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Steamer Trunk Plan

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80% of 100

This plan shows you how to build your very own classic trunk. Steamer trunks make attractive storage chests when adorned with our locks, catches, corners and real leather handles. Today's Woodworker (issue 29) has the plans to build your own classic trunk. Trunk hardware blends function with beauty. Hardware kits available in brass or antique brass (#94441 and #74354, each sold separately).

(1) Steamer Trunk Plan
More Information
Brand Rockler
Weight 0.1000
Tech Spec
  • Finished Project Measures: 36" W x 17" H x 20" D
4.0 / 5.0
57 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
It's a good plan
March 13, 2020
4 months ago
Woodworking Experience:
GM project. Made It for my daughter-in-law. She lobes it.
July 12, 2019
over 3 years ago
Woodworking Experience:
complete plans
looks like a complete plan
June 13, 2019
1 year ago
Woodworking Experience:
Enjoyable build
Very easy to understand drawings. Lots of piddly joints but an enjoyable build. I used the lock miter bit for all the corners since I decided against the brass corner pieces.
User submitted image
User submitted image
April 28, 2019
over 3 years ago
Woodworking Experience:
Good project to start with.
My dad and I bought the plans. He's planning on building 6 of them for his granddaughters. I built one just as a project. The plans were well written and easy to follow. Some of the measurements didn't seem to work out for both of us but was pretty easy to adapt.
Walnut,  oak, and purple heart with brass hardware kit
Oak and walnut with antique brass hardware kit
February 23, 2019
Woodworking Experience:
Great project, plans, and finished trunks.
Great plans and instructions. Built 2 simultaneously for adult sons, in leu of grand inheritance.
March 29, 2018
over 5 years ago
Woodworking Experience:
Plans great starting point
Used the palns as a starting point for this project. Hardware kit was a perfect fit.
December 23, 2017
over 2 years ago
Woodworking Experience:
My Rockler Steamer trunk
My first project and it was great. The plans are easy for an intermediate builder but us rank amateurs had to scratch our heads a couple of times. I plan to build more and maybe use other wood, who knows.
My Rockler steamer trunk
My Rockler steamer trunk
June 20, 2017
over 3 years ago
Woodworking Experience:
Steamer Trunk Plans
A very good set of plans as well as the price.
January 17, 2017
over 3 years ago
Woodworking Experience:
great grandson
I was looking for something to make my great grandson.for his second birthday. that he would keep for a life time and may be pass down to his son.your plans made that dream come true thank you .
August 31, 2015
over 5 years ago
Woodworking Experience:
Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 12 questions Browse 12 questions and 71 answers
Why did you choose this?
Rockler Store
My granddaughter wanted one as a keepsake.
Gramps on Jul 4, 2020
For my granddaughter
Deborah J on Jun 17, 2020
My granddaughter wanted one as a keepsake.
Gramps on Jul 4, 2020
Good selling project
Joseph K on Jun 18, 2020
For my granddaughter
Deborah J on Jun 17, 2020
Going to build 5 of these for my kids.
Don B on Jun 10, 2020
I made this trunk a long time ago and it turned out beautiful, but I gave away the plans so I needed a new set.
John L on May 2, 2020
I want to build this trunk for my grandson.
Blair R on Apr 29, 2020
planning on making this
Ken Ewaskowitz E on Apr 25, 2020
Just looking for something to build for our Daughter in law...Hopefully up to the Rockler high standards?
Michael E on Apr 12, 2020
needed to know how to put it together
K L on Apr 1, 2020
looks like an interesting item for gift giving
Douglas K on Mar 21, 2020
Looks like something I want to do
Donnie W on Mar 6, 2020
will be a gift to my grandson for graduation
Alanson W on Mar 6, 2020
Need them
Donna P on Feb 27, 2020
I want to build for grandson for Christmas and it just what I want
Mary P on Feb 2, 2020
It was what I wanted.
Don B on Feb 1, 2020
Really liked how it looked, I think it will be fun to build, I’ll probably order hardware at a later time
Jerry C on Jan 28, 2020
Looks suitable to my abilities to build.
Richard P on Jan 6, 2020
Like the different look. Not boxxie
Thomas R on Dec 30, 2019
Build a gift for niece and nephew
Bill C on Dec 12, 2019
Plan on making for Granddaughter & Great Granddaughter, with cedar lining.
Doug v on Dec 6, 2019
Looks like a trunk that will last a lifetime and I like the ability to change the look by selecting different woods. I am making two for my grand children
THOMAS L on Nov 29, 2019
VIRGIL N on Oct 8, 2019
My old plans need replaced.
Mark D on Oct 6, 2019
Looks good
Jesse J on Oct 5, 2019
Wife is a quilter and she wants this for storage.
Pickles P on Aug 10, 2019
Have made cedar chests, like the look!
Thomas McKinnon C on Aug 7, 2019
I needed some ideas on the hidden corners. I wound up not using, but adapting it.
THOMAS C on Jul 28, 2019
My wife has always wanted a steamer trunk and I needed a project. Besides, I need to get back in the wood shop. Been out to long.
MSGT PETE on Jul 27, 2019
I liked the looks of this steamer chest
Jesse T on Jul 15, 2019
want to make for my grandson
DAVID B on Jun 25, 2019
I had made similar steamer trunks without the curve top and thought that a curve top would be a nice addition for a future project.
Louis P on Jun 20, 2019
great gift for the kids
Dion S on May 1, 2019
Gifts for my children, grand-daughter, and best friend.
Brenda B on Apr 4, 2019
It looks like a fun project but something at my skill and space level.
Babe with a badge on Mar 31, 2019
I like the way the Best looks I am planning on make two for my Daughter they are in their up 20s
Roy on Mar 24, 2019
Going to make this for a college graduation present.
Ray D on Mar 20, 2019
Looks like something my granddaughters would love and someone of my skill level can make.
Cary L on Mar 7, 2019
I like to make chest and have made 5 or 6 and this looks like it would be fun to make.
RON A on Feb 26, 2019
It looks like some of the older trunks I have refinished. I have some white oak and black walnut I will use. I might line it with red cedar. We shall see.
Bradley M on Feb 21, 2019
I am hoping to make it for a graduation gift for a niece.
donna w on Feb 21, 2019
plan on making for grandkids
Larry W on Feb 14, 2019
I hope to build a few for family
Robin T on Feb 9, 2019
want to make one for my granddaughters hope chest
L L on Feb 3, 2019
This trunk design is just what I have been looking for to pass along my treasures to my grandson some day. So many little things that have belonged to my great grandfather, grandfather, father and their families. <br />When I pass on they will all be in this trunk for him to keep as I have for future generations to enjoy.
John S on Jan 31, 2019
have 1 given half done and need to complete it
Clarence L on Jan 27, 2019
it looks good and plans were affordable
Daniel F on Jan 19, 2019
Looks like a great project
Ruben R on Jan 13, 2019
I have need of a project. This looked good. I will tackle this first before trying to repair antique that my wife inherited.
Dana F on Jan 7, 2019
Building for grand daughter
Dean R on Dec 31, 2018
to make a nice wedding gift for niece
John J on Nov 29, 2018
Good selling project
Joseph K on Jun 18, 2020
Going to build 5 of these for my kids.
Don B on Jun 10, 2020
38 deg does not work. suggestions?
Rich S on Sep 30, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I got the 38 degree cuts to work. They turned out rather nicely if I do say so myself
What are the required tools to build this?
JBurch on Dec 28, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I found this project to be challenging. I have an extensively outfitted shop and found I used almost every tool/machine I had to complete this project. I have been woodworking 10-12 years and found it to be quite a challenge. I was very pleased with the end result, but it is definitely not for a beginner or intermediate.
Approximately how much does it cost in wood to build this chest? (Mid grade wood)
Christopher R on Oct 11, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I used hickory wood and 1/4" hickory veneer with the walnut straps. It took about $125.00 for the wood allowing for some waste with the hickory as it is a hard wood to work with.
how do I use the copy paper?
Oscar R on Jan 13, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I take the pattern and place the carbon paper between it and either poster board of copy paper and trace the pattern. Then I cut out the traced pattern, refine it and then use that to trace onto the work piece.
How hard would it be to line with cedar closet liner wood?
Andy on Feb 1, 2020
BEST ANSWER: I lined it with aroma cedar panels obtained at Lowes. It was very easy, I used 1/2 brads and wood glue.
how much plywood of each dimentions is needed for the basis box. i have some cyprus that i wish to use.
how many board feet will be needed. and what about the walnut strapping? i need help please.
JOANN D on Feb 21, 2020

