By Chris Wantuck
The wood materials available today are ideal for making your own accessory trunk and they are available in thicknesses of 1/4 to 3/4 inch. Cabinet grade plywood is available with up to nine layers of thickness using a number of South American hardwoods that remain stable long after being assembled. This grade of wood should not be confused or substituted with less capable versions available at home centers or general lumber supply stores. Three layer versions will likely bend and warp over time and will only yield disappointing results. Find and insist on purchasing the right material. Hardwood pieces that are 1/4-1/2 thick work well for adding strength and structure to important areas like hinge and overlapping joints. Professional grade material along with modern fastening techniques such as biscuit joints, dowels, small wood screws, and epoxies make assembling a trunk quite easy and durable.
The "box style" trunk shown in photo 18 (courtesy of another Lincoln collector) is an original trunk used by Lincoln on their model L series, spanning from around 1924 to the end of 1930. Using the photo and some known dimensions, the size and design was established at 34 inches wide, 19-1/2 inches deep and 21 inches high. Other design features included a hinged lid and front panel where the lid overlaps the front panel, two non-locking hasps one on each side and a pair of locking hasps in front. This led to the design shown at Photo 19 where two stainless steel piano hinges located on the front and the lid's rear. Each was drilled for 18 sets of mounting holes, just as the original. Other details of the design are the overlapping edges of the front lid, the tapered lower section of the front lid to help with water run-off, simple 1/4 inch rounded edges, and optional vent channels in the rear. The design uses custom dado cut hard woods in important locations such as where hinges get attached, illustrated in Photo 20.
Photo 18 — This original "boxy" looking trunk is on a Lincoln and is the basis for the design used in this article. The significant design aspects are the depth (19-1/2 inches), width (34 inches), and height (21 inches). We derived those dimensions from the photo using the rack's dimensions and the height was extrapolated using the other dimensions and relationship to the body's molding. The depth is unique to Lincoln which adds to the challenge of finding one at a flea market that fits properly. This is why a new fabrication was warranted. While the top flip-up lid feature is original, it doesn't offer much in terms of function and is susceptible to leaking, so we decided to eliminate it from our design.
Photo 19 — Concept drawing of our project trunk. The design includes the front panel folding down, the offset height to fold over the lip on the rack, and the lid is one piece with the piano hinge located in the rear.
Photo 20 — Cross section illustration of the front edge on the lid. Hardwood is specially cut to accept the cabinet grade plywood. Screws are countersunk, filled in, and sanded smooth.