishes. I would not sand it down but leave it as much like it is as you can. (Of course sand off some of the splinters!) I like the idea of it becoming a console table in a foyer of just inside the living room.

  • Connie
    on Oct 26, 2014

    I have an old tool chest I just put Carnuva Wax on it and use it as a footstool in front of our couch. It looks great!

  • Lorraine depaolo
    Lorraine depaolo
    on Oct 26, 2014

    I would put wheels on it(to make it easier to move)...varnish it or your favorite color...put heavy glad on top for coffee table...OR make a bench at side of dining table, w/ legs and wheel locks, & cushion

  • Merrilyn merkley
    Merrilyn merkley
    on Oct 27, 2014

    we built a camp out of then !! but i have many around i love them

  • Love the bench idea!

  • Nancy West
    Nancy West
    on Oct 27, 2014

    I had one just like that and I added a three-legged pedestal base and have a truly unique table that I decorate primitive/rustic.

  • How cool! I hope I can find some great legs, maybe on an old beat up table somewhere that I can repurpose!

  • Wglindner
    on Oct 29, 2014

    I would take a rag and paint and wash it the color I wanted. Then I would put casters on it and put at the end of guess room with blanket and clean towel. For company coming during the holidays. Put some nice soap.

  • Cathy C
    Cathy C
    on Oct 29, 2014

    I've got one hanging on my wall that I put shelves in. It can be used in the kitchen for spices or I currently use mine for movies in my living room but anything goes!

  • Nancy West
    Nancy West
    on Oct 29, 2014

    Great ideas People. When I get tired of my table and ready to change into something "new" I am gonna use some of your ideas.

  • Sharron Abrams
    Sharron Abrams
    on Nov 2, 2014

    I would stick some legs on this and give it a cherry wood stain - perhaps to have a hint of the writing. You can use this as a coffee table or dressing table with lid for jewelry and hair pins. I have seen some in the pas as planter boxes. So many ideas - wish I had time to help you - you look like you have plenty of these and what fun to come up with even better ideas - this would be a great garage sale find.

  • Sheila Carr
    Sheila Carr
    on Nov 11, 2014

    You could add legs and use it for a coffee table with storage. Place a sheet of glass or plexiglass over the top, then, between the glass and the box, place photos or other small keepsakes. Depending on your theme, since the glass would be raised because of the wood slats, you could even put seashells or something else under the glass. Have fun. :)

  • Charlda W
    Charlda W
    on Nov 15, 2014

    i have one I stenciled a lighthouse on both sides is so darling.

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