This article is not intended to teach you how to restore a collector's trunk , nor to make a replica of a Louis Vuitton, Goyard or Hermèstrunk which requires skills and know-how.
The goal is to support you in the manufacture of your tailor-made box according to your tastes, to make your dreams come true.
This trunk will have the advantage of being made with your own hands, it will be unique.
You will find 3 separate paragraphs that will help you build your trunk from A to Z:
In each of its paragraphs you will find the calculation method in order to buy the right quantities, professional tips, tips for smart shopping, decoration ideas ...
The manufacturing steps for this trunk were simplified so that even a beginner handyman could complete this project with a minimum of hand tools. All supplies are available in your DIY store, specific supplies are available on our online store >> .
And even if this tutorial is not for professionals, they will modestly introduce you to the know-how of the trunk maker thanks to our expert tips, you will surpass yourself and obtain an exceptional result. Your entourage will be bluffing!
This tutorial is completely Free.
In order to have a common language here is the vocabulary describing the elements of the trunk.
Any project begins with a sketch or diagram to determine the design you want. The design is related to the elements you are going to use. This sketch will give rise to a detailed plan.
Even if you are free to free yourself from the codes, if you want your trunk to be proportionate here are some basic rules:
Cover thickness : The cover thickness is small, it is a lost storage surface. The most common is between 75mm and 90mm (top to bottom of the waistband).
Belt width : the width of the belt is determined by the size of your lock, and your angle brackets.
Note : The wedge does not cover the square of the belt.
Clasps : The clasps are placed at the ends of the trunk. Usually the axis of the clasp is between 9 and 16 cm from the edge, depending on the length of the trunk. The most common being 10 cm. For a small trunk or suitcase it will be rather between 6 and 9 cm from the edge.
Front : Unlike the other faces, the positioning of the wooden slats on the face is fairly free, only the 1st slat is always under the lock (between 0.5 cm and 2 cm). The others are free, the spaces between these slats are rarely equal.
And the space between the floor and the 1st batten is often smaller than the other spaces.
Rear : The wooden slats are placed at the same heights as the front of the trunk
Top: space between each wooden slat:
( Trunk depth ) - (28 x Number of slats )
Number of slats
Nails : The space between each nails on the slats is 8 to 12 cm.
Border : their width depends on the choice of the corners of your trunk:
The tips are 5mm from the edge and spaced 10-20mm apart.
Favor spacing with a round number to facilitate marking.
Handle : the handle is placed in the center of the side at 1/3 of the height
We suggest different materials, which will guarantee you an optimal result. But of course you are free to choose others.
It's up to you to determine the exterior dimensions of your trunk:
In order to obtain the dimension of the barrel if this trunk must fit into a fixed space, remove 25 mm on the height, 35 mm on the width and 40 mm on the depth. These values correspond to the thickness of the elements placed outside (wooden slats, nails, etc.).
Height - 25 mm = (H)
Length - 35 mm = (L)
Depth - 40 mm = (P)
r wood, we recommend plywood 12 mm thick.
Observed price: 8 to 16 euros / m2
The plywood offers the advantage of being light and very resistant. Also, it is soft which allows riveting or stapling nails easily. (unlike the medium too hard, or the chipboard too fragile)
Note : 12 mm is a good thickness for stapling nails, also for embedding the lock, taking a thinner thickness will be problematic and too fragile. Taking a greater thickness will make the trunk heavier and cost more.
If you are not equipped with a circular saw, we recommend that you purchase the panels directly cut to the correct size. All large DIY stores offer this wood cutting service.
Height = H Width = L Depth = P Thickness = Thick
Speed wood panel trunk with belt
The axis of the hinge is therefore offset so that the cover can open, despite the presence of a square.
