The Coca-Cola Hope Chest: Part 1

Okay, okay, so I’ve graduated from destroying milk crates to destroying wooden soda crates.  Let’s just get that out of the way now.

But for me, it’s not “destroying” these pieces.  It’s “upcycling” them, taking what was old and fashioning them into new, functional projects.

Case in point.

I recently acquired several soda bottle crates – these were used by carriers and shippers to transport bottles of soda, 24 bottles at a time.  They were made of wood and often had company branding painted or stamped on the side.

My plan is to take the crates apart – down to the planks – and re-craft them into storage cabinets and hope chests.

For a lark, I started with these three Coca-Cola carriers from the 1960’s.

Don’t these look swank?

Okay, yeah, you had to be there.

First thing I need to do is remove the side panels from each crate and extract those slats.

In order to do that, I removed the metal braces on each corner.  This was not easy.  Each metal brace is reinforced by nails.  I had to chisel up the metal, then pull the nails out.  There were also nails UNDER the braces, and those needed extraction as well.  This is a very long and laborious process.  Still, I got it done.

What’s that song … oh yeah, whistle while you work, whistle while you – damn it, the chisel slipped.  Grr…

A couple of hours, some barnyard expletives and a few splinters removed from my fingers later, here’s what’s left.

Parts all over the place.  Almost like opening up one of those IKEA projects and realizing that the directions for assembly are listed in Swedish.

Thankfully, Chuck was prepared for just such an occasion.

No, I never took Swedish as a second language.

I did, however, make a morning trip to Home Depot to purchase a cordless powerdrill.  That’s right, kids, Chuck now has power tools and is NOT AFRAID TO USE THEM!!

I applied Titebond wood glue to the corners of the wooden planks, and then screwed in each panel, one by one.

The trick in building one of these projects is that you want to cannibalize the best parts from every crate.  The panels that have quality “weathering” and age are for the front of the crate; the panels that are not as aesthetically pleasing will constitute the back of the finished project.

This is the “merry-go-round” theory.  If you’ve ever seen a merry-go-round or carousel, you’ll notice that the carousel horses have exquisite coloring and decorations on their right side – the “parade” side that are visible as you approach the carousel – but the horses’ left side barely has any adornment, as that side is not often viewed by anyone.

That’s right, folks, Chuck is using carnival theory to build this crate.

What I’m building right now is the crate lid.  The crate itself has dimensions of 18″ wide and 12″ deep.  The top of the crate lid has enough area for three wooden planks – or, as I’ve determined instead, three repurposed crate fronts.

Because here’s the crate lid for my future soda crate hope chest.

I alternated blue-on-white Coca-Cola panels with red-on-yellow Coca-Cola panels, and I figure three or four more Coca-Cola crates will take care of the rest of the hope chest.

And if you think the outside of this Coca-Cola hope chest is waycool…

Check out the inside of the crate lid.

At some point in time, I’ll have to add some polyurethane to the exterior and interior of this lid, just for preservation purposes.  Because this can be the lid for a functional hope chest – as well as an aesthetically pleasing work of art.

You know, something for Competition Season 2018 if I so choose.

Just something to do on a Sunday when you don’t feel like doing anything else in the day.

I have days like that.

At least when Sunday finishes up … I have the start of a new creative project in my sights. 😀

And i need to get my mitts on some more Coca-Cola soda crate carriers.