Repurposing wooden items that were originally made for industrial or military use has become very popular in recent years. Heavy, roughly cut items become interesting and useful conversation pieces after a little alteration, paint and TLC.

1ammobox_beforeI have several Vietnam-era boxes that the U.S. Army used to tote 105mm artillery shells. Each is clearly labeled “Loaded 9-74” and was made to carry two shells weighing over 50 pounds apiece.

With this kind of strength, I thought that a man cave coffee table would be the perfect project. What guy can break an artillery box?

My first challenge was to design legs that would hold the weight of the box. Although the plan was to design and build a coffee table, I know from habit that I use coffee tables for other things—footrests and benches come to mind.

I decided to use four 4×4 inch post sections for the legs and proceeded to trace and cut square holes in the box for each leg. I attached the legs to the box with long drywall screws. To prevent scratching on hardwood floors, I then attached cork pads to the bottom of each leg.


3ammobox_holes for legs

4ammobox_attaching legs

I wanted to retain as much of the original stenciling on the box as possible and bring out the wood shade so I used a color wash technique to apply three shades of gray paint.These variations of gray gave the box a nice metal effect.

Now this baby is ready for the Super Bowl!


I have several of these vintage artillery boxes. I really enjoy making coffee tables and storage benches out of them. They don’t have to go in the Man Cave! Here are a few of my recent projects using different paint techniques for different looks.


artillery-box-storage-bench_unicorn-spit_all-things-new-again_leesburg-va~ Dave

4 thoughts on “Man Cave Coffee Table

  1. I love what you’ve done with the ammo box! It’s a great design and color choices are perfect!

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