|Designation||Ref||Width (mm)||Length (mm)||Thickness (mm)|
|Dessus (top)||A||= P||= L||= Ep|
|Face couvercle||B||= 72 - Ep||= L||= Ep|
|Coté couvercle||C||= 72 - Ep||= P - ( 2 x Ep )||= Ep|
|Coté couvercle||D||= 72 - Ep||= P - ( 2 x Ep )||= Ep|
|= 84 - Ep||= L||= Ep|
|Face fût||F||= H - 72 - Ep||= L||= Ep|
|Coté (side) fût||G||= H - 72 - Ep||= P - ( 2 x Ep )||= Ep|
|Coté (side) fût||H||= H - 72 - Ep||= P - ( 2 x Ep )||= Ep|
|Arrière (back) fût||I||= H - 84 - Ep||= L||= Ep|
|Dessous (below)||J||= P||= L||= Ep|
Trunk variant without belt:
If you do not want to wear a belt, please use these calculations for the dimensions of panels E and I:
|= 72 - Ep||= L||= Ep|
|Arrière fût||I||= H - 72 - Ep||= L||= Ep|
Example : if your trunk is: height 0.5 m (= 500 mm) x Length 1 m (= 1000 mm) x Depth 0.30 m (= 300 mm) x Panel thickness (Ep) = 12 mm.
Tip : Wood is a natural material which "works", that is to say that it will not stay straight like a glass plate, it will make small curves invisible to the eye but if we check the flatness of the surfaces with a metal ruler you would see variations. Which can be accentuated in the case of the lid and the barrel that they must fit perfectly. The trick resides in the fact of making a first flow per face + a thickness of saw blade.
(B + F + saw blade) and (G + C + saw blade) and (H + D + saw blade) and (E + I + saw blades).
Then mark one face of each panel with chalk or felt-tip pen (for example a diagonal). This mark is used not to reverse the direction of each panel. After having marked them, it only remains to cut it at the opening joint of the trunk.
The wood will be covered on the outside, the possibilities are multiple:
If it is a patterned canvas, remember to calculate the surfaces taking into account the direction of installation, the fittings, see also to center the pattern on each side.
If it's leather you won't buy a perfect rectangle, there may be flaws right in the middle of the hide. So if the total surface to be covered is 1 m2, do not buy 1 m2 + 10% waste, it is not a liter of paint.
Leatherworker's tip : Make the cutting templates (patronage) in Craft paper or thin card (0.3 to 0.5 mm cardboard) in order to place them on your skin to optimize the cuts while avoiding defects, this is the layout plan, and thus buy the right quantity of leather.
If your trunk is large, you will need to use several skins.
We recommend the cow and the sheep which, unlike the goat, offer large surfaces.
We recommend chrome tanned leathers which offer a wide choice of color, resistance and flexibility. This noble material will offer a result superior to other materials without being so much more expensive.
In addition, it works quite easily, is more suitable for collages than cotton canvas or a synthetic coating and it will age better too.
Exterior coating thickness:
It will be necessary to wrap up inside the lid so make sure that the chosen coating will be flexible enough to fold over the thickness of the barrel (Thick), i.e. 12 mm + 20 mm rim.
In the lower part, the coating will be glued over 20 mm.
Note : the underside of the trunk can be treated with a material other than the visible sides, especially if you are using an expensive material.
Good plan: cover a trunk with leather, favor destockers and end of series.
|External fabric flow (mm)|
|Dessus||A||= P||= L|
|Face couvercle||B||= 72 + Ep + 20||= L|
|Coté couvercle||C||= 72 + Ep + 20||= P|
|Coté couvercle||D||= H - 72 + Ep + 20||= P|
E + I
|= H + 5 + 20||= L|
|Face fût||F||= H - 72 + Ep + 20 + 20||= L|
|Coté fût||G||= H - 72 + Ep + 20 + 20||= P - ( 2 x Ep )|
|Coté fût||H||= H - 72 + Ep + 20 + 20||= P - ( 2 x Ep )|
|Dessous||J||= P||= L|
Example : if your trunk is: Height 0.5 m (= 500 mm) x Length 1 m (= 1000 mm) x Depth 0.30 m (= 300 mm) and Thickness of the panels (Ep) = 12 mm.
The wooden slats make it possible to stiffen the support, but also to give character to the trunk.
For the reinforcement slats, use "2 rounded champlats" - 5 x 28 mm
The width of 28 is perfectly suited to our angel brackets 29 x 105 mm.
You will easily find it in your DIY store, the price observed:
The slat runs the entire length of your trunk = (L).
