This page continues the display of the range of options for restoring antique trunks, but on this page we focus on one trunk restoration project alone. This project was extensive, and expensive. Not a choice everyone will make but this shows the potential for what can be done if desired.
This is how the trunk came to us--as a box full of junk. Miscellaneous strips of wood, a couple other shallow boxes, strips of black painted but rusty metal, some yardage of cotton duck, a couple cans of some nicely re-plated old trunk hardware.
Make it look like it should have looked when it was new was our assignment.
That assignment took some imagination, some skill and some determination. It did turn out very well. We will show you the process but won't show you the end of the process till the end of the story. (Or you can scroll to the bottom now.)
We dealt with the rusty metal by first applying a rust eating and rust inhibiting solution, pictured to the left. When dry it leaves the metal a dusty looking bluish-black color.
Next we applied the satiny black finish to all the metal.
It was then set aside until the box was ready for it.
To the far right you see the box being readied. Old glue removed, voids filled.
Once the surface of the box was smooth and clean we were ready to apply the cloth. You can see us spreading the glue in the picture far left. When the glue was ready we spread the pre-cut fabric onto the surface by hand. Finally we tacked it in place with staples.
As the rest, the slats that reinforce the outside of the trunk came in a jumble. We had to figure out where they belonged on the trunk, mark them, repair them--as in the photo to the right, clean them, sand them and finish them.
After the slats were stained and coated, the corners needed to be mounted.
Nails were driven through, clipped (above), then cleated to the side (right).
Our photo documentarian missed a few steps but you can clearly see that the formerly white canvas has been painted a soft green, the blackened metal has been mounted as have been the slats.
If you didn't know better, you might mistakenly think the project is complete. Notice that there are no handles on the side, no locking or lifting hardware on the front, and there is exposed wood on the inside. Not so obvious, there is also no tray inside.
The remaining work on the outside is relatively minimal, the work on the inside is significant.
We are definitely making progress! The locking and lifting hardware has been attached to the front and the inside has been lined with a patterned fabric. The supports for the tray are also in place. Not much left to do.
Tray is in place with its lid closed.
Tray is in place with its lid opened.
Side leather handles are mounted.
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