Log in Sign up

Society of Makers

Don't have an account? Sign up.

Society of Makers

Already have an account? Log in.

Select Guild Forgot Logo Society of Makers

How to restore an old trunk?

675 days ago • 2 likes • 1 comments • 0 votes • 1 follows
Asked by Jane Selby | Question date:  Aug 8, 2022 | Member since:  Aug 8, 2022

Question Asked:

Hello, I really like this old trunk and want to fully restore it back to something beautiful and use it to keep my bedding in etc. But I'm a little overwhelmed on how to start.

I'm going to remove all the old fabric from inside and then thoroughly clean the trunk, inside and out. But then I am not sure what to do next. I think this trunk has seen many adventures because the metal pieces on top are quite dinged up. I don't mind that look, I think it all adds to the character, but I would like the rest to be restored and painted. Hopefully to last another generation.

As the walls of the trunk are quite thin, I'm not sure if paint stripper or sanding is the best way to get it back to a good surface?

Also the top part of the trunk between the slats is not actually wood, but it looks like a very course canvas which was painted and now peeled off, so I can't sand that. But am reluctant to just paint over it. Any ideas. I can't really remove it because the slats go over the top of it. I'd have to dismantle the entire chest and I'm not really wanting that much of a restoration.

I think someone else along the way had a go at repairing or restoring it also. Because there are metal brackets over the metal corners on the side and some newer looking leather handles, which definitely look more modern than the trunk.

Would you sand it or use paint stripper, I guess is the first question? How do I deal with the painted canvas? After I paint it, is there anything I can put over the top to keep it protected for a long time?

Would you try and clean and polish the metal straps or just leave them with the patina? What color should I paint it?

Opinions always appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Restoration trunk restoration painting
How to restore an old trunk? image one
How to restore an old trunk? image two
How to restore an old trunk? image three
Asked by Jane Selby
Question date:  Aug 8, 2022
Member since:  Aug 8, 2022
Larry Lewis(675 days ago)
If you do use paint stripper on the canvas, then test a small area first, don't just go for it. One problem is that the canvas is probably stuck to the wood of the trunk lid and paint stripper might unglue the fabric totally. Tricky, probably will need a more delicate approach.