For the slats under the trunk, "sharp edges": 4 mm x 38 mm
You will easily find them in your DIY store, the price observed:
Unlike the wooden slats above, these champlats will be under the trunk. Their size therefore has no impact on the jewelry or on the manufacture of the rest of the trunk.
The lengths are = (L) and (P), quantity x2
All the woods can be left raw, but also be varnished, waxed, stained or painted according to your tastes and desires.
The angles protect the edges of the trunk, they are nailed with small spikes.
They can be of the same color, of the same nature as the coating or of another color to contrast, and even of another material, we recommend leather which offers a luxurious finish, an ease of implementation. But they can also be in brass or vegetable leather, chrome leather, skai, painted cardboard ...
Note : Lozine is not marketed, don't be fooled, we have seen several unscrupulous sellers offering flexoid at 470 euros / m2 as if it were lozine. Flexoid is a laminated cardboard that has no relation to lozine. Are true price is 9 euros / m2.
If your leather is too thick, you can have it split by a leather worker, if your leather, leatherette, wallpaper ... if they are not thick enough you can stick them on: split leather, cardboard or a other material of the same color so as not to have to process the finish of the edges.
Tip edge carton: If you used the painted cardboard, 2 layers are sufficient, no need to varnish it if you use a washable paint.
If the cardboard is tinted you can just varnish it to make it waterproof.
Idea : you can also print leather with your logo, several sites offer these services online.
Thanks to Jean-Marc for this very nice idea
To make your trunk, you will need:
|Angle / border flow (mm)|
|Couvercle (Lid)||= P||x 2|
|Couvercle||= L||x 2|
|Couvercle||= 72||x 2|
|Couvercle||= 84||x 2|
|= H - 82 + Ep||x 4|
Example : If your trunk is: Height 0.5 m (= 500 mm) x Length 1 m (= 1000 mm) x Depth 0.30 m (= 300 mm) and Thickness of the panels (Ep) = 12 mm.
Definition - brass-plated steel:
The steel part is covered with a thin layer of brass, the thickness is between 0.003 mm and 0.0003 mm.
The layer of brass will naturally oxidize, and the steel below will also. We quickly understand why these pieces cannot keep their beautiful golden appearance over time. Simply cleaning the brass will remove it permanently.
You will spend time making your trunk as well not to regret it by the choice of low-end materials such as brass-plated steel.
The brass massive meanwhile offers quality and a resistance to any test, even if you scratch. It may tarnish, but will not rust , so you will be able to regain the bright yellow color very easily throughout its life.
Finishing of your jewelry stores.
It is important that all of your jewelry is of the same nature. If your lock is gilded brass (i.e. gold plated), it is imperative that your nails are as well.
On the one hand because polished brass does not have the same color as golden brass, and above all they will not age in the same way, as you can see on this suitcase where part of the jewelry has been gilded while another was not.
If you want a golden, nickel-plated, red gold, palladium or other finish, it is important to have all of your parts treated by the same subcontractor, because each treatment bath has its own formula so if you take two parts treated by two different companies you will have two different colors. And once on the trunk the result will be unsightly and disappointing.
We recommend polished brass without any hesitation, because golden brass will not take on any patina, while polished brass offers exceptional reflections and color. Even today, it is no coincidence that the jewelry on Louis Vuitton trunks and suitcases are in polished brass.
You will have to choose:
The two most common types of installation for a lock or clasp are:
Trick of trunk maker: In order to put any clasp or lock in all situations, you just need to cut a leather shim of the missing thickness to position at the top or bottom depending on the configurations.
Note : Buy squares to fold in the factory, it is impossible to perfectly fold a square at home (the square, in the center, perpendicular ...), more after folding it will have to be machine polished because the deformation of the material makes microcrack.
We have a wide choice of trunk nails, unlike upholsterer nails, trunk nails are not only decorative, they are also structural.
You will need nails for:
To help you make your choice, here is the image of the different designs that can be obtained on the same corners 52 mm and 26 mm as well as the same brackets 36x105 , with different nails more or less domed with different head diameter .
How to use trunk nails?
Malletier is an ancestral craft that has existed since ancient times. The use of nails is just as old.
The interest of trunkers' nails and that the same nails can be used in 3 very different ways: Nailed - Stapled - Riveted
The nailed method is the simplest.
