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Restoring an Old Trunk

How do I repair an old trunk? I want to try to save the canvas in between the slots.

By Stew from NY

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March 30, 20110 found this helpful

Restoring an Old Trunk

I bought an old chest, but don't know anything about it. I would like to restore it. It's quite damaged. Does anybody know what kind of chest it is, or where I should start?

By jane1971 from England Yorkshire


Restoring an Old Trunk

To retain the value of old trunks, it is probably best not to do anything to it except dust it. But if you want to restore it yourself, here are some tips on restoring trunks from a trunk restorer. (05/18/2009)

By Anonymous

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

May 12, 20090 found this helpful

Restoring an Old Trunk
I have an old trunk that was used by my grandparents when they came to the States from Newfoundland. The dimensions are approx. 32 in. wide x 20 in. deep x 22 in. high. All of the edges are metal, and there are metal straps and leather handles. It is covered in a material that is torn in places.

How can I tell if it is leather or canvas? Should the fabric be removed to expose the wood beneath it? I saw a similar trunk today that had been decoupaged with labels and sealed with polyurethane. What should I do?

Josie from Fairfax, VA


Restoring An Old Trunk

I would leave the trunk as is! So often, people will "restore" an object, and it makes the object look almost new or makes it look like a reproduction piece. Often times, restoration takes away the character of the piece. Clean the trunk, by gently wiping over it. I would glue whatever is loose back on, and proudly display the trunk. Be sure to write the history of the trunk on a piece of paper and put the history in the trunk. (05/03/2008)

By Sharon

Restoring An Old Trunk

Josie, I just saw this piece you wrote. I hope you haven't done anything yet. I just asked my friend the other night about my mom's trunk, if I should refinish it. Her reply stopped me dead in my tracks. She said she wouldn't think of re-doing any family treasure simply for the fact their hand prints are all over it. Made me re-think all my treasures. Just a different view point. (05/03/2008)

By keeper60

Restoring An Old Trunk

I bought a George Burroughs and sons Milwaukee trunk for $5. I know that the founder died of heart problems in 1910 or so, and that he started in 1875. I want to find out how to clean it, I am pretty sure it is made of textured wood, and how to repair the rusted metal. The handles are leather and I am positive that one was replaced. So, how do I tell how old it is and how to restore it so I can keep it in my room and use it? (05/30/2008)


By M&M

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

April 29, 20080 found this helpful

I am looking for tips/ideas on restoring the interior of a 100+ year old trunk that I got from my grandmother. It is the kind that ladies used to use to travel with, and my great-grandmother's sister used it to go to college.

The original paper on the inside was at some time covered very poorly with wallpaper (glued on). What would be the best way to remove this wallpaper without ripping off much more of the original interior?

Also, any ideas on removing the musty smell?



Restore Old Trunk

If you haven't given up yet or haven't already finished your trunk, following are some links which might help.

Tips & Tricks from The Trunk Shop


Perhaps you could get a copy of Antique Trunks, Refinish, Repair, Restore By Paul Pat Morse and Linda Edelstein from your library. Antique Trunks, Refinish, Repair, Restore is the definitive how-to book on refinishing any type of antique trunk. It includes over 140 well illustrated pages of tips and techniques put together by the master craftsmen of The Trunk Shop, based in New Hampshire. It includes sections on removing exterior and interior linings, wood and metal repair, safety, finishing, and painting.

And, if you need any parts for restoring your trunk, you might want to check out Van Dyke's Restorers. Van Dyke's Restorers

Have fun restoring your treasure,
Kathy (10/26/2004)

By FlaKathy

Restoring An Old Trunk

It's easy! You need two things to remove paper from your trunk, you can use a paint scraper or a putty knife and a spray bottle with water. First spray the inside and let the water dampen paper for a few minutes (3 min) or so, I like to start from the bottom and work my way up. Then you scrap the paper off ,it should come off easily, the only thing that you are going to see after you remove the paper is glue, you have to also spray a little more on the glue a again scrap off.

Try not to let the trunk stay wet for too long after you remove paper, because if you let the water dry in the trunk it could warp the wood. And it is difficult to straighten back. After you remove paper and glue,dry with a cloth the whole inside and try to vacuum with a wet and dry vacuum cleaner. Once the paper is off, the smell is also less. To remove mildew I use Murphy's oil. I get a coffee can and fill 1/8 of Murphy's oil in the can and then fill with water and then get a sponge and clean the inside. that gets rid off the smell and mildew. That's It (12/07/2005)


By Raul - Floral Park N.Y

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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