Restoring a Leather Trunk?

I was wondering if anyone could tell me what kind of trunk this is? The whole outside is covered in dry leather. What is the best way to make it not so brittle?


By Ken from KY

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May 14, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

It is indeed a steamer trunk. Don't use soap or Armor-all on that trunk. You will ruin it. Go to a saddle shop or farm store and get some saddle soap and a soft cloth for applying the saddle soap. Apply all over, and wipe it off. Re-apply a second coat and wipe it clean again. Also, don't put any water on it at all.

As for the brass fittings, use a little toothpaste and wipe clean.

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July 22, 20180 found this helpful

This is not a steamer trunk, most people think every trunk made is called a steamer trunk, not so, steamer trunks were a specific size and shape, usually 30 to 40 inches long and usually no more than 14 inches high so they would slide under the bunks of steamer ship rooms as space was limited. This is a stagecoach trunk, from around 1860's to early 1870's, if the leather is stiff, brittle and cracked there's nothing you can do.

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May 12, 20090 found this helpful

It could be a steamer trunk, but I'd have to see the inside to tell. They usually stood on end, and one kept personal items in the drawers, and a hanging space for garments and shoes.

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May 13, 20090 found this helpful

To clean the leather take a damp cloth, wipe it across moisturizing soap, like Dove, and lather the leather. Don't rinse -- buff for a nice shine.


I tried this on my leather car seats and it worked great. My seats were clean and felt very soft. The interior of my car smelled great. I read that since leather is skin, it should be gently cleaned so it doesn't dry out.

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May 13, 20090 found this helpful

I'd use Armor-All or some other cleaner specifically designed for leather. Do not use any water at all or the dishsoap like someone else suggested. This will dry the leather out more. You just might have something with some value there and you don't want to ruin it by using the wrong cleaner.

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June 6, 20090 found this helpful

I would suggest using Murphy's Oil Soap on it to soften it up.

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