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When I was casting around for furniture to take to college, I found a red Army footlocker I''s father, Richard Purnell, who had done a tour at Osan Air Base in Korea as an Army corporal in the early 1960s, after the signing of the armistice that unofficially ended the Korean War in 1953. Apart from an insignia he had misplaced somewhere, the footlocker was the only artifact from that time that hadn''d put it in storage. I felt a bit ashamed about that, so I started asking questions.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Every antique is a catalog of the past, and in that way refurbishing an old footlocker is much like doing construction in, say, Rome, where you must proceed carefully lest you encounter a subterranean landmark you don''d find under the trunk''d dried in globs. I didn''t want to accidentally grind the rivets flat with a power sander.
"" my grandpa said when I called to ask about the trunk''t remember what it was made of, but he did remember getting it on the sly from a friend who worked in the supply division when he came home in 1963.
"" he said. ""
He told me he was about to take a weeklong vacation to California with my grandma to visit my great-uncle''s surfaces but, not being MacGyver, couldn''d gotten through only two layers, and on only one panel. I could be sanding for weeks. It was time to employ paint stripper, which I''s nasty stuff that requires gloves, a respirator, and eye protection. I found something much more gentle called 3M Safest Stripper, which is as thick as Elmer''d added before taking the trunk to college in 2001; the red my stepdad added before taking it to camp in 1976; the yellow from the toy-box era; two layers of Army green that came off in a slime; and a dusty reddish primer.
The biggest clue as to the trunk''t been to war, the trunk probably had. It might have even belonged to someone who didn''d hauled more than a gallon of soggy paint out of the workshop. Most of the trunk was a patchy green-brown, but the hardware had gotten down to the primer. I found that brushing the metal with a steel-wire brush removed most of the red and imparted a dull, antiqued sheen. The flexible wet-or-dry sandpaper I''t come off. In places where the primer was thick, I used sandpaper with a rougher grit, though nothing lower than 100, to avoid scratching the metal.
The edge bandings, once fully exposed, had been crafted out of some sort of composite that was too soft and oddly colored to leave bare. It might have been a thick cardboard or plastic. Regardless, I''t look awful, but it would fit in at my Brooklyn apartment about as well as a tommy gun. Though I wanted to respect the trunk, I knew that if I left it a patchy Army green it would just end up back in a closet.
To make it work as a coffee table, I masked the metal hardware with ScotchBlue outdoor painter''s stickier than the indoor kind and won''s Clean Metal primer to protect the rivets and any other metal. I taped off the trim and painted two coats of white-eggshell finish on the body of the trunk with a four-inch paint roller. Then I taped off the for 1 last update 2020/05/31 body and painted two coats of black eggshell finish on the trim. Finally, I protected the painted parts and sprayed an acrylic over the metal hardware. The final product looked as neat as a bunk in an Army barracks. To make it work as a coffee table, I masked the metal hardware with ScotchBlue outdoor painter''s stickier than the indoor kind and won''s Clean Metal primer to protect the rivets and any other metal. I taped off the trim and painted two coats of white-eggshell finish on the body of the trunk with a four-inch paint roller. Then I taped off the body and painted two coats of black eggshell finish on the trim. Finally, I protected the painted parts and sprayed an acrylic over the metal hardware. The final product looked as neat as a bunk in an Army barracks.
One of the times I talked to my grandfather about the footlocker, he told me he had worked as an air-ground liaison in Korea, watching his friends fly out over the DMZ almost every day or going out himself. The DMZ wasn''s one of those hooded trucks you see in old war movies. The captain made it home, but not for another six months.
That made me think about how often luck determines who comes home from dangerous places and who doesn''s Build a Cornhole Game Set