Using 1/2" screws, attach the plywood to the bottom of the wooden boxes. They may poke out a little inside the boxes, but you can cover them up later. Do not screw in the corners where the legs and skirt will sit.
Cut the 2x2s to the desired height for the legs. Hold them in place at the corners of the plywood to measure the length of the skirt (which goes in between the legs). Cut the skirt pieces (2x4s) to size. Sand, prime and paint all the pieces.
Clamp the legs to the skirt, with the legs protruding a 1/4" to 1/2" from the skirt pieces (Image 1). Pre-drill holes at an angle from the skirt into the leg from both the top and bottom of the skirt (Image 2). Make two holes on the bottom and one hole on the top, slightly offset so the screws don't interfere with one another (Image 3). Then glue and screw the pieces together.
Fill the nail holes with wood filler, then sand smooth and touch the paint if necessary.
Place wooden boxes onto the table frame and screw down from inside the wooden boxes into the skirts. Add your memorabilia in boxes and cover with tempered glass top.
Joanne Palmisano is the author of Salvage Secrets (W.W. Norton, September 2011). Visit her blog, also called Salvage Secrets.