I purchased a half sheet of 1/4"red oak plywood (48"x48") from my local lumber supplier to make the panels in the trunk box. You need 37" plus kerf to make all the panels. According to my calculations the amount of material required is 8.58 feet. The requirement for the 1/2" red oak plywood I covered with some drops I had in the shop. As the width needed is 19" and length is 35" I would suggest another 1/2 sheet.

As far as the walnut strapping & lock shim I used some old pallet material and stained the wood with walnut stain. The amount of material required didn't seem to me worth purchasing actual walnut and the effect came out the same. I have a planer thus coming up with the two different thicknesses required was not a problem.

I hope the above helps you out. My steamer chest came out quite nice and is now the home for a lot of my wife's hand made quilts.

If you would like to share your thoughts on your build or ask me more questions please feel free to contact me.

Have a good day.


Steve Poole
I'd like to upgrade the trunk lid supports with a soft close one but all of the ones i've seen on Rockler attach to the top, not side. Any suggestions?
Calvin N on Jan 15, 2019
BEST ANSWER: The one I used fastened to the inside lip of the lid and the inside of the trunk
Soft Down Lid Supports
Soft Down Lid Supports
what are the finished dimensions of this trunk?
Timothy T on Dec 13, 2017
BEST ANSWER: sorry, I haven't built this.
Want to build a large (at least 3' long) water - proof trunk... same size as large old time trunks. Do you have plans for that?
Betty on Nov 25, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Beautiful trunk after build. Not easy , but worth it. I doubt if it would be waterproof, but it would she'd water
Anyone have rough quantity of the wood required?
Glen R on Jan 16, 2019
what is the difference with this one compared to Item #: 10101-WJ111?
JBurch on Jan 3, 2018
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