Ralph’s Suitcase End Table

Viewer Project - By Ralph Crowther from Mission Viejo, CA
Added on February 26, 2014

I like to make a unique piece of furniture to enter into the Orange County, CA fair each year. Last year my daughter, Kim showed me a picture of old stacked suitcases that were used by a designer as an end table. She suggested I make it out of wood. So with an idea in mind, I proceeded to sketch out a concept of stacking three suitcase on a small table.

Each suitcase is basically a box with a drawer. The top and bottoms are veneer over MDF substrates. They each have a groove to simulate where it would open as a suitcase; non-functioning latches in the front; hinges in the back; and handles that serve as the drawer pulls. The middle box has a strap all around made from two pieces of veneer steamed and bent to the shape of the box and a strap handle made from 6 layers of veneer that were pressed in a jig. All the latches and handles were cut, shaped, and carved to look like the real thing (down to the screw details). The dovetails in the drawers were all hand-cut (this was my first attempt at hand cutting half blind dovetails and I viewed several online videos including Marc’s to see how to do it). Since it’s a table I used a poly satin clear finish.

The suitcases are permanently doweled together and were placed on a small table with turned legs made from poplar. I painted the table and legs a flat black to make it disappear so the suitcases are showcased.