Repurposed Tool Trunk/Carpenter's Chest

This was an old handmade tool trunk/carpenter's chest my dad gave me many years ago. It had been painted over many times and was quite ugly. I decided to strip it and refinish it. It is made of yellow pine and has many dings and countless nails in it. I think it just adds to the charm. It is now a coffee table.

Estimated Cost
Estimated Time Investment
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Type of Wood
Yellow Pine (it is quite old and very dense for pine)
Finish Used
Minwax gunstock stain (2 coats) and Minwax fast drying stain 3 and 4 coats. I also applied Briwax for additional protection. I must admit the stripping was quite a task. I must have gone through 2 gallons of paint stripper using a putty knife, wire brushes, and a dremel tool. The hardware was impossible to remove so I had to leave it on. I also had to hand sand much of it due to the many dings in the wood. I painted the hardware using Rust Oleum spray primer (brown) and Rust Oleum spray paint (dark brown).

The grooves on top were packed with wood putty. It was difficult to remove. I am thinking of maybe adding some cast iron pieces to fill these. I have also ordered some handles from and will add them when they come in. I will add photos of the changes as I make them.
Recommended Skill Level
Starter Project



Thu, 03/08/2012 - 09:59

I would love to see plans for this great chest. It looks great!


Sun, 03/11/2012 - 01:47

I will have to draw something up. Or at least give the measurements. It really wasn't created to be a piece of furniture, though I use it as a coffee table. It really is heavy because it uses 2 layers of wood on the exterior and interior and then an abundance of nails were used and driven through both layers and then bent over. It made the refinish quite a challenge. Try sanding around all of those bent over nails w/o tearing your sandpaper. I also quit counting at 5 layers of paint. Much of it wasn't today's latex which removes quite easily. It was given to me by my deceased father so every minute I spent on it was sure worth it.

I have one more similar to it that I plan on refinishing in the near future. I am also on the hunt for an antique factory cart.