Back when air travel was less common, suitcases and trunks were built to last. In the steamer days, it was not on common for them to slosh around the hull in water.
Because of the pride and quality in construction many of these old suitcases still exist. With minimal work, you can easily turn one of these into a vintage coffee table that will last for years to come.
Find the Perfect Suitcase
Start by hunting your local antique stores, flea markets, and yard sales for old suitcases and trunks. Make sure it has solid construction and is well built even if the locks or latches don’t work.
Source the Legs
Source legs for your coffee table. Many antique or upcycled items could work but in our case we found these new construction hair pin legs quite charming.
Measure and Cut
Next, measure the inside dimensions of the bottom half of the suitcase. Using a table saw cut a 3/4” piece of plywood 1/8” undersized.
Pick the Saw
Depending on the suitcase size, you may need to use a circular saw to make one or both cuts if it won’t fit through the table saw.
Test fit the plywood into the base and make sure it sits flat against the bottom panel.
If necessary, remove any interior hardware that might be in the way. Many old suitcases provisions to hold hangers.
Attach the Legs
the bottom corners using 3/4” coarse thread screws. Since hair pin legs angle out, I set these back in from the perimeter slightly.
Not only does this upcycled coffee table have a vintage flair that will stand the test of time but it also provides functional storage inside.