The nail allows at least two elements to be fixed together. In the case where the thickness of the wood is greater than the length of the rod, for example at the ends of the trunk.
This technique is used when the thickness of the wood is reduced, it is exactly the same system as a paper stapler.
This assembly is very resistant.
It is mainly recommended for assembly: brackets, corners, wooden stick...
Note : it is important that the rod is well nailed with the wood, a just twisted nail will not hold.
It will be two in most cases, on one side a person who holds the head of the other a person who holds the hammer.
Tip if you don't have a dowel:
To staple your nails without being in possession of a dowel used a "pile" in metal (For example a hammer head (in hardened steel)) and put a piece of leather, cardboard or thin wood between the metal and the nail head.
It is important that your nail head is not damaged.
Also there is no point in hitting like a brute, 10 small necks are better than 2 large ones. The nail should not go into the material, but in a moderate way.
This technique of permanent fixing is widely used in the 19th century allowing a very resistant assembly.
Thanks to a counter riveting (washer) the end of the nail is cut and then mated to create a rivet. This assembly technique is recommended for highly stressed parts, such as the lock, clasps, handles.
But it requires several years of experience for perfect mastery of the gesture, as well as specific equipment (Bouterolle, hammer rivoir ...).
For this reason, we will not discuss the implementation of this technique in this tutorial intended for a large audience.
These flat head nails will be used to make the barrel, as well as to nail the rods under the trunk.
Pro tip: the rule in carpentry is to tierce the assemblies, so you will need x 3 the thickness nailed to get the length of the suitable nail.
Our panel is 12 mm (Ep), so the length to choose is 35 mm.
We recommend 1.8 x 35 mm nails.
Trunker's tip : these nails can be stapled like brass domed head nails, use the steel pile to hold the flat head of the nail.
These nails will be used for:
the opening compass ensures the opening of the cover. There are a large number of opening compasses on the market:
More complex to install, but much more aesthetic, it is the one found on luxury trunks, it requires machining with a router before mounting the barrel.
It is also possible even if not very aesthetic to put 2 straps which maintain the opening of the cover, but these straps will often get caught between the cover and it was during the closing.
We recommend stainless steel models from Hettich: 30 x 80 mm
Available at Leroymerlin price: 2 to 3 euros / piece
You can put any other universal model whose dimensions are:
Maximum length: 100 mm (50 + 50) x Width = indifferent
The quantity depends on the length of the trunk (L):
They can be in steel, stainless steel or brass, they will be covered by the canvas. These hinges will be stapled with male head nails.
there are a number of commercially available brass handles below some examples you will find under the name:
Price: from 5 to 20 euros / unit
Now that you have chosen, purchased and cut your materials. It's time to go to the assembly:
This crate will be glued with white wood glue and nailed with 35 x 1.8 mm flat head nails.
Note : to avoid splitting the wood, nail at least 4 cm from the edge.
Pro tip: Tracing the thickness of your panel on the face where you nail will help you center the nail.
Warning : if you have chosen the opening calipers, you will have to cut the panels inside before assembly.
Carpentry tip: nail at an angle alternately, this assembly will be self-tightening like the dovetails.
Glue each side in the following order:
Pro tip: The edges of the trunk will be covered with the edges, only the thickness of the wood will be seen, we suggest miter cuts at 45 ° in the corners, as the sketch opposite.
Gainer's tip : Use a CB format plastic card (loyalty card, old blue card, telephone card ...) as a "smoother" to smooth the canvas into every corner and avoid creases.
Fix your hinge 70 mm from the edge, the knot on the outside.
Temporarily place 2 mm mounting shims between the barrel and the cover when positioning the hinges in order to ensure perfect operating clearance.
If you have chosen to return the borders to the thickness of the wood of the trunk without embedding it (see lozining tip), you will have to add the thickness of your border in addition to the thickness of the wedge.
The borders are nailed successively with brass points.
Leatherworker's tip : it's easy to point your borders
Use a dry-tipped compass and draw a line along the edge of your leather 5mm from the edge. Then using a ruler and a small nail point each point location. In order not to have to do any calculations, we recommend a spacing between each nail of 10 mm or 20 mm.
