The Quest For the Perfect Storage Box!

The Quest For the Perfect Storage Box!

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Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, well. . . actually, right on our very doorstep. . . there lived two women on a quest for the perfect storage box! This box had to be at a minimum, 20″ x 20″ x 31″, at it’s base. This was a very important detail to note, as plastic tubs and totes had changed and morphed through the years to where it was commonplace to have them nest inside each other as a space-saving feature. To sell these new-fangled tote designs to the common person, dimensions would be given around the upper lip or lid, and never at the storage vessel’s base. The base dimensions then, would be the final say for every tote or tub these women tried to measure.

Searches online kept coming up with similar dimensions at the top, or smaller, and if I insisted on trying to find those dimensions at the base of the tub, the results were massive! I decided that on our next run into town, we’d hit thrift stores first, before we tried to buy anything new.

Oh! Did I not say that those two women in the story were Ashley and I? How thoughtless of me. . . But where was I?! Ah yes, the order of stores we would visit in our quest to find the perfect storage box!

The first thrift store we stopped at didn’t have tubs big enough.

The second thrift store is geared toward residential construction with minor interor decorating/kitchenware/office/etc at one end. It would be at this store where we’d find not merely the perfect storage box, but THE ULTIMATE storage box!! Ok, ok, so maybe that’s a bit over the top, but seriously, THIS box would be the cat’s meow!

We found another travel trunk!!! As if the previous trunk wasn’t enough. I mean, it’s like owning pets, you can never have just one, or like eating snacks. . . who was it that said you could never eat just one?? I digress. . . This trunk would be newer than our apothecary trunk, but potentially dated to either the 1920’s or the 1930’s, so only newer by maybe 60 years or so.

A sticker says it was made by Union Trunk & Luggage Co. and the sticker says “made in Canada”. The lock only has a 4 digit number on it and that number apparently belongs to Long Mfg Co., and keys with the same number unlock the same lock. This trunk is larger than the risers, but that simply means being able to consolidate some of our table contents into it so that we pack fewer boxes with us to and from craft fairs. And THIS fact is what would make this trunk THE ULTIMATE storage box!

But there was a catch! There always is in these stories you know. What’s a quest without a challenge? Even better, what’s a quest without more than one challenge?! This trunk needed some restoration as well. There was rust in places, being metal-clad and all. That rust had to go! So out came the WD-40. A fellow woodworker noticed my efforts and handed me a more powerful paint/rust remover, and that made the task go much quicker, between that and the sand paper, steel wool, and steel toothbrush.

Once that was done and the various brass knobbies all cleaned up, it was time to tape up everything I didn’t want to paint! That task would take a day and a half to complete with each day seeing roughly 4 to 5 hours of effort. Several cans of rust-proof spray paint of the colour necessary for the trunk, were found on the shelves of the community paint room.  I tested a splotch on the cardboard-covered tabletop to be sure it was the colour I wanted.

Spray-painting went quickly and then off came the tape!

A clear top coat would be added.


When Ashley was available next, she took out her RV/ATV clear outdoor adhesive, and began gluing up all the seam edges, rivets, and stuffing it into every lifted bit of metal around the trunk. This box has to live outside, so it was important to us that it be water-tight, as much as possible.

Wheels were purchased for the trunk, and although the wheels themselves were the same size, their housings were different, requiring shims to be made. These would be made out of scrap fibre board all cleaned up and stained to look pretty, and protect it from the elements, including a coat of spar varnish.

Once the wooden slats under the trunk were given their second coat of spar varnish, the wheels went on!

While we waited for various coats of this and that to dry, we made a replacement tray to sit on the trunk’s brass tray tabs.

Many trunks of this design still have their trays, coated in the same wallpaper as the rest of the trunk interior. This trunk lost it’s tray, so we built another one.


We don’t have the same wallpaper, so it was given a couple coats of Danish Oil instead.

It fit very well inside the trunk, with the lid closing nicely around it.

Once the trunk was resting on it’s wheels, Ashley ran around the various metal edges again with the glue to make good and sure it was as water-tight as possible.

After that, we loaded the risers into it, gathered up our tools, and brought it all home.

Our quest for the perfect storage box is now complete, and we are ready for future craft shows and holistic fairs.

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