Thursday, January 19, 2012

The crate that became a coffee table, Part 1

Pancakes and French Fries

Today I'm linking up with Jules' William Morris project. I didn't choose this item on my list because it's the only one that fits in with the "have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" theme, but because I couldn't stand to stare at it for one more day without taking some action. Believe me, I have plenty of overstuffed drawers, cluttered closets and dirty cabinet doors clamoring for my attention. It's just that sometimes, my personality type needs a fun project to be motivated to do a hard project. And this crate was just what I needed. I'm planning on using it as a coffee table/blanket storage chest for all those nights the kids make pallets in the living room and I end up with a huge pile of bedding the next morning that I have to deal with. This chest is going to solve that problem.

This is the crate that my husband got from the locker room of the junior high in our town. Our church bought the building and when they cleaned it out, my husband called dibs on it.

It appears to be some sort of military crate that was used for shipping supplies. The date on the label says 12/69. We've had it sitting on our porch for about a year. I knew when I first saw it, I wanted to transform it into a coffee table, but Mr. Park wasn't too sure. He kind of ignored my dreaming out loud and promptly started storing stuff in it. Fast forward to last weekend, when I forced the issue. I told him I wanted to start working on it and he told me he didn't think it was a good idea. We debated the issue until my husband confessed that he thought it was too flimsy and wouldn't hold up to a life in our living room, which we both knew would include being a stage for spontaneous performances. I released him to shore it up however he saw fit and he was instantly on board.

Unfortunately, for him, that was going to require a lot of tedious work. Fortunately for me, he can do pretty much anything he sets his mind to. I kind of felt bad for him, working all day last Saturday cutting and hammering and running back and forth to Lowe's for more supplies, but he was right, it needed it. Besides, I was the one who ran to Lowe's. ;)

The first thing Mr. Park decided this crate needed, in order to be the perfect coffee table, was to have  a little taken off the top. I wanted to put caster wheels on the bottom, so it made sense to make it shorter.

I have to agree, that's a lot better height for a coffee table. Especially since our couches sit kind of low to the ground.

The next thing it needed was inside reinforcement. Mr. Park cut plywood pieces to reinforce the inside walls and screwed them in place.

Even though this part of the project was mostly about what my husband wanted to do to make this thing structurally sound, I had some pretty firm ideas about how I wanted it to look. I knew I wanted caster wheels on the bottom, so those skids that were there had to go. The only problem was that they were holding the whole thing together and a few pieces of thin plywood inside weren't going to do the job that they were doing. So after a little consultation with his brother, Mr. Park decided to turn the box upside down, remove the large skids and replace them with smaller pieces that matched the braces on the sides.

Once he removed one of the skids, we saw that they had been attached with nails from the inside.


While I sawed the ends of the nails off with a Dremel, Mr. Park cut and attached the new braces in place.

As we lost the last bit of sunlight, the first part of this project was complete. Now all I have to do is settle on the wheel style I want, find hinges for the lid and stain the whole thing. Stay tuned next week for the completion of this project!

Linking up here...

Pancakes and French Fries


May said...

oooo....I can't wait to see it finished. And it looks like the resize probably left you with some awesome craggy boards. Any plans for those?

That's Ms. Amy to You... said...

So far, so good! Don't overthink it though.... I think it would look great with basic, industrial casters & no stain (maybe just a matte poly to seal it). Can't wait to see it in place.

Alice Almighty said...

I love it! I love salvaged things with a story and a use, and a coffee table with deep storage? Wonderful! Can't wait to see it finished!

pamelotta said...

@May - I hadn't thought about what I'll do with the extra just yet. I may end up taking a small piece to test the different stains I have. I'm stumped as to how rustic I want it to look.

@That's Ms. Amy to You - I hadn't even thought about a matte poly sealer. I knew I wanted it sealed, though. Thanks for the advice!

@Alice Almighty - Thanks, I'm really anxious to get it finished. My weekend is once again filling up! ;)

Rachel Angevine said...

I can't wait to see the finished project and how it looks in your room!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, exciting! It will be simply gorgeous once it's done.:) Great find.
By the by, what's this "linking up" business? Is it simply posting the link to the site that you are referring to? What is the purpose and do you need the blogger's permission?

Jules said...

WHAT? How cool is that? Our church doesn't buy buildings with military crates from the 60s. Jealous.

small + friendly said...

So cool! I can't wait to see it all finished and in the room!

pamelotta said...

@Rachel - Thanks for stopping by!

@Leilani - The blogger I mentioned at the top of the post, Jules, is hosting a linky party for people who want to participate in her William Morris project. I'll be linking up every Thursday with the project I worked on the previous week. You should join! You don't need anyone's permission, just a desire to show off what you're working on and see what others are doing to follow William Morris' quote, "have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." You're right in the middle of this with your house project!

pamelotta said...

@Jules - This is small town Texas. I forget how abnormal some of this stuff is! At one point, I was thinking of calling dibs on the soapstone counters in the abandoned science lab. Then I realized what was dissected on those counters and changed my mind!

@small+friendly - Thanks for stopping by!

Kelly said...

Wow, this is a really cool (and BIG) project! What an interesting process.

pamelotta said...

Thanks, Kelly. I've never just dove in and tackled a process this big so I'm hoping it opens a flood gate! Thanks for stopping by!

Monica said...

This may not have been a get rid of stuff/organize project, but the crate table will make a nice impact in your living room once completed. Great project and looking forward to the completion photos.

Liz said...

This is such an awesome project, and just my style. Love that reclaimed look! Can't wait to see the end product.

Sharon Hermens said...

Hi, Pam. you think E would help me with the old trunk I have in the storage shed. I'd like to make a coffee table/blanket chest (with wheels) for our cottage.

pamelotta said...

@Monica - Actually, you should see my front porch since I finally got that box full of junk off of it! ;) I did chicken out of doing a hard project, though. Guilty.

@Liz - Thanks! If this stupid ridiculous wind would let up around here, I'd get it finished today!

@Mom - Schedule permitting, Mr. Park is always for hire for the right price! ;)

Sharon Hermens said...

Good, but do I have to call him Mr. Park?