For nailing we recommend our L2.5 points with a length of 10 mm. They are suitable and will not pass through the wood.
Tip : In order to simplify the installation, you can use thin double-sided tape 4 or 6 mm in width to be placed 8 mm from the edge so that it does not interfere with the installation of the points. This tape is not intended to secure the element, only to hold the border while nailing.
Tip malletier : to nail spikes used a blunt hammer, which will not mark your area when nailing.
Finishing of the borders at the level of the cover.
1 - If your trunk does not have a belt, it is better to put a finishing square to stop your border.
2 - If your trunk has a belt, the trick is to cut the outer covering with a cutter in order to embed the border on the thickness of your trunk, so the border will not take on any additional thickness.
The peripheral belt giving character to the trunk can be painted, or dressed in leather or canvas.
It is made up of 3 elements: the reinforcement , the wedging , the covering.
Leatherworker's tip : For a decorative trunk, the reinforcement can be made of Texon or rigid cardboard 1 mm thick
The final width is 42 mm so deduct twice the coating thickness to obtain the dimension = 42 - (2 x coating thickness)
= Left side + front of the trunk + right side
The wedging is essential for your trunk to open and close, it is made of 1 mm cardboard
Dimension: Belt length x 26 mm x 1 mm
Dimensions: thickness 0.5mm and 0.8mm x Width 84mm x Belt length
Pro tip : check that the coating bends perfectly, reduce the thickness if necessary.
Bonding in 3 steps:
1 - Glue a card of 26 mm x 1 mm on the reinforcement
2 - Glue the covering on the reinforcement 16 mm from the edge
As the attached plan
3 - stick the back of the belt
Trunk maker tip : if your leather or canvas is smaller than the total length of the belt make the joint in the center (where the lock will be fixed)
If the reinforcement is made of metal, you can fold it in 2 angles. (thanks to a vice and 2 wooden calles so as not to damage the coating)
Drill the belt and the wood of the cover with a 2 mm drill, then drill only the metal belt with a drill 0.5 mm larger than the diameter of the rod of your nail.
If the reinforcement is made of cardboard, you can fold it easily by hand.
Method of laying trunk nails spaced about 4 cm apart, stapled laying. The nails are 15 mm from the top edge.
Before installing the wooden sticks, they must be machined, each end of the stick must be machined according to the attached plan.
You can make these cuts with a circular saw, or with a hand saw, a wood grater, a router, a router or a sander depending on your equipment.
The strip is fixed with trunk nails, stapled.
At each end a brass square 29 x 105 mm
The slats below are fixed with man head nails stapled to the bottom of the trunk.
Tip: In order to put any clasps or locks in all situations, you just need to cut a shim of the missing thickness to position at the top or bottom depending on the configurations.
The wedge can be leather, wood or even wood covered with leather. It will have the shape of the clasp or the lock or even be larger with another decorative shape.
Installing the lock
Concerning the lock there are 2 types of installation:
Measure the dimension of the safe and cut with a saw or a router or by drilling a multitude of holes the location of the safe leaving 3 mm of play.
Trick of the trunk : to place the corners it will be necessary to break the angle with a rasp
To make your trunk move easily, glue felt glides in the four corners. We strongly advise against casters that scratch the parquet, as well as any other metal part.
How to put a label holder on your trunk?
The label holder is made of leather, it can have a flexible plastic window to protect the paper label.
It is nailed with the same points as that of the border L.1.2
Trick of trunk maker: place the label holder 3 mm under the belt, so the label cannot be raised without the trunk being opened.
In order to further represent you, you can:
Your exterior is now perfectly finished, all you have left is the interior of your trunk to do.
For ease of implementation, we advise you to glue paper or fabric or suede onto cardboard supports, and to place these nailed panels inside the trunk.
You will find a large amount of tutorial on cardboard on the Internet.
Your trunk is now finished, before a well-deserved rest!
All that remains is to pamper everything, thanks to our brass maintenance product , you will give a homogeneous color to the brass and will remove the fingerprints made all throughout the manufacturing process of the trunk.
Thank you to JM, Fabiola, Deroy... for these superb photos, do not hesitate to send us your creations so that they complete this article: malle2Luxe@gmail.com
Comment fabriquer une malle décorative ? : French page